Does Brand Name 17P Work Better Than Generic In Reducing Preterm Births?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew L. Beam, PhD Instructor in Biomedical Informatics Department of Biomedical Informatics Harvard Medical School

Dr. Beam

Andrew L. Beam, PhD
Instructor in Biomedical Informatics
Department of Biomedical Informatics
Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is one piece of a larger story regarding the use of 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) to treat recurrent preterm birth. This drug was originally only available in a compounded form, but since receiving an orphan drug designation in 2011, a branded and manufactured form was marketed under the name “Makena”. This branded form was then sold for a much higher price than the compounded version, but a study that provided concrete data on pricing and outcomes had not been done.
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ONCEMRK Study: Once Daily Raltegravir In Combination With Other Antivirals Effective For Some HIV Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Pedro Cahn Chief of the infectious disease unit at Juan A. Fernandez Hospital Buenos Aires, Argentina, and ONCEMRK lead study investigator

Dr. Pedro Cah

Dr. Pedro Cahn
Chief of the infectious disease unit at Juan A. Fernandez Hospital
Buenos Aires, Argentina, and
ONCEMRK lead study investigator

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

The ONCEMRK Phase 3 study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of once-daily ISENTRESS (raltegravir) HD 1200 mg (given as two 600 mg oral tablets) compared to twice daily raltegravir 400 mg, each in combination therapy with emtricitabine plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate in previously untreated adults with HIV-1 infection with levels of HIV-1 RNA ≥ 1,000 copies/mL.

  • Week 96 data showed:
    • 5 percent of the 531 patients taking once-daily raltegravir 1200 mg (2 x 600 mg) achieved viral suppression of less than 40 copies/mL of HIV-1 RNA, compared to 80.1 percent of the 266 patients taking twice-daily raltegravir 400 mg, both in combination therapy with emtricitabine plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, with a treatment difference of 1.4 percent.
    • Increases in CD4+T-cell counts from baseline were comparable for the two treatment regimens, with an average increase of 261.6 cells/mm3 for once-daily raltegravir (1200 mg) and 262.2 cells/mm3 for twice-daily raltegravir (400 mg).
    • Efficacy was consistent across a variety of patient populations, including those with high viral load at baseline (HIV-1 RNA >100,000 copies/mL).
    • Treatment-emergent viral mutations leading to any drug resistance were detected in less than 1 percent of patients in both treatment arms, with 4/531 (0.8 percent) in the once-daily raltegravir (1200 mg) treatment arm, and 2/266 (0.8 percent) in the twice-daily raltegravir (400 mg) treatment arm through 96 weeks.
    • The rate of discontinuation of therapy due to adverse events through 96 weeks was low (1.3 percent in patients receiving once-daily raltegravir (1200 mg) and 2.3 percent in patients receiving twice-daily raltegravir (400 mg).

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Restrictions on Pharmaceutical Detailing Linked To Increase in Generic Drug Prescription

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ian Larkin, PhD</strong> Assistant Professor of Strategy UCLA Anderson School of Management

Dr. Ian Larkin

Ian Larkin, PhD
Assistant Professor of Strategy
UCLA Anderson School of Management

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The study examined whether restrictions put in by medical centers on salesperson visits to physicians, known as “detailing,” affected subsequent physician prescribing behavior. Detailing represents the most prominent form of pharmaceutical marketing. Detailing visits allow the sharing of scientific information, but they also often involve small gifts for physicians and their staff, such as meals.

Pharmaceutical companies incur far greater expenditures on detailing visits than they do on direct-to-consumer marketing, or even on research and development of new drugs. Specifically, the study examined detailing restrictions put into place by 19 academic medical centers (AMCs) in five states in the U.S. It compared changes in prescribing by thousands of AMC physicians whose practices limited typical elements of detailing visits, such as provisions of meals and educational gifts, to a carefully matched control group of similar physicians practicing in the same geographic regions but not subject to such detailing restrictions.

The study, which included more than 25,000 physicians and all 262 drugs in eight major drug classes — from statins to sleep aids to antidepressants, representing more than $60 billion in aggregate sales in the United States — was, to date, by far the most comprehensive to examine the impact of detailing restrictions. The comprehensive and quasi-experimental methodology, which compared prescribing behavior before and after implementation of policies, and which included a large matched control group of physicians not subject to policy changes, was an important innovation relative to prior research. The study used prescription data from CVS Caremark, one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the United States.

