HEALTH

Smoking cessation may improve mental health

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS — New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that people who struggle with mood problems or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the habit is associated with improved mental health, the university announced earlier this week. 

“Clinicians tend to treat the depression, alcohol dependence or drug problem first and allow patients to ‘self-medicate’ with cigarettes if necessary,” said lead investigator Patricia Cavazos-Rehg. “The assumption is that psychiatric problems are more challenging to treat and that quitting smoking may interfere with treatment.”

But in the study, Cavazos-Rehg, an assistant professor of psychiatry, found that quitting or significantly cutting back on cigarette smoking was linked to improved mental health outcomes. Quitting altogether or reducing by half the number of cigarettes smoked daily was associated with lower risk for mood disorders like depression, as well as a lower likelihood of alcohol and drug problems.

“We don’t know if their mental health improves first and then they are more motivated to quit smoking, or if quitting smoking leads to an improvement in mental health,” Cavazos-Rehg said. “But either way, our findings show a strong link between quitting and a better psychiatric outlook.”

In addition, she believes the serious health risks associated with smoking make it important for doctors to work with their patients to quit, regardless of other psychiatric problems.

“About half of all smokers die from emphysema, cancer or other problems related to smoking, so we need to remember that as complicated as it can be to treat mental health issues, smoking cigarettes also causes very serious illnesses that can lead to death,” she explained.

The study is published online in the journal Psychological Medicine.

Funding for this research comes from the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health. The study also was supported by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research and by the American Cancer Society.

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FDA advisory committees vote against changing naproxen label to highlight a lower CVD profile

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — After meeting for two days earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration’s Arthritis Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee voted 16-9 against changing the label of naproxen to highlight a lower cardiovascular risk profile as compared to other NSAIDs, according to published reports. 

Those advisory panels who voted against the change felt the data were insufficient to say naproxen was safer than other NSAIDs.

"While the Advisory Committee panel did not find the accumulated data supported a significant difference in cardiovascular risk for naproxen, as compared to other non-aspirin NSAIDs, Bayer HealthCare is pleased that a number of the Advisory Committee panelists agreed that the data are supportive of its low risk, and that there is a large body of evidence that consistently demonstrates that naproxen has a low CV thrombotic risk compared to other non-aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," Bayer stated following the vote. "Further, a number of the panelists recommended that treatment guidelines and other information for healthcare professionals and their patients should communicate the differential lower risk of naproxen to other non-aspirin NSAIDs, so that physicians can consider this information as they treat patients." 

The issue of heightened risk of cardivascular disease associated with NSAID use was raised nearly 10 years ago when Merck’s Vioxx was pulled from the market for that reason. The prescription NSAID Bextra also was withdrawn from the market while a black box warning was added to all remaining NSAIDs regarding the increased CVD risk profile. There currently is a study, titled "Precision," that is evaluating the relative safety of the prescription remedy Celebrex and OTC NSAIDs ibuprofen and naproxen. 

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association noted use of OTC NSAIDs to relieve short-term pain and reduce fever "have a long history of safety and efficacy when used as directed."

“It is important to distinguish the use and safety of OTC NSAIDs from that of long-term and/or high-dose prescription NSAID use," the association noted. "OTC NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, differ from prescription NSAIDs in indication, dose and duration of use. OTC NSAIDs have a wider margin of safety because they are for short-term use at lower doses for acute pain/fever conditions and are not intended to be used on a chronic basis unless directed by a physician."

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Study: 80% of dietary supplement consumers make purchase decision at shelf

BY Michael Johnsen

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Rainbow Light recently released the results of a study conducted by Wiest & Co. that demonstrates that product labels are more important in influencing vitamin and supplement consumer purchases than previously thought. 

According to the study, in the dietary supplement category, 80% of consumer purchase decisions are made at-shelf. As many as 77% of consumers cited product labels as most important when influencing their vitamin and supplement purchases, having more impact than the more traditional sources, such as doctors/medical practitioners (76%), friends and family, pharmacists, manufacturer/brand websites (64%), nutritionists/dieticians (62%) or medical/health related websites (53%). 

The study included primary vitamin and supplement purchasers ages 25 years to 55 years from five major metro areas in the United States.

 

 

 

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