HEALTH

Ulcerative colitis treatment reduces need for surgery by almost half, study suggests

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A new study led by Mayo Clinic researchers found that ulcerative colitis patients had a 41% reduction in colectomy when treated with infliximab for one year, according to a study published in the October 2009 issue of Gastroenterology.

Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the colon, is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea. Like Crohn’s disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and often lead to colectomy, or surgical removal of the colon.

In the study, 728 patients received placebo or infliximab (5 or 10 mg/kg) for 46 weeks and were monitored for hospitalization or surgical outcomes. Eighty-seven percent had complete follow-up for the endpoint of whether or not they had colectomy, while the remaining 13% of patients had follow-up for less then a year, with a median follow-up of 6.2 months in these patients. The research showed that treatment with infliximab at zero, two, six and then every 8 weeks, reduced the incidence of colectomy through 54 weeks by 41% in outpatients with moderately-to-severe active ulcerative colitis.

Infliximab is an artificial antibody that works by blocking tumor necrosis factor alpha, a chemical messenger and a key part of the immune reaction. Infliximab blocks the action of TNF alpha by preventing it from binding to its receptor in the cell.

“Our purpose in this study was to see if the use of infliximab for ulcerative colitis would reduce the need for surgery,” said William Sandborn, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and lead author of the study. “We found that treatment with infliximab reduced the need for colectomy by 41% compared to patients treated with placebo.”

Previous research has shown that infliximab therapy induced clinical remission and bowel healing for colitis patients. This new research provides more information and options for patients struggling with this difficult disease, explained Sandborn.

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HDMA to work closely with officials in H1N1 response

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The Healthcare Distribution Management Association recently sent a letter detailing the critical role of primary healthcare distributor members in the response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic to more than 100 officials, including governors and state public health directors, the association announced Tuesday.

The association noted its distributor members’ commitment to working closely with the CDC, state and local public health officials, healthcare providers, pharmacists and manufacturers to ensure that millions of antivirals and medical products are delivered safely and efficiently to pharmacies, physicians’ offices and hospitals nationwide.

To facilitate the continuous flow of information between public health officials and HDMA distributor members, HDMA provided a list of state-specific distributor company contacts, informing state officials that HDMA members are prepared to answer questions related to emergency preparedness efforts.

“The H1N1 outbreak last spring underscored that communication is key to maximizing our country’s ability to respond to this public health emergency — across the entire healthcare supply chain, and especially with federal, state and local health officials,” stated John Gray, HDMA president and CEO. “HDMA members are working with all of these key players, to facilitate the safe and reliable delivery of needed vaccines, medicines and supplies to respond to the current influenza outbreak, as they have done for decades.”

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HealthShots boost energy, health and wellness

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS Innovative Beverage Products on Tuesday announced the launch of HealthShots — a line of “energy shots” fortified with functional ingredients based on health and wellness concerns.

“In our intensive shopper and market research, we’ve found consumers are concerned about personalized health platforms and seeking more convenient, easy-to-carry products,” stated Donna Hartsough, senior director of brand strategy at Innovative Beverage.

The new HealthShot beverages include Brain Refresh HealthShot, containing B vitamins and choline; Men’s Edge HealthShot, fortified with selenium, chromium and ellagic acid, an antioxidant from pomegranate extract; and Sustained Energy HealthShot, containing a cocktail of vitamins B and D.

Upcoming HealthShot additions will include targeted shots that focus on platforms such as immune health, joint health and relaxation.

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