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Guselkumab Potentially Increases Treatment Choices For Psoriasis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. med. Kristian Reich Dermatologie, Allergologie Psoriasis- und Neurodermitis-Trainer Hamburg

Prof.  Kristian Reich

Prof. Dr. med. Kristian Reich
Dermatologie, Allergologie
Psoriasis- und Neurodermitis-Trainer
Hamburg

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Ustekinumab is an antibody against the p40 molecule shared by IL-12 and IL-23. The antibody shows a favorable benfit-risk profile in the treatment of psoriasis. IL-23 is regarded a key driver in psoriasis pathology. It is speculated that antibodies against the IL-23-specific subunit p19 may produce even higher levels of clinical response than ustekinumab or the anti-TNF antagonist adalimumab. Guselkumab is the first IL-23p19 antibody to publish phase III data in psoriasis.   
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Antidepressants Have Variable Effects On Symptom Clusters

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adam Chekroud PhD Candidate Human Neuroscience Lab

Adam Chekroud

Adam Chekroud
PhD Candidate
Human Neuroscience Lab
Department of Psychology
Yale University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We know that depression includes a wide range of symptoms, from low mood and feeling worthless, to problems sleeping, slowed thinking, and suicidal ideation.

We wanted to know whether antidepressants work well in treating all of these symptoms, or whether they are primarily effective on certain kinds of symptoms.

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SWORD Study Demonstrates Two-Drug Control of HIV

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kati Vandermeulen Senior Director, Global Regulatory Leader and Compound Development Team Lead IDV Janssen

Kati Vandermeulen

Kati Vandermeulen
Senior Director, Global Regulatory Leader and Compound Development Team Lead
IDV Janssen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  SWORD is the first large trial program specifically conducted to look at the combination of dolutegravir and rilpivirine as a complete, two-drug antiretroviral regimen. Results of the two identical Phase III SWORD studies have been positive and demonstrate that the two-drug regimen of dolutegravir and rilpivirine is as effective, with comparable tolerability, to traditional three- or four-drug (integrase inhibitor-, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-, or boosted protease inhibitor-based) antiretroviral regimens for the maintenance treatment of HIV.
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Ketamine Before Stressful Event May Reduce Risk of PTSD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Columbia University Division of Integrative Neuroscience Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. New York, NY 10032-2695

Dr. Christine Ann Denny

Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Columbia University
Division of Integrative Neuroscience
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
New York, NY 10032-2695

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses, affecting about 8 million adult Americans, and an annual prevalence of about 3.5% worldwide. At-risk populations such as soldiers and veterans are at a higher risk to develop PTSD. Stress exposure is one of the major risk factors for PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD), a disorder which is often co-morbid with PTSD.

There are currently very limited treatments for PTSD and MDD. In addition, these disorders are treated in a symptom-suppression approach, which only mitigate symptoms and work in only a small fraction of patients. Prevention is rarely an approach considered except in the form of behavioral intervention. However, pharmacological approaches to preventing psychiatric diseases has not yet been developed.

Our laboratory has previously found that ketamine, a general anesthetic and rapid-acting antidepressant, administered sub-anesthetically prior to stress can prevent against stress-induced depressive-like behaviors. We decided to delve into the literature to determine whether ketamine has any effects on PTSD in the clinic. We found numerous reports linking ketamine to PTSD, but the results were varied. We realized that the main difference in all of these studies was the timing of administration. We decided to systematically test the efficacy of ketamine in mice at various time points relative to a stressor to determine when would be the most effective window to buffer against heightened fear expression.

We found that ketamine administered 1 week, but not 1 month or 1 day, prior to a stressor was the most effective time point to administer the drug to buffer fear. This is critical, as it suggests that a pharmacological approach to enhance resilience can be more effective at protecting against PTSD symptoms than attempting to mitigate symptoms after it has already affected an individual.

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Metformin Associated With Lower Mortality in CKD, CHF and Chronic Liver Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew J. Crowley, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Medicine Member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute Duke University Medical Center

Dr. Matthew Crowley

Matthew J. Crowley, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although metformin is widely considered to be the first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, concerns about lactic acidosis have traditionally limited its use in some populations. However, FDA now indicates that metformin may be used safely for patients with mild-moderate chronic kidney disease and other historical contraindications like congestive heart failure. With the lactic acidosis question addressed for these groups, this review asked “what do we know about how metformin affects mortality and other outcomes for patients with historical contraindications and precautions?”

