A recent study has linked the over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller Orudis KT(TM) (ketoprofen) to frequent and severe stomach and intestinal problems. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine tested ketoprofen and acetaminophen in 24 healthy volunteers to collect data; three groups of eight participants completed seven-day cycles of treatment with either one of the medications or a placebo. The study found that 50% of participants treated with ketoprofen developed severe gastric mucosal injury, and that two participants developed ketoprofen-related gastric ulcers. Authors note that no significant gastrointestinal effects were associated with acetaminophen use. Authors say the findings are consistent with previous findings that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), of which ketoprofen is an example, are associated with significant gastrointestinal problems. The study is in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (July, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 7/28/98
Ulcer-causing bacterial infection linked to heart risk
A recent report suggests that infection with the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) bacterium may trigger an immune system response that may, in turn, increase an individual's risk of coronary artery disease and/or stroke. Researchers at Scotland's University of Glasgow studied the results of treatment for H.pylori infection in 100 patients and found that successful elimination of the bacterium led to significant decreases in blood levels of the heat shock antibody, which have been linked to coronary artery disease-related chest pain and to the development of atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries. Authors say the findings suggest that successful treatment of H.pylori infection may decrease the risk of both heart disease and stroke and provide evidence for the role of an autoimmune response in the conditions. The report is in the European Heart Journal (1998;19:387-394).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 7/8/98
Advances in the development of a staph vaccine
Researchers have reported advances that may lead to the development of an effective vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus infections, which affect hundreds of thousands of people every year, including more than 500,000 patients infected in hospitals; infections can range from minor to potentially fatal. Researchers at the University of California-Davis have reported a new approach to preventing staph infections, involving a method that, rather than attacking the bacteria itself, blocks the ability of the bacteria to produce toxins. Trials are reported to have shown that 90% of mice vaccinated with the RNAIII inhibiting peptide (RIP) remained disease-free following exposure to S.aureus. Further studies are planned to determine the effects of the RIP vaccine when used following infection with the bacteria. The findings are in the journal Science (1998;280:378).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 7/6/98
Public knowledge of NSAID-related side effects
A recent report suggests that most Americans are not aware of the potential toxicity of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen, and other commonly-used over-the-counter drugs. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago interviewed 4,799 U.S. adults by telephone to collect data on NSAID use and on perceptions about the risks and benefits of the drugs. The study found that 17% of NSAID users were frequent users of the drugs, with 70% of frequent users being women and 66% being at least 41 years of age. Further analysis showed that 57% of NSAID users interviewed underestimated their risk of developing gastrointestinal complications, such as ulcers, bleeding, and perforation, in connection with use of the drugs, and that 75% were either unaware of unconcerned about the potential side effects. Authors say the findings suggest a high level of NSAID misuse and indicate a need for greater efforts to educate consumers about the possible risks associated with the drugs. The findings were presented at the Digestive Disease Week conference in New Orleans (May 25, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 6/7/98
Mechanism of the H.pylori bacterium
Researchers have reported the identification of a mechanism that appears to be partially responsible for the ulcer-causing activity of the H.pylori bacterium. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, say studies have found that mice in which the human gene Lewis b (Leb) was inserted developed immune system responses in the stomach at the site at which the bacteria attached to the stomach lining and that the immune system attacked the surrounding cells, as well as the bacteria, resulting in peptic ulcers; when the bacteria was introduced into mice without the human gene it passed into gastric mucus. The report is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1998;95:3925-3930).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 5/28/98
Antibiotics and cost-effectiveness of treating ulcers
A recent study concludes that adding antibiotics to the standard ulcer treatment of a drug that inhibits stomach acid secretion is both less expensive and more effective than treatment with an anti-acid secretion drug only. Researchers at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque randomized 727 patients with duodenal ulcers who were infected with the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori to treatment with both the antibiotic clarithromycin and the antisecretory drug omeprazole or to treatment with either omeprazole or another antisecretory drug called ranitidine hydrochloride only. The study found that participants who received the antibiotic/antisecretory combination were both more likely to be free of H.pylori infection and less likely to have a relapse of ulcer activity within one year, compared to the participants who received only an antisecretory drug. The study also notes that ulcer-related healthcare costs over one year following the study were significantly lower for the combination therapy patients, even though the initial treatment was more expensive. The study is in the Archives of Internal Medicine (1998;158:852-860).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 5/15/98
Cat-to-human transmission of ulcer bacteria
A new report tells of a case in which a strain of the Helicobacter heilmannii
bacteria appears to have been transmitted from a cat to a human.
