What happens when a patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) who is clinically stable stops taking their medication?

An international, multi-site study found almost 40 percent of patients had some disease activity return after they stopped, according to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting last week.

"Despite long periods of disease stability while taking medication, we found a large minority of patients who stopped experienced relapses or disability progression," says lead study author Ilya Kister, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center. "We need to identify situations when it is safe for patients with MS to stop taking these medications."

A new study shows an "alarming rise" in the costs of drugs used to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) or reduce the frequency of attacks over the last 20 years.

Yet this increase occurred even as there was a substantial increase in the number of MS drugs in the marketplace, which would ordinarily lead to lower or stabilized costs for patients who use those drugs, especially for first-generation therapies.

The costs of MS drugs accelerated at rates 5X to 7X higher than prescription drug inflation and substantially higher than rates for drugs in a similar class between 1993 and 2013, the researchers report. Drug costs for several MS agents rose on average 20 to 30 percent per year over this time period. 

Researchers have identified a single, simple metric to guide antibiotic dosing that could bring an entire arsenal of first-line antibiotics back into the fight against drug-resistant pathogens.

A computer simulation created by Hannah Meredith, a biomedical engineering graduate fellow at Duke University, revealed that a regimen based on a pathogen's recovery time could eliminate an otherwise resistant strain of bacteria. In theory, a database of recovery times for bacterial and antibiotic combinations could allow first-line antibiotics to clear many resistant infections.

Work to create such a database is underway and early tests are confirming her model's predictions.

The introduction of abuse-deterrent OxyContin, coupled with the removal of propoxyphene from the US prescription marketplace, are getting the credit for decreasing opioid prescribing and overdoses in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Those two changes led to a 19 percent drop in prescription opioid supply that was mirrored by a 20 percent drop in prescription opioid overdose between August 2010 and December 2012. The drop in prescription opioid overdose was partially offset by an increase in overdose due to heroin, an illicit opioid.

A Phase IIa placebo-controlled clinical trial of TOPOFEN, a topical anti-migraine therapy for moderate and severe migraine sufferers, showed that the application of a well-known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) over the trigeminal nerve branches can be a safe and effective alternative treatment for patients suffering from acute migraine.

“I moved to California to die.”

Ellie Lobel was 27 when she was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease. And she was not yet 45 when she decided to give up fighting for survival.

Caused by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which enter the body through the bite of a tick, Lyme disease is diagnosed in around 300,000 people every year in the United States. It kills almost none of these people, and is by and large curable – if caught in time. If doctors correctly identify the cause of the illness early on, antibiotics can wipe out the bacteria quickly before they spread through the heart, joints and nervous system.

The first malaria vaccine candidate (RTS,S/AS01) to reach phase 3 clinical testing is partially effective against clinical disease in young African children up to 4 years after vaccination, according to final trial data published in The Lancet.

Increasingly, the public distrusts science and medicine. Much of the reason has been due to lawsuits, some of it has been due to strange beliefs among wealthy elites in well-defined parts of the United States. Due to popularized concerns about the safety of medicine, the approval cycle and the cost is longer than ever - billions of dollars and a dozen or more years unless a disease like Ebola gets into corporate media headlines.

Rapid treatment with a new anti-inflammatory called
could have a major impact on recovery from spinal cord injury.

University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences researchers Dr. Marc Ruitenberg and Ph.D. student Faith Brennan said they made the discovery during laboratory trials with an experimental drug. Brennan said that excessive inflammation caused additional damage in spinal cord injuries and hindered recovery. 

Daily consumption of capsaicin, the active compound of chilli peppers, was found to have beneficial effects on liver damage. The study found capsaicin reduced the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in mice models. HSCs are the major cell type involved in liver fibrosis, which is the formation of scar tissue in response to liver damage.

The mice were split into two groups and received capsaicin in their food:

After three days of bile duct ligation (BDL) in which the common bile duct is obstructed, leading to bile accumulation and liver fibrosis