The main take-home message is that metformin appears associated with lower mortality in patients with mild-moderate chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic liver disease.

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PCSK9 Inhibitor Praluent Substantially Reduced LDL-C Cholesterol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Eli M. Roth MD, FACC President, Medical Director Sterling Research Group Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Eli Roth

Dr. Eli M. Roth MD, FACC
President, Medical Director
Sterling Research Group
Cincinnati, OH

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: At this year’s AHA 2016, we presented a pharmacodynamics analysis of ODYSSEY CHOICE I, which evaluated the effects of Praluent 300 mg administered every four weeks (Q4W) for 24 weeks in hypercholesterolemia patients at moderate to very high cardiovascular risk who were on maximally tolerated statin or no statin and/or other lipid-lowering therapies.

The pharmacodynamic analysis of CHOICE I in patients on statins supports the use of Praluent 300 mg Q4W as an alternative starting dose for patients who prefer a Q4W dosing regimen and demonstrates the value of LDL-C based dosing interval adjustment. The findings from this analysis were consistent with prior ODYSSEY Phase 3 studies, showing that Praluent substantially reduced circulating free PCSK9 concentration, resulting in significant LDL-C reductions. Additionally, Praluent was generally well tolerated.

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New Ibuprofen Formulation May Avoid Cardiac Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Nicholas Kirkby BHF Intermediate Fellow | Vascular Biology National Heart & Lung Institute | Imperial College London London

Dr Nicholas Kirkby

Dr Nicholas Kirkby
BHF Intermediate Fellow | Vascular Biology
National Heart & Lung Institute | Imperial College London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know drugs like ibuprofen, called ‘non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’ cause an increase in the risk of heart attacks. These side effects cause very real concerns for the many millions of people who rely on them. They are also the reason why there are no new drugs in this class and why they have been withdrawn (2011) for use as a preventative treatment for colon cancer. Previous research from our group suggests that L-arginine supplements may prevent the cardiovascular side effects caused by these drugs. Our findings here suggest that a particular formulations of ibuprofen, called ibuprofen arginate, which is already available in many parts of the world, can act like an L-arginine supplement and that this could potentially protect the cardiovascular system.

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Autoimmune Specialty Drug Spending Doubles, Accounting for 10 Percent of Drug Expenses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kevin Bowen MD MBA Senior Health Outcomes Researcher Prime Therapeutics LLC 1305 Corporate Center Drive Eagan, MN 55121

Dr. Kevin Bowen

Kevin Bowen MD MBA
Senior Health Outcomes Researcher
Prime Therapeutics LLC
1305 Corporate Center Drive
Eagan, MN 55121

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

• Autoimmune specialty drugs now account for about one of every 10 dollars of combined drug expense through the medical and pharmacy benefits in a commercially insured population.
• The autoimmune drug class is one of the fastest growing, with this study finding a doubling in autoimmune drug expenditures and a 38 percent increase in utilization, in the most recent four years.
• Integrated analysis of medical and pharmacy claims is essential for this category of drugs because more than 25 percent of autoimmune specialty drug use is paid through the medical benefit and medical claims diagnosis coding provides a means of determining what conditions were treated with drugs covered by pharmacy claims.
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Long-Acting Beta-Agonists-Steroid Combination in Pediatric Asthma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David A Stempel, MD
Medical Affairs Lead
US Medical Affairs
GlaxoSmithKline

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) have been shown to increase the risk of asthma-related death among adults and the risk of asthma-related hospitalization among children.

It is unknown whether the concomitant use of inhaled glucocorticoids
with LABAs mitigates those risks. This trial prospectively evaluated the safety of the LABA salmeterol, added to fluticasone propionate, in a fixed-dose combination in children.

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Systematic Review Finds PCSK9 Inhibitors Reduce LDL-C and Are Well Tolerated

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. Ioana Gouni-Berthold MD

Dr. Gouni Gerthold

Prof. Dr. Ioana Gouni-Berthold MD
Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Preventive Medicine (ZEDP)
University of Cologne
Cologne, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In Europe, up to half of the population aged between 35 and 64 has hypercholesterolemia (high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C]), putting them at risk of heart disease. Despite increased treatment rates in recent years, many patients still do not receive adequate therapy, and heart disease remains the biggest cause of death in the USA and most European countries.

