Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hepatitis C News; Boceprevir Monotherapy Treatment-Naive Subjects HCV Genotype 2/3


The 21st Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the LiverAPASL Feb 17-20, 2011 Bangkok, Thailand

Medical News Today...

News From The Journal Of Clinical Investigation: Feb. 21, 2011
22 February 2011CARDIOLOGY: Possible new approach to treating two related multi-organ syndromes LEOPARD syndrome and Noonan syndrome are two genetic conditions caused by mutations that affect the Ras signaling pathway...


Rifaximin improves psychometric performance and health-related quality of life in patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy, reports this month's issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Cirrhotics with minimal hepatic encephalopathy have a poor health-related quality of life.
Treatment of minimal hepatic encephalopathy is still evolving.
Dr Sandeep Singh Sidhu and colleagues from India performed a double-blind randomized pilot study to assess the efficacy of rifaximin in improving neuropsychometric test performance and health related quality of life in patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy.
Minimal hepatic encephalopathy was diagnosed if any 2 NP tests were deranged beyond 2 standard deviations of normal.

Health related quality of life was assessed using the sickness impact profile questionnaire.
A total of 486 patients with cirrhosis were screened and 284 were found eligible.
Out of these 115 had minimal hepatic encephalopathy, of which 21 refused consent and 94 were randomized to receive placebo and rifaximin for 8 weeks.
At the end of treatment, significantly more number of patients in rifaximin group showed reversal of minimal hepatic encephalopathy.

The research team found that the rifaximin group showed significant reduction in mean number of abnormal NP tests, compared with placebo group.
The researchers noted that the mean total sickness impact profile score also improved significantly in rifaximin group compared with placebo group.
Improvement in health related quality of life correlated with improvement in NP tests.
Rifaximin was well tolerated.

Dr Sidhu's team concludes, "Rifaximin significantly improves both cognitive functions and health related quality of life in patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy."
Am J Gastroenterol 2011;106: 307–316 21 February 2011

In The News..

OraSure Technologies of Bethlehem, which makes products used to test for HIV, hepatitis and drug use, received federal approval for a key product that tests for hepatitis C, the company announced Tuesday.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the company's OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody test, which detects hepatitis C, with a finger-stick blood sample. The agency in June approved use of the product with a whole blood sample. The test provides
results in 20 minutes.

Healthy You

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a yellow-flowering weed that has been used to treat various "nervous disorders" for centuries. It is sold, usually by prescription, in Germany as an antidepressant, and in the U.S. as a dietary supplement. This herb contain at least seven groups of compounds that can have pharmacological action.

Claims, purported benefits: Alleviates depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Evidence: St. John’s wort is one of the most researched herbal medicines, in particular for its use in depression. But results have often been inconsistent and hard to compare, largely because the studies have included people with different types and degrees of depression, used different herb preparations and doses, tested the herb against low doses of antidepressants, and/or did not have placebo groups.

Still, most studies have been favorable, and the consensus is that St. John’s wort works better than a placebo in treating people with mild-to-moderate depression, at least in the short term. It also seems to be as good as older-generation tricyclic antidepressants and possibly newer antidepressants (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), for people with this level of depression.

Bottom line: If your depression is interfering with your life, talk to your doctor or a therapist. Depression is a serious condition, and you should not self-diagnose or self-medicate. While there is continuing debate about how effective prescription antidepressants really are, beyond their powerful placebo effect, these drugs are still often a first-choice treatment, especially for more severe depression. It is often hard to draw the line between severe and mild-to-moderate depression.

If, after consulting your doctor, you want to try St. John’s wort for mild-to-moderate depression, keep in mind that the herb interacts with many drugs (including statins, blood thinners, and HIV drugs) and that, because supplements are not regulated, you don’t really know what you are getting. If you are already taking a prescription antidepressant, you should not switch to St. John’s wort on your own. And you should not combine the two, since that can increase side effects, especially in older people.


You read it here first. In a harsh warning letter, the FDA has reprimanded Sanofi-Aventis for failing to meet regulatory deadlines for reporting serious side effects with many of its drugs, including the Lovenox blood thinner, the Multaq heart drug and the Allegra D allergy pill, and also did not report post-marketing studies or completed, unpublished clinical trials in NDA annual reports. The seven-page missive, which was dated January 28, comes after the agency reviewed Sanofi paperwork last May. And a separate letter dated February 9 notes that a Sanofi plant in Germany has problems with contamination....

No sooner did we finish writing about yet another Johnson & Johnson recall than a report comes in that - yes, it is true - still another product is being yanked. This time, the beleaguered health care giant is pulling 395 injectable devices that contain the Simponi rheumatoid arthritis med from the US and Germany due to a potential defect that could deliver an insufficient dose (look here for some info).....

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