Archive for the ‘drugs’ Category

Has Big Pharm Targeted You?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing concluded that Big Pharm has embraced marketing strategies traditionally employed by consumer focused companies like Apple, Coco-Cola, and Harlkey-Davidson by imbuing their brands with human characteristics in order to boost sales. This results in patients asking their physician to prescribe specific brand-name medications. One of the co-authors said “Pharmaceutical companies can transform products from being merely functional to having emotional value in the eyes of the consumer.” She continues on to say “Pharmaceutical companies give their brands personality traits by relying on physical attributes, practical functions. user imagery and user context. As a result, brand names lie Viagra, Lipitor, and Prozac become shorthand for the drugs themselves.”

In their study the researchers used an online survey and polled 483 U.S. respondents. They rated 15 well known prescription medications based upon 22 different personality traits, such as dependability, optimism, anxiousness, and elegance. Drugs from the big companies such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline were included. Results showed that prescribed medication brand personality, as perceived bvy consumersd, had two distinct dimensions: competence and innovativeness. Terms such as dependable,m reliable,m responsiblem, successful, stable, practical, and solution-oriented were typically applied by consumers to brand drugs and showing a preference for overall competence. Words like unique, innovative, and original related to the innovativeness of the particular drug.

New Anti-Cancer Drug Kills Cancer Cells By Depriving Energy Supply

Friday, April 16th, 2010

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A paper recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry discusses a new cancer drug called OSU-CG12 that is in the experimental stages. It deprives cancer cells of sugar (energy) that they need when they grow rapidly and outstripe their blood supply leaving them short of energy. The principal investigator, Ching-Shih Chen, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Internal Medicine, and Urology at Ohio State University said this “energy restriction may offer a powerful new strategy for treating cancer because it targets a survival mechanism used by many types of cancers.”

The researchers started with a drug developed for type II diabetes that also showed anticancer properties in laboratory experiments called ciglitazone. They altered the structure of the ciglitazone molecule producing OSU-CG12 that increased its activity. Using prostate cancer and breast cancer cell lines they showed that OSU-CG12 was 10 times more effective at killing cancer cells than ciglitazone. It was also 10 times more effective than a second drug, resveratrol, a natural product found in grapes and red wine having weak anticancer activity that also used a restricting energy mechanism with cancer cells. In addition to restricting glucose from entering cancer cells, OSU-CG12 suppressed the cells ability to metabolize the sugar. Deprived of energy, the cancer cells begin consuming themselves accompanied by other biochemical events that lead to the death of the cells by a natural process called apoptosis. Research continues to modify and enhance the efficacy of OSU-CG12.

Aspirin May Reduce Deaths after Treatment for Breast Cancer

Friday, February 26th, 2010

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A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that “aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancer spread and death in women who have been treated for early breast cancer.” Researchers at Harvard Medical School studied 4,164 female registered nurses taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study. Starting in 1976 they looked at who took aspirin, who developed breast cancer and all causes of death up until 2006. During this time 341 nurses died of breast cancer. Of this group women who took aspirin two to five days a week had a 60% reduced risk of their cancer spreading and a 71% lower risk of breast cancer death. Other non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) in the same class as aspirin had the same effect and included ibuprofen and naproxen but not acetaminophen. This relationship was not as clear because of limited data. Although aspirin is relatively benign compared with chemotherapy drugs it can cause bleeding and should not be taken without medical supervision. It also should not be taken while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy because of the possible side effects.

New Drug Cautiously Approved for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

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Tocilizumab, brand-named Actemra, is a new biologic drug for treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthtritis that is not well controlled by other medications. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and should be available for patients during the week of January 18. It is the first drug that blocks a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6) which is overproduced in the joints of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. The drug is given once a month by intravenous infusion and is powerful and fast acting. However, there are safety concerns so it must be used cautiously. Side effects experienced by people taking it during clinical trials included elevated LDL or bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated liver enzymes and gastrointestinal perforations. Thus, its use is recommended only for those who have not responded to other therapies and the FDA is requiring the manufacturer to monitor it’s long term safety. Specifically the FDA is interested in evaluating the long term effect of elevated LDL, cholesterol and blood pressure on the cardiovascular health of those on the drug. If this drug is recommended, make sure you have frequent testing by your primary health care provider.

New Herbal Medication for A/H1N1 flu (Swine Flu)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

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After 7 months of scientific and clinical studies the President of Bejing’s Chaoyang Hospital in Bejing during the last week announced a new herbal remedy called “Jin Hua Qing Gen Fang” as effective in treating A/H1N1 flu. He said it shortens the length of time patients have a fever and improves their respiratory system with no noted harmful side effects to patients. It was developed by a team of over 120 medical specialists at a cost of about 1.47 million U.S. dollars and was used in both scientific and clinical studies. Studies included experiments on more that 4,000 mice and clinical studies on 410 patients with A/H1N1 flu. It was picked from more than 100 classic anti-flu prescriptions based upon Chinese herbal medicine.

It is about 1/4th the cost of Tamiflu the current treatment of choice that was recommended by the World Health Organization. The goal is to make this available to all as an alternative to current drugs.

A Promising Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication in Clinical Trial

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

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Findings of a study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that a new experimental medication known as oral dnaJP1 effectively gave relief to patients with rheumatoid arthritis and was well tolerated by them. The drug is a form of immunotherapy consisting of a peptide that previously was shown to contribute to inflammation. The scientist hypothesised that introducing the peptide might restore specific regulatory functions that prevent tissue damage and that are impaired in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

A total of 160 patients participated in the 6 month clinical trial in which half were given the medication and the other half unknowingly received a placebo. People who took the drug were more likely to benefit from a significant reduction in the percentage of immune cells that produced pro-inflammatory protein and showed improvement in symptoms. The researchers also found that the experimental drug could be used along with with the current rheumatoid arthritis drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Further research is needed to validate this trial study.

Harmful Effects of Breast Cancer Drugs Reported

Friday, November 20th, 2009

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A recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that although three drugs (tamoxifen, raloxifene, and tibolone) reduce a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer each has potential harmful effects for those using them. More specifically all three drugs significantly reduces invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women who have not previously had breast cancer but the benefits vary depending upon the drug and the woman.
The most common side effects for the drug tamoxifen are flushing, night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal discharge, itching and dryness, and for raloxifene are night sweats, hot flashes, and leg cramps, and for tibolone are vaginal bleeding. In addition, each drug carries a risk of adverse effects including increased risk of endometrial cancer, hysterectomies, and cataracts for tamoxifen compared to the other drugs; increased risk of stroke for tibolone; and increased risk of blood clots for both tamoxifen and raloxifene although it is greater with tamoxifen. More information is available at: www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov