Trenton, Aug 15 (AP/UNB) — U.S. regulators Wednesday approved a new tuberculosis medicine that shortens and improves treatment for the hardest-to-treat cases, a worsening problem in many poor countries.
It's the first TB drug from a nonprofit group, the TB Alliance. Formed to come up with better treatments, the group developed pretomanid with help from charities and government agencies.
The pill was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use with two other antibiotics. Decades of incomplete or ineffective treatment has resulted in TB strains that have become drug resistant and aren't killed by long-standard medicines.
In a key study, the three-pill combo cured about 90% of patients with very drug-resistant TB, usually within 6 months. Patients also infected with HIV, a common situation, fared as well as the other study participants. Pretomanid also appears to stop patients from spreading the deadly bacterial infection after just a few days' treatment.
Until now, the best option cured about two-thirds of patients, took 18 to 30 months and required up to eight kinds of shots and pills. Many patients die or don't finish treatment, according to TB Alliance CEO Mel Spigelman.
Worldwide, TB kills about 1.6 million people annually. It spreads through droplets when someone sick with TB sneezes or coughs. TB attacks the lungs and sometimes other organs.
Pretomanid was approved for use with Zyvox and Sirturo, two other antibiotics used for the toughest cases. The three drugs, which have little known resistance, attack tuberculosis in different ways. Potential side effects include liver damage, nerve pain and an irregular heartbeat.
The new combo could help over 75,000 patients per year, mostly in India, China, Indonesia, South Africa and Nigeria, Spigelman said. The FDA is the first regulator to approve pretomanid, though there aren't many severe cases in the U.S. The FDA's action should bring quick approval in countries where it's endemic.
The alliance will work with the World Health Organization to speed adoption of the treatment in those countries. The alliance is contracting with multiple generic manufacturers to make pretomanid and keep it affordable.
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) - Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to 14 days after the infection, and may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. When a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream, reports The Indian Express.
Dengue fever can rise rapidly after the onset of the initial symptoms. Thus, it is vital that one seeks medical help as soon as these symptoms are observed. While there is no treatment or vaccine for the infection and is usually treated symptomatically, it is essential to follow a strict diet if you have dengue fever. To help you with the same, Pavithra N Raj, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur has suggested a few foods that patients with dengue should eat and avoid to ensure a speedy recovery.
Best foods to recover from dengue fever
* Pomegranate is rich in essential nutrients and minerals that provides the body with the required energy. Consumption of pomegranate reduces the feeling of exhaustion and fatigue. Being a rich source of iron, pomegranate stands out to be quite beneficial for the blood, and helps in maintaining a normal blood platelet count, which is essential to recover from dengue. Pomegranate has been used since the ancient times for its healthy and medicinal properties.
Dengue generally results in dehydration. Thus, it is immensely beneficial to consume coconut water – which is loaded with electrolytes and vital nutrients.
* Being an antiseptic and metabolism booster, it is advised to consume a pinch of turmeric with milk. This helps in faster recovery.
* Fenugreek is known to induce sleep and acts like a mild tranquiliser that aids in easing pain. It is also known to stabilising high fever, a common symptom of dengue.
* Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, orange and its juice help in treating and eliminating the dengue virus.
* Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K which helps regenerate blood platelets. Which is why, if there’s a sharp decline in the platelet count, broccoli must be included in a dengue patient’s diet. It is also rich in antioxidants and minerals.
* Spinach is a rich source of iron and omega-3 fatty acids and helps boost the immune system to a great extent. It is an effective way to increase the platelet level count.
* Kiwifruits contain a good amount of vitamin A and E along with potassium and help balance the body’s electrolyte level and limit hypertension and high blood pressure. The copper in kiwifruit is especially beneficial for the formation of healthy red blood cells and building immunity against diseases.
Note: The above mentioned remedies should be adopted only as a supplemental form of treatment.
