pharmaceuticals

Birth control may boost risk of carrying staph bacteria

Birth control may boost risk of carrying staph bacteria

Fox News – Taking birth control pills may make women’s bodies more hospitable to staph bacteria, a new study from Germany suggests. In the study, women taking hormonal contraception were about twice as likely to persistently harbor staph bacteria in their nasal passages compared with women not taking hormonal contraception. Read article

Antidepressants, Sleeping Pills and Anxiety Drugs May Increase Driving Risk

ScienceDaily — Drugs prescribed to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia may increase patients’ risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents, according to a recent study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Based on the findings, the researchers suggested doctors should consider advising patients not to drive while taking these drugs. Psychotropic drugs affect the way the brain functions and can impair a driver’s ability to control their vehicle. Research on the links between psychotropic medication and driving accidents has focused on benzodiazepines, which have been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Perhaps the best known of these drugs is diazepam. Newer Z-drugs, used to treat insomnia, have received less attention, as have antidepressants and antipsychotics. Read article

Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects

NY Times – Antibiotics are important drugs, often restoring health and even saving lives. But like all drugs, they can have unwanted and serious side effects, some of which may not become apparent until many thousands of patients have been treated. Such is the case with an important class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. The best known are Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin) and Avelox (moxifloxacin). In 2010, Levaquin was the best-selling antibiotic in the United States. Read article

KU medical school faculty receive pay from drug companies

KCJB – Faculty members at the University of Kansas Medical Center received from $600 to $161,000 to speak at events sponsored by drug companies, The Lawrence Journal-World reports. Citing information in a ProPublica database, the Journal-World said that 18 KU Med faculty members received money for drug company events since 2009. A total of 26 faculty members have been paid for research, consulting or speaking by eight drug companies, according to the publication. Read article

GSK to develop traditional Chinese medicine

ChinaDaily – Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will open a new research unit in China to look at traditional Chinese medicine. According to the company, Innovative TCM will be one of GSK’s R&D programs in China, aiming to transform TCM from an experience-based practice to evidence-based medicines through innovation and differentiation. Read article

Fragments of foreign DNA and other substances from vaccinations found in sick, disabled and dying children

Blitz – This week an important paper by Leslie Carol Botha hit the Internet by storm. This revolutionary paper titled Unveiling the Culprit – Is Foreign DNA Contamination the Autistic Villain behind Biologic Vaccine Injuries, is one of the first papers to discuss various foreign DNA fragments being discovered in sick, disabled and dying children after they have received various childhood vaccinations. Over the past six years, Ms Botha has been heavily involved and dedicated to using her print and broadcast experience to share information with the public about the potential dangers of the HPV vaccines. Read article

Louisiana Court Upholds $257.7M Jury Verdict Against Pharmaceuticals

IJ – Louisiana’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a $257.7 million jury verdict in a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell against Janssen Pharmaceutical and Johnson & Johnson for defrauding the state’s Medicaid program, the attorney general’s office announced. Caldwell sued Johnson & Johnson for serious misrepresentations regarding the drug Risperdal’s link to diabetes in order to obtain funds from Louisiana’s Medicaid program. Read article

China probes ‘gutter oil in medicine’ claim

BBC – Chinese officials have told pharmaceutical firms to check their suppliers after claims that some have used “gutter oil” to make antibiotics, state-run media report. Officials are looking into firms that reportedly use the cheaper gutter oil rather than the more expensive soy bean oil in the production process. Gutter oil is reprocessed kitchen waste dredged from restaurant drains. Read article

Inhaling steroids stunts growth, but not much

Reuters – Adults who took inhaled steroids as children to control their asthma may be shorter than they otherwise would have been, but only by a little, U.S. researchers said on Monday. Results of a long-term asthma study found that children who used an inhaled steroid before they entered puberty were about a half-inch shorter as adults than those who did not take the drugs. Read article

Stuffing Sausage With Antibiotics Helps Harmful Bacteria Thrive: Study

IB Times – Antibiotics given to the animals that provide the key ingredient for certain kinds of pepperoni or salami may have an unforeseen consequence: weakening helpful bacteria and allowing dangerous ones to thrive. Fermented sausages are made by inoculating meat with bacteria that produce lactic acid, which kills pathogenic bacteria in the meat. But in a new study, scientists from the University of Copenhagen and University College Cork found that antibiotics commonly given to livestock inhibited the fermentation activity in five of six commercial starter cultures of the helpful bacteria used in sausage making. Read article

More Infants Born Addicted to Prescription Drugs

Live Science – Instead of the healthy cries of newborns, hospitals are now hearing an increase in shrieking just after birth — just one sign in a rising epidemic of infants born addicted to prescription drugs. Nationally, the rate of newborns suffering withdrawal, or “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” rose 330 percent from 2000 to 2009, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last spring. Read article

UK: One third of junior drugs are not tested on children sparking demand for probe

Daily Mail – Children are being prescribed unlicensed medicines that could be causing harm, a report has warned. The Government study is demanding an urgent investigation into the ‘unacceptable’ fact that almost a third of drugs given to sick children are officially approved for only adult use. Read article

Editorial Comment: A less misleading headline would be something like: One third of medicines given to children/minors are not licensed.