Two drugs, alirocumab and evolocumab, have recently been approved for lowering LDL-C in patients with hypercholesterolaemia as an ‘add-on’ therapy to other lipid-lowering medication, or for use alone in patients unable to tolerate statins. These drugs have a unique mode of action– they inhibit proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a protein that binds to LDL receptors and targets them for degradation. In the absence of PCSK9, the LDL receptor recycling is restored and the receptors are able to remove LDL from the blood.

Both alirocumab and evolocumab have been tested in numerous patient populations in phase 3 trials; albeit evolocumab has an additional indication of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. We therefore felt that there was a need to collate the available data to assess the efficacy and safety of each agent. We chose reduction in LDL-C as our outcome of interest, because this was the primary endpoint of the pivotal clinical trials.

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Study By Quest Diagnostics Finds Half of Americans Misuse Their Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

F. Leland McClure III, MSci, PhD, F-ABFT Medical science liaison director Quest Diagnostics

Dr. F. Leland McClure

F. Leland McClure III, MSci, PhD, F-ABFT
Medical science liaison director
Quest Diagnostics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many physicians associate Quest Diagnostics with their lab service needs because of our leadership in laboratory testing. But Quest is more than a lab, which is why we refer to ourselves as a diagnostic information services provider. This means that we help providers, health plans and even patients use the insights we derive from our lab testing data to deliver better care, quality and outcomes, both for the patient and the managed population.

Our 2016 Quest Diagnostics Health Trends(TM) Prescription Drug Monitoring Report is an example of how we provide important health insights from Quest’s laboratory data. Prescription drug misuse is a major epidemic in the United States. Laboratory testing can help identify if a patient is using or misusing prescribed medications. For instance, lab tests can show evidence of additional medications and other drugs in a patient’s urine specimen, suggesting potentially dangerous drug combinations. Earlier this year, the CDC issued guidelines that call for laboratory testing for patients prescribed certain medications, such as opioids, that carry a risk of abuse.

Quest’s prescription drug monitoring services help the physician identify if a patient is taking or not taking up to about four dozen drugs, such as oxycodone, Adderall XR® and Percocet®. For the Quest analysis, we analyzed more than 3 million de-identified lab test results.

In this report, we found that 54 percent of patients’ results tested in 2015 showed evidence of drug misuse, slightly above the 53 percent misuse rate in 2014. That is certainly unacceptably high, but it’s a significant decline from the high of 63 percent we observed in 2011.

We also found that an increasing proportion of patients who misuse medications combine their prescription medication with non-prescribed drugs. Among patients with inconsistent test results, forty-five percent of these patients showed evidence of one or more other drug(s) in addition to their prescribed drug regimen. That’s much higher than our findings of 35 percent in 2014 and 2013, 33 percent in 2012, and 32 percent in 2011.

Finally, we were alarmed by the data showing the connection between heroin and benzodiazepines misuse. Our data showed one in three heroin users combine their drug use with benzodiazepines, the vast majority of which were unprescribed. This is an extremely dangerous practice given that benzodiazepines can have strong respiratory depressant effects when combined with other substances. Drug combinations, but particularly of heroin with benzodiazepines, can be potentially very dangerous, leading to coma and even death in some cases.

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Outpatient Diuretic Protocol Can Keep Some Heart Failure Patients Out of Hospital

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Leo F. Buckley, PharmD Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia

Dr. Leo Buckley

Leo F. Buckley, PharmD
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: As the prevalence and costs of heart failure are expected to increase through the year 2030, significant efforts have been devoted towards devising alternatives to inpatient hospitalization for the management of heart failure decompensations. Since loop diuretics are the mainstay of treatment during the majority of hospitalizations, administration of high doses of loop diuretics in the outpatient setting has increased in popularity.

We intended to answer two questions with his study: first, can a patient-specific dosing protocol based on a patient’s usual diuretic dose achieve safe decongestion? and second, does this strategy alter the usual course of heart failure decompensation, which oftentimes culminates in inpatient hospitalization?

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Study of Topical Minocycline For Acne Demonstrates No Phototoxicity or Absorption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kin F. Chan, PhD

Executive Vice President of Research and Technology
BioPharmX Corporation

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There were two studies in this series.  The purpose is to get a better understanding of the blood plasma and skin levels of minocycline in a relevant animal model (minipig) for both the oral form of minocycline (Solodyn) and topical BPX-01, and to elucidate the same for oral minocycline only in a clinical study.