Foods to be avoided during dengue fever
* It is best to avoid oily and fried food and opt for a lighter diet if you have dengue fever. Oily food contains a lot of fat which may lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This can hamper your road to recovery as it weakens the immune system.
* Spicy food is a big no-no for dengue patients. It can cause acid to collect in the stomach and lead to ulcers and damage to the stomach wall. This damage hinders the recovery process as your body seems to be fighting double the illnesses.
* Your body needs lots of fluid, but caffeinated beverages should not what you opt for. These drinks cause rapid increase in heart rate, fatigue, caffeine crashes, and muscle breakdown. Up your fluid intake and consume warm water instead of normal water.
* Non-vegetarian food should be strictly avoided when you are recovering from dengue fever.
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) - Drinking three or more cups of coffee daily may be associated with a higher risk of migraine, according to a study published Thursday, reports The Indian Express.
Afflicting more than one billion adults worldwide, migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world, said researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in the US.
In addition to severe headache, symptoms of migraine can include nausea, changes in mood, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as visual and auditory hallucinations.
The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, evaluated the role of caffeinated beverages as a potential trigger of migraine.
Led by Elizabeth Mostofsky, from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) in the US, the researchers found that, among patients who experience episodic migraine, one to two servings of caffeinated beverages were not associated with headaches on that day.
However, three or more servings of caffeinated beverages may be associated with higher odds of migraine headache occurrence on that day or the following day.
“While some potential triggers — such as lack of sleep — may only increase migraine risk, the role of caffeine is particularly complex, because it may trigger an attack but also helps control symptoms,” said Mostofsky.
Caffeine’s impact depends both on dose and on frequency, but because there have been few prospective studies on the immediate risk of migraine headaches following caffeinated beverage intake, there is limited evidence to formulate dietary recommendations for people with migraines,” he said.
In the study, 98 adults with frequent episodic migraine completed electronic diaries every morning and every evening for at least six weeks.
Every day, participants reported the total servings of caffeinated coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks they consumed, as well as filled out twice daily headache reports detailing the onset, duration, intensity, and medications used for migraines since the previous diary entry.
Researchers used a self-matched analysis, comparing an individual participant’s incidence of migraines on days with caffeinated beverage intake to thier incidence of migraines on days with no caffeinated beverage intake.
This self-matching eliminated the potential for factors such as sex, age, and other individual demographic, behavioural and environmental factors to confound the data.
The researchers further matched headache incidence by day of the week, eliminating weekend versus week day habits that may also impact migraine occurrence.
Self-matching also allowed for the variations in caffeine dose across different types of beverages and preparations.
“One serving of caffeine is typically defined as eight ounces or one cup of caffeinated coffee, six ounces of tea, a 12-ounce can of soda and a 2-ounce can of an energy drink,” said Mostofsky.
“Those servings contain anywhere from 25 to 150 milligrammes of caffeine, so we cannot quantify the amount of caffeine that is associated with heightened risk of migraine.
The researchers saw no association between one to two servings of caffeinated beverages and the odds of headaches on the same day, but they did see higher odds of same-day headaches on days with three or more servings of caffeinated beverages.
However, among people who rarely consumed caffeinated beverages, even one to two servings increased the odds of having a headache that day, researchers said.
“Despite the high prevalence of migraine and often debilitating symptoms, effective migraine prevention remains elusive for many patients,” said Suzanne M Bertisch from BIDMC.
New York , Aug 7(AP/UNB) — Prescriptions of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone are soaring, and experts say that could be a reason overdose deaths have stopped rising for the first time in nearly three decades.
The number of naloxone prescriptions dispensed by U.S. retail pharmacies doubled from 2017 to last year, rising from 271,000 to 557,000, health officials reported Tuesday.
The United States is in the midst of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in its history. About 68,000 people died of overdoses last year, according to preliminary government statistics reported last month, a drop from the more than 70,000 in 2017.
