Pharmacology

A team of researchers have evaluated mepolizumab, a new antibody-based drug for certain patients with severe asthma, and found it can replace traditional, steroid-based treatments for a specific subset of patients, resulting in improved outcomes and reduced side effects.

Patients with severe asthma often require high doses of steroid-based treatments that can significantly impair their quality of life.

These high doses can cause debilitating side effects including mood swings, diabetes, bone loss, skin bruising, cataracts and hypertension.
Previous research at the Hamilton institutions has identified specific types of patient with severe asthma have an overabundance of a particular type of white blood cell (eosinophils) present in their sputum.


While use of well-established medicine has declined among rich, liberal elites in America's wealthiest, most educated states, untested and sometimes dangerous herbal dietary supplement sales in the United States rose to $6,000,000,000 - an increase of 7.9% over 2013.

As expected, sales in "natural" food stores were strongest, rising by 8.8%, but even regular food and drug stores had  a 7.7% over 2012 sales, reflecting a growing distrust of science among the organic and alternative medicine communities.

Data from FIRST (MM-020/IFM 07-01), an open-label phase III randomized study of continuous REVLIMID (lenalidomide) in combination with dexamethasone in patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma (NDMM) who are not candidates for stem cell transplant, have been published.

The initial findings, including that the trial had met its primary endpoint of progression free survival, were reported during the plenary session at the 55th American Society of Hematology annual meeting in December 2013. 


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), the most widely used drugs for the treatment of depression, have been reported to reduce bone formation and increase the risk of bone fracture. Since osseointegration is influenced by bone metabolism, a new study investigated the association between SSRIs and the risk of failures in osseointegrated implants.

Within the limits of the study, the findings indicate that treatment with SSRIs is associated with an increased failure risk of osseointegrated implants.   


Wockhardt Limited announced that two of its drugs, WCK 771 and WCK 2349, received the coveted Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) status from U.S. Food&Drug Administration (FDA).

QIDP status is granted to drugs which act against pathogens which have a high degree of unmet need in their treatment and are identified by the Centers for Disease Control. QIDP status allows for fast track review of the drug application by U.S. FDA, paving way for an early launch. This is the first instance of an Indian Pharmaceutical company receiving a QIDP status.

Energy drinks can cause heart problems according to research presented yesterday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2014 today by Professor Milou-Daniel Drici from France.


Some research has indicated that salt might alter the autoimmune response, which is implicated in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), but it is not clear if it has any direct effect on the course of the disease itself.


FK506 possesses a well-studied neuroregenerative effect, stimulating neurite extension in the presence of nerve growth factor in vitro, and enhancing nerve regeneration following nerve crush injury and isografting.

The use of FK506 to stimulate nerve regeneration is limited because of the risk of renal failure and hypertension, and its considerable cost. 

With long-term allografts, FK506 alone or combined with other drugs reportedly cause life-threatening infections. Like FK506, rapamycin is an immunosuppressant and FKBP-12-binding ligand, and has a neuroregenerative effect in vitro.


There is a reason alternative medicine has an adjective in front of it - it can't survive double-blind clinical trials the way medicine has.

But at least it isn't harmful. In most cases. However, aconite, a class of plant that is also known as wolfsbane or devil's helmet and is in a poisonous genus of the buttercup family, recently led to facial tingling and numbness within minutes of ingesting, followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain 30 minutes later. 

The herbal preparation by a Chinese herbal medication practitioner in Melbourne for back pain resulted in life-threatening heart changes, lead to new calls to educated the public and warn practitioners who prescribe "complementary" treatments instead of medication.



Somewhere in this much-incinerated plant lies valuable medicine: perhaps a treatment for cancer or an antidote to obesity.Prensa 420/Flickr, CC BY-NC

By David J. Allsop, University of Sydney and Iain S. McGregor, University of Sydney

Medicinal cannabis is back in the news again after a planned trial to grow it in Norfolk Island was blocked by the federal government last week. The media is ablaze with political rumblings and tales of public woe, but what does science have to say on the subject?