HEALTH

Cardiovascular, diabetes risk associated with prostate cancer drug class

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. Patients taking a certain class of drugs mostly used for prostate cancer may be at higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, the Food and Drug Administration warned on Wednesday.

 

The FDA said it would require manufacturers to add new warnings to gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. GnRH agonists suppress the production of testosterone and are used in androgen-deprivation therapy in men with prostate cancer. Some of the drugs also are used to treat women with endometriosis and children with precocious puberty. GnRH agonists include Abbott’s Lupron (leuprolide acetate), Sanofi-Aventis’ Eligard (leuprolide acetate), Watson Pharmaceuticals’ Trelstar (triptorelin pamoate) and several other branded and generic drugs.

 

 

The agency said in May that analyses had found that patients taking GnRH agonists had a small increased risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke and sudden death.

 

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Surveys note disparity among consumers, pharmacists on how to treat common cold

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. A new national survey of U.S. adults has found the majority of Americans are misinformed about what causes the common cold, and how and when they should treat it. Nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) believed there is not much they can do about a cold except mask the symptoms and wait it out. In fact, one-third of cold sufferers admitted they wait until they feel miserable before taking medications that can help.

According to a second survey of U.S. pharmacists, this consumer belief is in direct contrast to what the majority of U.S. pharmacists believed — 93% of pharmacists reported that early treatment of a cold actually can prevent a trip to the doctor’s office, and 84% of pharmacists believed consumers often make poor choices about the best treatments for their colds.

“Consumer misperceptions about how they catch a cold — and how and when they should treat a cold — are the most prevalent barriers to optimal treatment,” stated Fred Eckel, professor of pharmacy practice and experiential education at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “As cold season approaches, it’s important for consumers to understand the benefits of early intervention against a cold, and to focus on effective ways to shorten its duration. The results of this survey mirror what pharmacists see every day: Our patients still believe many of the myths they grew up with, and they need better information on how to treat their colds.”

The surveys, commissioned by Matrixx Initiatives, also found that most consumers harbor myths about what causes a cold and what remedies are effective. While 86% of consumer survey respondents understood that colds are caused by viruses, 65% of consumer survey respondents also incorrectly believed that bacteria can cause a cold, and 53% of consumer survey respondents mistakenly believed a cold can be treated with antibiotics.

The top five myths about colds that pharmacists said are most difficult to debunk are:

  • Antibiotics can kill the germs that cause colds;
  • Changes in the weather can cause colds;
  • Getting wet and chilled can cause colds;
  • Sitting in a draft can cause colds; and
  • Avoiding changes in temperatures will help prevent colds.

“The surveys point to a clear need for pharmacists and doctors to educate consumers on early intervention, and help them identify the best remedies to treat the common cold early and help them get over it faster,” Eckel said.

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CRC risk may be highest among men with Type 2 diabetes, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK There may be a link between Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer among men, according to a new study published in Gastroenterology.

In a final study of 73,312 men and 81,663 women — which were participants selected from the prospective study "Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort" — 1,567 men (227 with Type 2 diabetes) and 1,242 women (108 with Type 2 diabetes) were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer by 2007. Among men, Type 2 diabetes was associated with increased risk of incident CRC compared with not having Type 2 diabetes. CRC risk was higher for those participants with Type 2 diabetes regardless of whether or not they used insulin.

 

Among women, Type 2 diabetes and insulin use were not associated with CRC risk, the authors said, which may support recent observations that the association may be more prominent in men than in women, and raise the possibility of a stronger association among individuals with a family history of CRC. The authors speculated that the lack of an association between Type 2 diabetes and CRC risk among women might relate to improved glucose control among women with Type 2 diabetes in recent years.

 

 

"While our study supports an association of Type 2 diabetes with colorectal cancer incidence among men, our results also suggested that insulin use is associated with a slight, but not a substantially increased, risk of colorectal cancer among men with Type 2 diabetes," said Peter Campbell of the American Cancer Society and lead author of this study. "Prevention strategies should emphasize adherence to guidelines intended for the general population, such as smoking cessation, weight management, exercise and regular early detection exams."

 

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