- Helicobacter heilmannii, which is known to cause stomach inflammation in animals, is similar to the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori bacteria commonly found in humans.
- researchers at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland, say the man was found to be infected with three strains of H.heilmannii, one of which was identical to a strain found in his cat.
- authors say the case is the first to show that humans can be infected with multiple strains of H. heilmannii.
- the report is in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (1998;36:1366-1370).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 5/11/98
Link between ulcer-causing bacterium and heart disease
A new report concludes that a particularly virulent strain of the ulcer-causing
Helicobacter pylori bacterium is associated with an increased rate of heart
- researchers at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy, studied 88 patients with heart disease and 88 healthy controls to collect data.
- found that 43% of those patients with heart disease were infected with CagA-positive Helicobacter pylori, compared to 17% of controls.
- the report further notes that no such link between CagA-negative strains of H.pylori and heart disease was found. - authors say the findings suggest that the link between H.pylori and heart disease is related to the strength of the particular strain of bacterial infection.
- the report is in the journal Circulation (1998;97).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 5/6/98
Antibiotic-resistant ulcer bacteria
Researchers have reported the identification of the mechanism by which the Helicobacter pylori bacterium, which is implicated in up to 90% of all peptic ulcers, becomes resistant to antibiotics. Researchers at the Dalhousie University Medical School report that studies have shown resistant H.pylori strains to be linked to a mutation in a gene known as rdxA, which codes for enzymes that allow the bacterium to break down nitrogen compounds. Authors note that laboratory studies found that introducing copies of normal rdxA genes into resistant bacteria resulted in the bacteria becoming susceptible to treatment. The findings are in the journal Molecular Microbiology (April 14, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 4/30/98
H. pylori bacteria linked to severe morning sickness
A recent report links the bacteria implicated in up to 90% of all peptic ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, to severe morning sickness in pregnant women. Researchers at Austria's University of Vienna studied 105 women with a severe form of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum and 129 pregnant women without the disorder to collect data. The study found that 90.5% of the women with the disorder were infected with H. pylori, compared to 46.5% of those not affected. Authors say the findings suggest that changes in the stomach's acidity during pregnancy may activate latent H. pylori in the stomachs of pregnant women. The report is in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology (1998;91:615-617).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 4/30/98
Effects of lifestyle on the risk of ulcers
A recent report concludes that a person's lifestyle plays a significantly greater role in increasing the risk of peptic ulcers than do hereditary factors. Finnish researchers analyzed data taken from more than 13,000 pairs of twins to collect data and concluded that about 61% of the risk of ulcers appeared to be due to environmental factors, with the rest of the risk being accounted for by hereditary factors. Authors note that both smoking and stress in men, and the regular use of analgesics in women, were linked to increased risk of ulcers. The report is in the Archives of Internal Medicine (1998;158:698-704).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 4/30/98
Drug treatment of stomach ulcers in arthritis sufferers
A recent study concludes that the drug Losec (omeprazole) is more effective than either ranitidine (Zantac) or misoprostol in healing ulcers and ulcer-like erosions in arthritis sufferers who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Researchers note that the increased benefits of Losec continued even when patients continued to take NSAIDs for their arthritis. The findings are in The New England Journal of Medicine (March 11, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 4/29/98
Approval of new short-term treatment for GERD
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted marketing approval
to Prevacid(R) (lansoprazole) Delayed-Release Capsules for the short-term
treatment of symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- GERD is an inclusive term for symptoms/condition that result from exposure of the esophagus to gastric acid.
- trial findings submitted in support of the drug's application are reported to have shown that 84% of treated GERD patients were heartburn-free at eight weeks (Prevacid 15 mg once per day), compared to 13% of patients given a placebo.
- the most commonly reported side effects associated with use of Prevacid were headache, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
- Prevacid is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) which works by blocking the production of stomach acid.
- data taken from a TAP Holdings Inc. release (April 13, 1998).
MedBriefs (INC inc.) 4/13/98