The results provided valuable guidance and assurance to our upcoming Clinical Phase 2b dose-ranging study design.

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Lymphoma Drug Shows Promising Results in Phase 3 Trial

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dirk Huebner, MD Senior Medical Director Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

Dr. Dirk Huebner

Dirk Huebner, MD
Senior Medical Director
Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cutaneous lymphomas are a category of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that primarily involve the skin. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, also known as CTCL, is the most common type of cutaneous lymphoma and typically presents with red, scaly patches or thickened plaques of skin that often mimic eczema or chronic dermatitis.

ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin) is an antibody-drug conjugate directed to CD30, which is expressed on skin lesions in approximately 50 percent of patients with CTCL. The Phase 3 ALCANZA trial compared the use of single-agent ADCETRIS to a control arm of investigator’s choice of standard therapies, methotrexate or bexarotene, in 131 patients with CD30-expressing CTCL who received prior systemic or radiation therapy.

The study met its primary endpoint, demonstrating a highly statistically significant improvement in the rate of objective response lasting at least four months (ORR4). The ORR4 was 56.3 percent in the ADCETRIS arm compared to 12.5 percent in the control arm.

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Concomitant Use of Clopidogrel and PPIs Still Prescribed Despite Safety Warnings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Willemien J. Kruik-Kollöffel, PharmD
Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede
Netherlands,

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Safety concerns of the concomitant use of clopidogrel and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were published in 2009 and 2010 by the medicines regulatory agencies, including a direct healthcare professional communication. Those publications caused a lot of turmoil. We examined the association between various safety statements and prescription behavior for gastroprotective drugs in naïve patients in the Netherlands during the years 2008–2011.

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ACEI and ARBs Had Similar Outcomes in Study of PD Dialysis Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jenny Shen, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles Biomedical Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Dr. Jenny Shen

Jenny Shen, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles Biomedical Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: With cardiovascular disease being the No. 1 cause of death in end-stage kidney disease patients on peritoneal dialysis, we examined two classes of medications commonly prescribed to prevent cardiovascular events in these patients and found no significant difference in outcomes.

The two classes of medications, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) and angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARB), have slightly different mechanisms and could theoretically have differing outcomes. Previous studies had suggested that ACEI may lead to a kinin-mediated increase in insulin sensitivity not seen with ARB. This could potentially lower the cardiovascular risk in patients on peritoneal dialysis because they are exposed to high glucose loads in their dialysate that may lead to insulin resistance and its associated cardiovascular risk.

Using a national database, the U.S. Renal Data System, we surveyed records for all patients enrolled in Medicare Part D who initiated maintenance peritoneal dialysis from 2007 to 2011. Of those, we found 1,892 patients using either drug class. Surveying their medical records, we found no difference in cardiovascular events or deaths between the users for each class of medication.

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New Anti-Diabetic Compound May Avoid Bone Loss Seen With Current Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patrick Griffin, PhD Professor Department of Molecular Therapeutics The Scripps Research Institute Florida Campus

Dr. Patrick Griffin

Patrick Griffin, PhD
Professor
Department of Molecular Therapeutics
The Scripps Research Institute Florida Campus

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the past decade, our laboratory and that of TSRI Associate Professor Theodore Kamenecka, have focused on molecules that increase sensitivity to insulin. Using newly discovered information, we have made significant advances in developing a family of drug candidates that target a receptor known as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors gamma (PPARγ), a key regulator of stem cells controlling bone formation and bone resorption and a master regulator of fat.

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What is Risk of Hypoglycemia When Adding Sulphonylurea to Metformin for Diabetes Control?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stig Ejdrup Andersen MD, PhD Clinical Pharmacology Unit Zealand University Hospital Roskilde Denmark

Dr. Andersen

Stig Ejdrup Andersen MD, PhD
Clinical Pharmacology Unit
Zealand University Hospital
Roskilde Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: For decades, we have used sulphonylurea derivates in the medical treatment of type 2 diabetes. Although several newer drugs have become available, adding an SU is still a recommended and acceptable strategy when metformin monotherapy fails. The SUs are among the cheapest glucose lowering drugs on the marked but the risk of hypoglycaemia make clinicians prefer a newer oral drug such as a DPP-IV inhibitor or a SGLT-2 inhibitor to ansulphonylurea because even mild hypoglycaemia may affect the patients’ quality of life negatively.