Big Pharma PR: British “Expert” calls for all over-50s to be given Statins irrespective of their medical circumstances

Daily Mail – Statins should be given to all over-50s, regardless of their health history, because they dramatically cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life, one of the UK’s leading experts has said. Currently statins are given only to high-risk patients, around eight million people, who have high cholesterol or have a risk of heart disease. But there is ‘clear evidence’ that healthy people can also benefit based on their age alone, says Professor Sir Rory Collins. Read Article

Thalidomide maker ‘not really sorry’

The Australian – A LAW firm acting for Australian thalidomide victims says the apology issued by the company that sold the drug is “pathetic”. “It is too little, too late and riddled with further deceit,” Melbourne law firm Slater and Gordon said in a statement on Saturday. Read article

Aspirin May Help Men With Prostate Cancer Live Longer, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily — Men who have been treated for prostate cancer, either with surgery or radiation, could benefit from taking aspirin regularly, says a new study that includes a researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Taking aspirin is associated with a lower risk of death from prostate cancer, especially in men with high risk disease, according to a multicenter study published in the August 28 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Kevin Choe, assistant professor of radiation oncology at UT Southwestern, is first author of the paper. Read article

FDA approves pill that has an RFID chip in it

Technology Guide – Early in August, the FDA gave its official stamp of approval for a “digital pill” that will help medical professionals track a patient’s health from inside the body. Sounding like something dreamed up in the mind of a Hollywood screenwriter – the 1966 classic Fantastic Voyage comes to mind – there’s actually a lot more science fact here than science fiction. Read Article

Roche drug helped breast cancer patients survive longer

Reuters – Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said its “armed antibody” T-DM1 drug significantly extended the lives of women with an aggressive type of breast cancer compared with those receiving the standard drug cocktail. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, with about 1.4 million new cases diagnosed each year and more than 450,000 women dying of the disease annually, according to the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Read article

Antibiotics for Baby May Make for Husky Tot

MedPage Today – Children given antibiotics in the first 6 months of life have increased body mass through toddlerhood, which may have implications for their later health, a large study suggested. After adjustment for multiple potential confounders including parental weight, breastfeeding, and childhood sedentary behavior, antibiotic use during the first 6 months of life was associated with a 22% increased likelihood that the child would be overweight at 38 months of age (OR 1.22, P=0.029), according to Leonardo Trasande, MD, and colleagues from New York University in New York City. Read Article

Could Drugs be Plumping up Kids?

The Scientist – Antibiotics aren’t only used by farms to prevent infection; they’re also used to plump up chickens, cows, pigs, and turkeys. Now, researchers suggest that antibiotics given to young children could have the same weight-gaining effect. However, leaders in the field are unconvinced by the data. Microbiologist David Relman, who investigates the microbiome at the Stanford University School of Medicine told ScienceNOW that the work is “provocative” but that some of the data are “a bit vague and unclear.” Read Article

Off-Label Drug Disclosure Inadequate

The Scientist – Directly promoting drugs for purposes outside those approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so-called “off-label” use, is illegal for drug companies. However, it is not illegal for physicians and scientists to discuss off-label use with colleagues, deliver lectures, and author peer-reviewed studies. Read Article

Court Rules Gene Patents Valid

The Scientist – The biotech industry won a partial victory yesterday, when a US federal appeals court ruled that Myriad Genetics’ patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes—mutations in which are associated with a higher risk of breast, ovarian, and other cancers—are valid. According to the court’s decision, Myriad’s patents on the BRCA genes should legally stand “because each of the claimed molecules represents a non-naturally occurring composition of matter,” meaning that they were based on isolated and amplified DNA sequences, and not on naturally occurring products of nature. Read Article

The Yaz Men: Members of FDA panel reviewing the risks of popular Bayer contraceptive had industry ties

Washington Monthly – Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a committee of medical experts to weigh new evidence concerning the potential dangers of drospirenone, a synthetic hormone contained in popular birth control pills including Bayer AG’s Yaz and Yasmin. In a decision that helped ensure the continued presence of these drugs on American pharmacy shelves, the committee concluded by a four-vote margin that the benefits of drugs with drospirenone outweigh the risks. Read Article

Pharma Whistleblower

The Scientist – A former Genentech senior clinical program manager filed a lawsuit against the company claiming she was unfairly dismissed after voicing her concerns that a clinical trial of a promising new drug violated safety regulations and jeopardized the health of its human participants. While she was at Genentech, Juliet Kniley was in charge of the Pi3 Kinase program, which was ushering the cancer drug into clinical trials. Read Article

UK Diabetes prescriptions up by 50% in six years

Guardian – Diabetes prescription numbers topped 40m for the first time last year, according to official figures. The number of diabetes prescriptions rose by nearly 50% in six years, from 27.1m in 2005-06 to 40.6m in 2011-12, data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows. Net cost of diabetes drugs also rose by just under 50% during the same period, according to the report. In 2005-06 diabetes drugs cost the NHS £514m. Last year they cost £760.3m. Read Article

FDA Warns of Deaths with Postop Codeine in Children

MedPage Today – The FDA issued a warning Wednesday of a potentially fatal risk associated with the use of codeine in children following tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Pediatric patients who have undergone either procedure should receive only the lowest effective dose of drugs that contain codeine, for the shortest time, and only on an as-needed basis, the agency said. The warning was issued after the FDA received reports of three deaths and one near-fatal case of respiratory depression in pediatric patients, ages 2 to 5, who had their tonsils and/or adenoids removed to treat sleep apnea syndrome. Read Article