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Jan 072012
 

One thing I thought I knew was that overweight and obesity cause coronary artery disease and make it worse. People with CAD who are obese should lose weight … right? Recent research shows it’s not that simple (although the answer is still “yes, probably”). Did you know about the “obesity paradox?” Or the “lean paradox,” [... read more]

Jan 072012
 
Neti pots kill 2 after transmitting brain-eating amoeba

In December 2011, The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported the first two cases of death-by-neti-pot. Both deaths were due to lethal encephalitis caused by Naegleria fowleri, a freshwater amoeba. The first victim, a 20-year old man, died in June; it was known that he had used a neti pot, but the connection was [... read more]

Jan 062012
 
Big bucks riding on FDA's little dosing decision for indacaterol (NEJM)

In July 2011, FDA approved indacaterol, Novartis’s new once-daily long-acting beta agonist, for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In contrast to its European counterpart (EMA), which approved indacaterol there at doses up to 300 mcg, FDA only approved indacaterol in the 75 mcg daily dose. The FDA’s Badrul Chowdhury explains why in the [... read more]

Jan 022012
 
FDA approves Aclidinium (Tudorza Pressair), a b.i.d. "me-too" to Spiriva for COPD

July 29, 2012 Last week, the FDA approved aclidinium bromide (Tudorza Pressair) as a daily inhaler treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the agency announced in a press release. Aclidinium is a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (or “anticholinergic”) bronchodilator that will compete with tiotropium (Spiriva), which was launched in 2004 and until now was the [... read more]

Jan 012012
 
ACP advises against universal DVT/PE prophylaxis! "Quality" quagmire thickens (Guideline/Review, Ann Intern Med)

Daunted by the seeming impossibility of measuring and comparing hospitals on real outcomes (given our primitive state of data collection and heterogeneity in patient populations, among many other challenges), well-meaning bureaucrats and non-profiteering safety advocates like the Institute for Healthcare Improvement have created directives based on surrogate measures in an attempt to standardize and improve [... read more]

Jan 012012
 
Xigris X'd! PROWESS-SHOCK negative; activated protein C yanked from global market

A newer post is available reviewing the final published findings for PROWESS-SHOCK in NEJM. PROWESS-SHOCK results are in, and they sounded the death knell for drotecogin alfa (activated protein C / Xigris), Eli Lilly’s often-challenged blockbuster drug for septic shock. Investigators reported a 28-day all-cause mortality rate of 26.4% in patients treated with activated drotrecogin [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

This nice (and brief) review article on interpreting elevated troponin levels can be summed up by its quote from cardiologist Robert Jesse: “When troponin was a lousy assay it was a great test, but now that it’s becoming a great assay, it’s getting to be a lousy test.” Troponin abnormality is set at the 99th [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Macrolide antibiotics are increasingly recognized for their salutary anti-inflammatory effects in lung disease, potentially distinct from any antimicrobial effect. Albert et al report that among 1,142 people with severe COPD (FEV1 ~40% predicted) who were randomized to take either azithromycin 250 mg or placebo daily for one year, those taking azithromycin had fewer exacerbations, as [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Cytisine is a partial nicotine agonist extracted from acacia seeds. In a single-center trial, West et al randomized 740 smokers to receive either cytisine or placebo for 25 days; they were then followed for 12 months with surveys and periodic biochemical verification. At 12 months, those receiving cytisine had an 8.4% rate of biochemically verified [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Every July, 100,000 house staff change jobs, with the sudden arrival of huge cohorts of promising talented young interns who also happen to be (by definition, and speaking from personal experience) disoriented and incompetent. Does changeover result in excess mortality — the so-called “July effect” in the U.S. (in the U.K., they go right ahead and [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Medical tradition and lore advised follow-up chest films for asymptomatic people 6 weeks after pneumonia to see if a lung cancer might be lurking there. IDSA guidelines from 2007 don’t address the question, and UK guidelines suggest a follow-up chest X-ray only in those with a smoking history or over age 50. Using databases, Tang [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Numerous small (n~100), single-center randomized trials have shown a benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in acute lung injury and ARDS (reduced mortality, length of stay, and organ failure; improved oxygenation and respiratory mechanics). A meta-analysis combining these studies suggested a stat.significant benefit in mortality (risk ratio 0.67), ventilator requirement (-5 days), and ICU stay (-4 [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Air Travel for Patients with Lung Disease (BTS Recommendations) Some interesting facts, figures, and recommendations on air travel for those with chronic lung disease, thanks to Ahmedzai et al who produced this 32 page document for the British Thoracic Society: At 8,000 feet in a commercial aircraft, you’re breathing 15% O2, and normal people’s SpO2 [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

The smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) got a black-box warning in 2009 after the FDA received >500 reports of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and 32 completed suicides in the U.S. (This was out of several million prescriptions filled, though.) After that postmarketing surprise, the FDA sponsored 2 observational studies in Chantix users: one at the [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Faster recovery from severe sepsis (or other disorders causing patchy/global hypoperfusion) should be accompanied by a faster disappearance of lactate from the bloodstream. The rate of lactate clearance was reported by Nguyen et al in Crit Care Med 2004 (among others) to predict survival from septic shock, and a strategy substituting lactate clearance of 10% for [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

The National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated annual screening with chest CT saves one life per 320 screened compared to yearly screening with chest radiography. However, there was no “usual care” group (no screening at all) to compare against. Oken et al report additional results from the PLCO Trial (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

After receiving hundreds of postmarketing adverse event reports of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (and 32 completed suicides) associated with smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix), the FDA slapped a black box warning on the med in 2009 and commissioned two large retrospective observational studies totaling more than 40,000 patients starting either varenicline (Chantix) or nicotine replacement. [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Quitting smoking is astoundingly difficult: only about 3% stay quit at 6 months without help. Using nicotine replacement therapy increases that to 9%. The more effective but often-maligned drug Chantix (varenicline) increases it to up to 33% at six months, but after a year, smoking cessation rates even with varenicline may fall to only 11% over [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Severe sepsis makes the heart irritable, probably due to all the evil humors and increased cardiac demand. Between 6-20% of patients with severe sepsis develop atrial fibrillation for the first time; that’s old news. What’s been unclear is what new-onset atrial fibrillation in severe sepsis means: is it an expected, yeah-so-what marker of critical illness, [... read more]