Several meta-analyses have examined the effectiveness and safety of noninsulin antidiabetic drug, all of which have considered the SUs a homogenous drug class. Pharmacologically, however, the SU agents are quite different. In 2004, a randomized controlled trial by Shernthaner et al. indicated that in comparison with glimepiride, gliclazide MR is equally effective and is associated with fewer hypoglycaemic episodes. Still, head-to-head comparisons of the SU-agents as add-on to metformin are few. In the absence of robust designed comparative trials, we decided to compare the relative risk of hypoglycaemia among the newer SU-agents in a network meta-analysis.

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Transport System Opens Door To More Drugs Given Orally with Better Brain Penetration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

M. N. V. Ravi Kumar PhD Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy

Dr. M. N. V. Ravi Kumar

M. N. V. Ravi Kumar PhD
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The use of ligands for receptor-mediated drug delivery offers potential for improving both the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals. Research to date, however, has yet to overcome some of the significant challenges of targeted drug delivery, one of which is competitive affinity with endogenous ligands. This competition for the receptor binding site can impair both natural cell processes and uptake of the drug complex across the cell wall.

This article presents a unique, non-competitive active transport strategy for crossing the intestinal barrier. Gambogic acid (GA), as a ligand, was coupled with a polymer called poly(lactic-co–glycolic acid) (PLGA) that in turn can encapsulate drugs forming nanosystems to bind to transferrin receptors within the intestinal wall, which facilitated active gut barrier crossing. The study results show peak plasma concentrations of Cyclosporine A (CsA) in orally dosed rodents at 6 hours with the GA-ladened nanosystems vs 24 hours without GA. Additionally, brain concentrations of CsA are twice as high dosing with PLGA-GA NS compared with PLGA-NS (without GA).

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At Lower Dose, Addiction Drug Naltrexone May Have Anti-Cancer Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Wai Liu Senior Research Fellow St George's University of London London

Dr. Wai Liu

Dr Wai Liu
Senior Research Fellow
St George’s University of London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Naltrexone is a drug commonly used to wean addicts off alcohol and heroin, but clinical evidence has shown that when the drug is used at lower doses, patients would exhibit alter immunity. The symptoms that patients with a number of autoimmune diseases and those associated with chronic pain would ease significantly. Additionally, a number of reports showed patients with some forms of cancer would experience therapeutic benefit. Interestingly, the doses of the drug was crucial, and the non-conventional effects of naltrexone was only achieved at doses that were lower that what was conventionally used. We set about to understand why a drug could have such different effects when used at differing doses. Our results show that the genetic profile of the drug is subtly different at the two different doses, which helped us identify novel ways in which the drug could be used to induce an anticancer effect.

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Soluble Aspirin May Be Able To Cross Blood-Brain Barrier To Attack Glioblastomas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Kieran Breen PhD Director of Research, Brain Tumour Research University of Portsmouth, UK

Dr. Kieran Breen

Dr Kieran Breen PhD
Director of Research, Brain Tumour Research
University of Portsmouth, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is evidence that aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) can be toxic to brain tumour cells. However, its existing preparations cannot readily enter the brain because the drug is a suspension rather than being completely soluble. Furthermore, there can be significant side effects associated with the existing form of the drug including gastric bleeding. The object of this research was to develop a new formulation of aspirin which is truly soluble. When combined with two other compounds, the drug enters the brain and can therefore target the tumour cells. This study also showed that aspirin can kill tumour cells without causing any damage to the normal nerve cells. Continue reading

Biosimilar Insulin Found Equivalent to Brand Lantus

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Philip Home D.M., D.Phil Professor of Diabetes Medicine Newcastle University

Prof. Philip Home

Professor Philip Home D.M., D.Phil
Professor of Diabetes Medicine
Newcastle University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Home: MK1293 is a biosimilar insulin designed with the same amino acid sequence, manufacturing process and formulation as originator insulin glargine (Lantus). This is the clinical proving study in type 1 diabetes, being a 24-week randomized study in 508 participants between MK1293 and Lantus. The primary efficacy endpoint of non-inferiority of HbA1c was met, as was a secondary of equivalence (difference in change from baseline 0.04 (95% CI -0.11, 0.19) %-units), with other measures including hypoglycaemia, insulin antibodies and adverse events also consistent with similarity.
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Using Tumor-homing Peptides To Target Drug Delivery to Placenta

