Latest Research

March 3, 2006

A summary of the "must-read" articles from the journals in that pile on your desk.

Over-the-Counter Allergy Pill Equals Prescription DrugArch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006;132:164-172 [Feb. 2006]

The OTC decongestant pseudoephedrine works as well as the pricier prescription drug montelukast to relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms and improve quality of life, according to researchers at the University of Chicago. The study was supported in part by Merck & Co., which contributed editorial suggestions during the article's preparation.

Rimonabant of Modest Benefit in Weight LossJAMA. 2006;295:761-775 [Feb. 15, 2006]

Drug-Eluting Stents Similar in Angina Pectoris PatientsJAMA. 2006;295:895-904 [Feb. 22, 2006]

Patients with angina pectoris and coronary artery lesions have similar rates of in-lesion binary restenosis and cardiac events whether they receive a sirolimus- or paclitaxel-eluting coronary stent, French researchers report. The Cordis Corp., a Johnson & Johnson company, designed the study and helped prepare the manuscript.

Low-Carb And Low-Fat Weight Loss Same In Long RunArch Intern Med. 2006;166:285-293 [Feb. 13, 2006]

Low-carbohydrate dieters lose more weight at six months than low-fat dieters, but at 12 months there's no significant difference, report Swiss investigators. A low-carb diet had favorable effects on triglycerides and good HDL-cholesterol, but increased total and LDL-cholesterol.

Seven of 1,000 Prescriptions Violate Black Box WarningsArch Intern Med. 2006;166:338-344 [Feb. 13, 2006]

Investigators at Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard found that 2,354 of 324,548 patients who received a prescription drug in 2002 got medications that were in violation of black box drug-drug, drug-disease, or drug-laboratory interaction warnings. Among those most likely to have received such were women, those taking multiple medications, or having multiple medical problems, and those older than 75. Fewer than 1 percent of those receiving a prescription in violation suffered an adverse drug event.

Cytokine Plays Key Role in Refractory AsthmaN Engl J Med. 2006;354:697-708 [Feb. 16, 2006]

Patients with refractory asthma have increased expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and 10 weeks of treatment with etanercept may help curb bronchial hyperresponsiveness in such patients, according to researchers in Leicester, England.

Glucosamine/Chondroitin Trial Produces Mixed ResultsN Engl J Med. 2006;354:795-808 [Feb. 23, 2006]

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone or together are no more effective than placebo at reducing knee-arthritis pain, except in patients with moderate-to-severe pain, according to the results of the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT). In this group of patients, there was a significantly higher rate of response with the glucosamine-chondroitin combination than with the placebo (79.2 percent vs 54.3 percent).

Itopride Improves Symptoms of Functional DyspepsiaN Engl J Med. 2006;354:832-840 [Feb. 23, 2006]

Eight weeks of treatment with 50, 100, or 200 mg of the dopamine D2 antagonist itopride significantly improves symptoms of functional dyspepsia, relieving pain and fullness, according to an Australian study. The greatest relief came at the higher dosages.