Those with Type 2 diabetes who are taking drugs to lower their blood sugar levels may soon be left with an even smaller array of medication options. First, Avandia (rosiglitazone) was all but taken off the market last September -- it's now available only to select patients -- after it was linked to an increase in heart attacks and heart disease deaths in those who were taking the drug. Now a similar drug, Actos (pioglitazone), is on the hot seat for a possible link to bladder cancer.
While the US Food and Drug Administration hasn't taken any action to restrict the use of Actos -- one of the most popular diabetes drugs -- both Germany and France suspended new prescriptions this week due to results from a new French study of 155,000 people taking Actos from 2006 to 2009. The study found about a 22 percent higher risk of bladder cancer in those taking Actos compared with diabetics taking other drugs.
Doctors said the finding that exemestane, a Pfizer drug, could prevent breast cancer will provide a new option for women who have mostly shied away from taking other drugs aimed at preventing breast cancer because of rare, but serious side effects. Today, only a tiny fraction of the women who could potentially benefit from such medications take advantage of them, and researchers said increased adoption of risk-reducing drugs could benefit millions of women.FULL ENTRY
In today's Globe, I wrote about the anger and disappointment that many chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers felt upon hearing the news that their condition probably wasn't caused by the virus XMRV. After interviewing patients about their symptoms, I realized that I really don't have a clue what it's like to experience such a devastating condition.
Sure, I'd read about best-selling author Laura Hillenbrand's battles with her illness -- how she's spent years housebound.FULL ENTRY
"Extra strength pain relief, twice as fast." That's the ad motto of the new aspirin product introduced by Bayer called Bayer Advanced. It's hitting stores this week.
The company tested the Advanced "regular strength" 325 milligrams and "extra strength" 500 mgs against the traditional Bayer aspirin tablets of the same dosage in two studies of several hundred patients experiencing dental pain and found that the Advanced versions worked twice as fast for the relief of dental pain. The Advanced pills of both dosages started working in 16 minutes and brought “meaningful pain relief’’ in 49 minutes, on average, compared with 100 minutes for the same dose of regular aspirin.
I guess I'm not perusing 7-Eleven and Walgreens offerings as carefully as others because I'd never heard of the increasingly popular brownies -- called Lazy Cakes and Kush Cakes -- until I read about them yesterday in a front page New York Times piece. These desserts have ignited controversy because they're laced with the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and they've somehow slipped under the radar of the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week Fall River Mayor William Flanagan called for a ban on these brownies in his jurisdiction. And the New Bedford City Council is also trying to get the brownies out of township stores, according to a May 13 article in the Standard-Times.FULL ENTRY
In the study, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Mass. General Hospital recruited 100 heart failure patients for a 12-week tai chi exercise program consisting of one hour classes twice a week. A control group received educational materials on managing heart failure.FULL ENTRY
Letters were issued to the manufacturers of Staphaseptic First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Gel; Safe4Hours Hand Sanitizing Lotion and Skin Protectant; Dr. Tichenor's Antiseptic Gel; CleanWell All-Natural hand sanitizer, wipes and foaming hand soap.FULL ENTRY
Diabetes patients at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester will now have an easier way to track and manage their symptoms thanks to an electronic scorecard.FULL ENTRY
Cancer patients treated at Boston Medical Center now have access to free massages thanks to an innovative program pairing Cortiva massage school students getting trained in oncology massage with patients undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments. "We've done over 400 free massages over the past two years," says Dr. Paula Gardiner, assistant director of integrative medicine at BU Medical Center. "Studies we're conducting indicate that cancer patients who have these massages experience less nausea and depression and can get by on less pain medication."
BMC patients -- two-thirds of whom live below the poverty line -- can get massages before, after, or even during their chemotherapy treatments. "Massage therapists get special training on how to work with port lines and IVs," says Gardiner, "and can teach family members to perform massages at home."FULL ENTRY
Have you noticed you're a little stuffier than usual today? The tree pollen counts for Boston are high for Tuesday, and that means more sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes.
"Windy, warm days where everything suddenly starts blooming brings the tree pollen counts up," explains Dr. Calman Prussin, a senior investigator in the National Institute of Allergic Disease. The rain that's heading our way, though, should wash away the pollen -- at least until the next sunny day.FULL ENTRY
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