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Lynda-Harris

Dr. Lynda Harris

Lynda Harris PhD
Lecturer in Pharmaceutics
University of Manchester
Manchester Pharmacy School
Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre
Manchester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Harris: Pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction remain a problem despite advances in antenatal care, and impact heavily on future health: small size at birth is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. Drugs to improve pregnancy outcome are severely lacking, as pregnant women are considered a high risk cohort by drug companies, who fear expensive lawsuits associated with side effects and teratogenicity. The majority of pregnancy complications are caused by a poorly growing or poorly functioning placenta. A number of potential drugs have been identified that enhance placental function in vitro, and improve fetal growth in animal models; however, there is currently no means of restricting their actions to the placenta, and systemic administration of these drugs to pregnant women is not feasible due to the risk of adverse effects in other tissues. To address this issue, we have identified a series of placental “homing peptides” which we have used to create nanocarriers for targeted delivery of drugs to the placenta.

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Informatics and Financial Incentives Can Lead To Safer Drug Prescribing

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Bruce Guthrie Primary Care Medicine and Honorary Consultant NHS Fife University of Dundee Dundee, Scotland

Prof. Bruce Guthrie

Prof. Bruce Guthrie
Primary Care Medicine and Honorary Consultant NHS Fife
University of Dundee
Dundee, Scotland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Guthrie: Most drug-related harm is caused by commonly prescribed drugs with moderate risk. This prescribing is not always inappropriate, because risk of harm may be outweighed by benefit in an individual, but we have previously shown that high-risk prescribing like this is common and highly variable between primary care practices, consistent with it being improvable. We therefore developed a complex intervention combining education, informatics to make it easy to identify and review patients, and a small financial incentive to review. We evaluated this intervention in a cluster-randomised trial in 33 Scottish primary care practices, targeting nine measures of high-risk non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and antiplatelet prescribing (for example, prescription of an NSAID to someone with chronic kidney disease; prescription of an antiplatelet to someone taking an anticoagulant without also prescribing a gastroprotective drug).

The intervention reduced the targeted prescribing by just over one third, and this reduction was sustained in the year after the intervention (including the payment to review) ceased. We also observed reductions in related hospital admissions with gastrointestinal bleeding and heart failure, although not acute kidney injury which was reduced but not statistically significantly.

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Two Generic Lamotrigine Medications Demonstrate Bioequivalence in Epilepsy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Michael Privitera MD Professor of the Department of Neurology and director of the Epilepsy Center University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute

Dr. Michael Privitera

Dr. Michael Privitera MD
Professor of the Department of Neurology and director of the Epilepsy Center
University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Privitera: Generic substitution of medications has saved the American health care system billions of dollars per year. However, based on a series of uncontrolled studies, patients and clinicians share concerns that generic substitution of antiepileptic drugs may lead to loss of efficacy or emergence of adverse effects. To answer this question we undertook a prospective, randomized study that tested bioequivalence of two generic products of the antiepileptic drug lamotrigine. Lamotrigine was identified in several publications as a possible source of problems after generic switches. FDA studies test a single generic versus the brand name product in a single dose study in normal volunteers. We designed a study that would be most likely to show a difference between generics if one existed. We compared the two generic lamotrigine products showing the most difference in prior testing in patients with epilepsy taking the drug daily using rigorous pharmacokinetic methods. Each patient took each of the two generics for 2 four week periods. Our study showed the two generics were essentially indistinguishable and easily met bioequivalence standards. No patient had loss of seizure control or unexpected adverse effects.

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Incomplete Follow Up Rates Exceed 10% in Oral Antithrombotic Trials

Victor Serebruany, MD, PhD HeartDrug Research, Towson, Maryland Department of Neurology Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Victor Serebruany

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Victor Serebruany, MD, PhD
HeartDrug Research, Towson, Maryland
Department of Neurology Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Serebruany: Missing data are common challenges to the validity of trial results, yet it is unclear how to characterize the extent of missing data.  We compared the published lost-to-follow-up rates to incomplete follow-up rates determined from subject records submitted to the FDA for major oral antithrombotic trials.  The 21 trials having both sets of rates included 270,089 patients followed for a median duration of 20 months.  The mean published lost-to-follow-up rates is 0.4% (median 0.3%, range 0.005% to 2%), consistently much lower than the FDA incomplete follow-up rates: mean 12% (median 13%, range 2% to 23%).  There is no correlation between the publication and FDA-calculated  rates (R 0.07, p = 0.76).   The FDA rates exceed greatly the endpoint rate differences: mean 1.3% (median 1,0%, range 0.2% to 3.0%).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Serebruany: That the FDA incomplete follow-up rates greatly exceed the endpoint rate differences raises questions of whether the endpoint differences may be due to differential follow-up rather than drug effect.  That they greatly exceed the measures routinely reported for trials, i.e., lost-to-follow-up rates, suggests that current trial reporting is inadequate.  Completeness of follow-up and other indicators of trial data quality should be considered when interpreting trial results.

