Medication Health News



Coffee may reduce the risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer

1301254661hw38MDIn a prospective US cohort study, researchers examined the association of caffeinated, decaffeinated coffee, and tea intake with fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer taking into account the effects of confounders. A total of 968,432 men and women were eligible for analysis including 868 oral/pharyngeal cancer deaths. At baseline, current daily intake, that is, cups/ glasses/ drinks per day, of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea was ascertained. Daily intake of these beverages was categorized as <1 cup/day, 1–2 cups/day, 3–4 cups/day, >4 cups/day. The study results found that 49% lower relative risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer death associated with >4 cups/day compared to those who reported not drinking coffee at all or only an occasional cup. What are your typical recommendations to your patients in terms of coffee/caffeine consumption?

For more information about the study, please find the abstract in American Journal of Epidemiology

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Iron supplements may reduce behavioral problems of low birth weight infants

asianbaby3A new study published inthe journal Pediatricsevaluated the effect of iron supplementation on the cognitive function and behavioral problems of low birth weight infants (LBW).Two hundred eighty five marginally LBW (2000–2500 g) infants received 0, 1, or 2 mg/kg/day of iron supplements from 6 weeks to 6 months of age. At 3.5 years of age, these children and 95 normal birth weight controls were assessed with a psychometric test. The studyfound that there were no significant differences inIntelligence questionnaire (IQ) between the LBW groupsand controls. However, infants that received iron had significantly fewerbehavioral problems than those that did not. What supplements do you find effective in your pediatric practice for the treatment of behavioral problems?

For more information about the study, please find the abstract in Pediatrics

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Low dose combination vitamin D and calcium supplements don’t protect older women from dementia.

1338285586YGtmu4A new study evaluated the efficacy of both vitamin D and calcium on cognitive outcomes in elderly women. About 4,143 women aged 65 and older without dementia at baseline were randomized to receive either 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate combined with 400 IU of vitamin D3 and 2,109 or placebo. The study’s results found that there were no significant differences in incident dementia or mild cognitive impairment  between groups. What non-pharmacologic approaches may be helpful for memory improvement?

For more information, please read the abstract in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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Decrease in breast cancer recurrence and death after 10 years of tamoxifen therapy

IMG_0220A new study published in the Lancet evaluated the effects of continued tamoxifen therapy on breast cancerrecurrence and survival. A total of 12,894 women with early breast cancer who had completed 5 years of treatment with tamoxifen were randomly allocated to continue tamoxifen to 10 years or stop at 5 years. The study found that women with ER-positive breast cancer who continued tamoxifen for 10 years had significant reductions in the risk of breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer mortality, and overall mortality especially after year 10.  How do you think this study will impact breast cancer treatment guidelines?

For more information about the study, pleasesee the abstract in the Lancet (scroll to the top of the page)

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Ondansetron (Zofran) 32 mg IV will no longer be available.

Infusion_bottle1The FDA has just announced that the 32mg single intravenous dose (IV) of the anti-emetic drug Zofran (ondansetron) will no longer be marketed. This decision came after the June 2012 safety update regarding QT interval prolongation with this dose.  The FDA continues to recommend the IV regimen of 0.15mg/kg for prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting however stresses that no single IV dose exceed 16mg.  What are some reasons why drugs are withdrawn from the market?

For more information, please read the announcement from the FDA

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Phase II/III clinical trial begins for first BACE Inhibitor for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

12844731615vRspvMerckhas begun Phase II/III clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MK-8931 inpatients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. MK-8931 isan oral β-amyloid precursor protein site-cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor, which may decrease the production of amyloid β peptide, thereby reducing plaque formation in the brain and progression of the disease. What other medications are currently under investigation for thetreatment of Alzheimer’s disease?

For more information, please read the article at MERCK.

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Metformin associated with improved survival in ovarian cancer patients

IMG_3936In a recent case-control study, 67% of women with ovarian cancer taking metformin had survived after five years compared to 47% of women who did not take metformin.  After adjusting for other confounders, the survival benefit still existed.  How often do you see drugs approved for one indication showing promise for treatment in another disease state?

For more information, please read the article at Cancer. “Image Courtesy of [Darren Robertson]/

Effects of bergamot essential oil on cardiovascular health

IMG_6402 A 100 healthy volunteers were involved in a study to evaluate theeffects associated with use of bergamot essential oil.The intent was to create conditions similar to those found in a spa setting. The volunteers’ heart rates and blood pressure readings were recorded for each 15 minutes while breathing the vaporized oil. Researchers found that heart rates and blood pressures dropped slightly for the first hour of the study. However, after 75 minutes, the trend reversed when heart rates and blood pressures began to climb.What are your favorite essential oils?  How often and for what conditions do you recommend them to your patients?

For more information, please read the article in WebMD

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Men with intra-abdominal fat are at a risk of osteoporosis

A new study evaluated35 young obese men with and a mean body mass indexof 36.5. Men were divided into two groups according to the location of fat in their bodies. Some of them have subcutaneous fat (fat spread out all over the body), while the other with visceral or intra-abdominal fat mainly. Researchers found thatthat the bones of the group with more visceral fat were nearly twice as weak as those with subcutaneous fat.How do you counsel your patients with increased intra-abdominal fat about increased risk of chronic diseases?

For more information, please read the article in Reuters

“Image Courtesy of [Michelle Meiklejohn]/

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