This from the great NYU Clinical Correlations website. Enjoy
Hello again Primecutters and welcome to another edition of your favorite weekly blog. Our fearless editor has allowed me a repeat performance of last week and I am honored to provide the followers of this column with another scintillating tale of the week’s medical knowledge.
Let the gushing begin. The new son-of-Plavix, Brilinta, beat Plavix in a randomized trial, published this week.
Plavix is a leading blood thinner given to patients after a heart attack or stent procedure. Only problem is that it's set to go off patent in 2011, leaving AstraZeneca needing to fill a $6 billion/year revenue hole.
Looks like Brilinta is all but inevitable. The incremental benefit is 1.9%, leaving insurance pharmacy benefit managers having to scratch their heads over whether a 1.9% benefit is worth billions of dollars in incremental drug spending.
A migraine is a common disabling primary headache disorder which afflicts an estimated 28 million Americans. The painful headache is accompanied by pulsing or throbbing in one area of the head. It comes with indications like nausea vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Chemotherapy is commonly used anti-cancer medication. It usually administered through injection into a vein though oral forms of chemotherapy are becoming more prevalent. There has been debate for more than a decade over whether vitamin C supplements are useful or harmful for cancer patients. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant some researchers are of the view that it helps cancer patients. Improvement in survival however has never been demonstrated in controlled studies. Medical oncologists are in general of the view that antioxidants decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
The 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando saw several studies presented relating to the efficacy and safety of using probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics were found both to alleviate symptoms and help normalize the frequency of bowel movements for patients suffering diarrhea or constipation relating to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Dr. Paul Moayyedi and colleagues of several universities undertook a meta-analysis which was then presented at the ACG Annual Scientific meeting in Orlando.
A study undertaken by Dr. Mark Heaney and colleagues at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York published findings yesterday claiming that Vitamin C supplements may reduce the efficacy of cancer drugs including Novartis' Gleevec. Vitamin C treated human cancer cells were tested with chemotherapy drugs in lab dishes. The drugs administered killed between thirty and seventy percent less tumour cells than if the human cancer cells had not been treated with Vitamin C. The results were published in the medical research journal Cancer Research.
Researchers at Emory Israel and New York have figured out part of how a magnolia derivative honokiol helps kill cancer cells. This is a victory for cancer patients since the group seems to have targeted a common early pathway in cancer development Ras pathway activation. Turning off Ras could be an important step to making cancer cells more treatable. Figuring out a mechanistic explanation for how this drug works is important to take it into the clinic. Keep at it guys!