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Paroxetine – Paxil – Linked To Increase in Cardiac Birth Defects

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM) and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal and Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy Research Center CHU Ste-Justine

Dr. Anick Bérard

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anick Bérard PhD FISPE
Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy
and Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM)
and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal
and Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center
CHU Ste-Justine 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bérard: Paroxetine (one of the most used antidepressant during pregnancy) has been studied extensively over the past 10-12 years. In 2005, a black box warning was put on the Paxil label to caution against use during pregnancy due to the increased risk of cardiac defects. The ACOG 2010 guidelines also suggested switching to other antidepressants during pregnancy. Over the past decade, many studies, including meta-analyses, were performed on on paroxetine use during pregnancy and the risk of cardiac malformations – but results were sometimes statistically significant or not, although a consistent increased risk was observed. It was thought that these variations could be explained by different study designs, patient populations, and because maternal depression was not always taken into account correctly. Hence, we undertook another meta-analysis (the most recent and updated) to quantify the risk of cardiac defects overall as well as specific cardiac defects associated with paoxetine use during pregnancy and to assess the impact of study designs, maternal depression and patient population on the effect of the risk.

We found that women using paroxetine during the first trimester of pregnancy (critical time-window for malformations) were 23% more at risk of having a child with malformations (15 studies combined) – baseline risk of malformation is 3-5% and thus a 23% increased risk is 3.69-6.15% absolute risk; women using paroxetine during the first trimester of pregnancy were 28% more at risk of having a child with cardiac malformations (18 studies combined) – baseline risk of cardiac malformation is 1% and thus a 28% increased risk is 1.28% absolute risk. We found that paroxetine was increasing the risk of many specific cardiac defects as well. Although the estimates varied depending on the comparator group, study design, and malformation detection period, a trend towards increased risk was observed.

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Second Protein Target of Aspirin Metabolite Identified

Prof. Daniel F. Klessig Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Dr. Klessig

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Daniel F. Klessig
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research,
Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Prof. Klessig: Acetyl salicylic acid, commonly called aspirin, has been the most widely used drug worldwide for more than a century. Currently, 80 million pounds of aspirin are produced worldwide every year and almost 30 billion tablets are consumed annually in the US alone. Long before German pharmacologist Johann Buchner identified the salicylic acid derivative salicin in 1828 as the ingredient in willow bark that is responsible for its therapeutic effects, different cultures throughout the world were, and many still are, using a variety of plants rich in salicylic acid derivatives, such as willow, wintergreen, and meadowsweet, to treat pain, fever, swelling, and other maladies. Aspirin also is used to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers.

One might expect that aspirin’s mechanisms of action would be well understood, given its extraordinarily widespread use and the fact that it was first synthesized by the Bayer chemist Felix Hoffmann over 100 years ago. The prevailing view in the biomedical community has been that aspirin works primarily, if not exclusively, by irreversibly inhibiting the enzymatic activities of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2 (COX1 and COX2), thereby disrupting the synthesis of inflammation-inducing prostaglandins. However, this assumption ignores two important facts.

  • First, aspirin is rapidly converted to salicylic acid (SA) in the body. Indeed, almost all aspirin is metabolized to SA within an hour after ingestion.
  • Second, SA and many of its natural plant derivatives are rather poor inhibitors of COX1 and COX2 as compared to aspirin, yet SA and aspirin have nearly the same beneficial pharmacological effects. Thus, there must be additional targets through which aspirin/SA exerts its many effects. Over the past two decades, a number of proteins whose activities are altered by aspirin/SA have been identified; however, their relevance as aspirin/SA targets has been called into question due to the very high, non-physiological levels of aspirin/SA required to alter their activities.

In light of our unexpected discovery that SA mediates its physiological effects in plants via many targets, and given that SA is a key hormone produced by all plants, we hypothesized that there might be multiple targets through which SA acts in animals, regardless of whether it is obtained in low to moderate levels via the diet or in moderate to high doses through herbal-based medicines or aspirin usage.

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