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Breast cancer drug may increase diabetes risk among older women

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A popular breast cancer treatment may pose an increased risk of diabetes among older women, according to a new study.

The research, which was published in the latest issue of Cancer, found that among more than 14,000 breast cancer survivors, ages 65 years and up, 10% were diagnosed with diabetes over a 5-year period. However, the likelihood of developing diabetes was 25% more among those taking breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

Despite the increased risk, the researchers did note that additional factors (i.e., obesity and family history) could influence the increased risk and that the results do not prove that tamoxifen directly causes the development of diabetes. Further investigation is needed to explore the association, the study authors concluded.


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‘Good’ cholesterol levels could cut heart attack, stroke risk among diabetes patients

BY Allison Cerra

PORTLAND, Ore. — It seems that boosting high-density lipoproteins levels, also known as "good" cholesterol, can help diabetes patients reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study conducted by Kaiser Permanente published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Examining the records of 30,067 patients with diabetes that entered Kaiser Permanente diabetes registries across Oregon, Washington and Georgia between 2001 and 2006, researchers noted that the patients had at least two HDL cholesterol measurements between six to 24 months apart. Following up eight years later, they found that patients with increased HDL levels (22% had increased levels during their initial measurements) had 8% fewer heart attacks and strokes, compared with those whose HDL levels remained the same. Similarly, those patients with decreased HDL levels experienced 11% more heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers noted that while many patients in the study were on statins to reduce their low-density lipoproteins levels (LDL levels), or "bad" cholesterol, few were on medications to boost HDL.

"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that raising HDL levels may be an important strategy for reducing heart attack risk," said Gregory Nichols, lead study author and senior investigator with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.


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AstraZeneca settles with generic drug makers over Seroquel XR

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca has settled patent infringement lawsuits that it filed against two companies that had sought to market generic versions of one of its drugs.

The company settled with Handa Pharmaceuticals and also with Accord Healthcare and Intas Pharmaceuticals over two generic versions of the bipolar disorder and schizophrenia treatment Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets.

Under the settlements, Accord and Handa agreed not to dispute AstraZeneca’s patents covering Seroquel XR, and both companies will be able to launch generic versions of the drug in November 2016. The patents covering Seroquel XR are scheduled to expire between March 2012 and November 2017.


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