"One could only hope that this extraordinary increase in prescribing of naloxone is contributing to that stabilization or even decline of the crisis," said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University drug abuse expert.
About two-thirds of U.S. overdose deaths involve some kind of opioid, a class of drugs that includes heroin, certain prescription painkillers and illicit fentanyl. Naloxone is a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses, restoring breathing and bringing someone back to consciousness. It first went on sale in 1971 as an injection. An easier-to-use nasal spray version, Narcan, was approved in 2015.
Local, state and federal officials have embraced naloxone as a lifesaving measure. Cities and states have standing orders that allow pharmacies to give it out without a doctor's prescription, and officials have tried to put it into the hands of virtually anyone who might encounter a person overdosing, including drug users, police and even librarians.
CDC researchers noted there were fewer than 1,300 naloxone prescriptions dispensed in 2012, meaning the number grew more than 430-fold in six years.
Health officials said pharmacies should be giving out even more.
"We don't think anybody is at the level we'd like to see them," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC report is based on data from IQVIA, a company that tracks health care information, and looked at prescriptions from more than 50,000 retail pharmacies across the country. It included both prescriptions written by doctors for specific patients and those filled under the broader standing orders.
The report offers only a partial picture, however, since only about 20% of naloxone was sold to retail pharmacies in 2017, according to an earlier government report.
Still, it's the CDC's first close look at where most retail dispensing is happening. The agency provided data for about 2,900 of the nation's 3,100 counties and parishes.
The researchers found it was most common in cities, and in the South.
Experts said the findings likely reflect a number of factors. More naloxone is likely prescribed in places where more people are using opioids and where policies increase access.
Of the 30 counties with the highest rate of naloxone dispensing in 2018, 13 were in Virginia and five were in Kentucky. But the highest naloxone dispensing rate was in Marshall County, Indiana, according to the CDC data.
The CDC recommends that naloxone be prescribed to patients who are getting high-dose opioids and are at risk for an overdose. It noted that only one naloxone prescription is written for every 69 high-dose opioid prescriptions.
Another finding: The number of high-dose opioid prescription painkillers dispensed fell to about 38 million last year, from nearly 49 million the year before.
That likely also contributed to the decline in overdose deaths last year, Schuchat said.
Kampala, Aug 3 (AP/UNB) — Researchers in Uganda have launched the largest-ever trial of the experimental Ebola vaccine that is expected to be deployed in neighboring Congo, where a deadly outbreak has killed over 1,800 people.
The trial of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine involves up to 800 people in the western district of Mbarara and is supported by Doctors without Borders and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Pontiano Kaleebu, a Ugandan researcher who leads the trial, said Friday that he regrets that the Janssen vaccine has not yet been deployed in Congo. The health minister there who stepped down last month had argued against its deployment, saying a second vaccine could create confusion on the ground.
Already more than 180,000 people in Congo's yearlong outbreak have received an experimental but effective Merck vaccine, but health experts worry about the availability of doses as the virus now spreads in a major city, Goma, along the Rwanda border. The wife and 1-year-old daughter of the man who died this week of Ebola in Goma now have the disease.
Both the wife and child were doing well in treatment, Congo's new Ebola response coordinator, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, told reporters on Friday.
But he warned that about half of the cases in this outbreak are going undetected and at that rate "this epidemic could last two or three years." The current goal is to strengthen surveillance and bring the detection rate to 80%, he said.
Health experts have watched with dismay as the promise of the Merck vaccine in this outbreak has been largely overshadowed by severe challenges to virus containment efforts including rebel attacks and community resistance in a part of Congo that had never experienced Ebola before.
The Janssen vaccine has already been tested in about 6,000 people, most of them Africans, Kaleebu said. "We are excited about this (trial) ... because this is one of the promising vaccines," he said. "It's one of those vaccines that have shown a lot of promise in animal studies but also in other trials that have been conducted."
Ugandan researchers said the new trial is expected to last two years and will test how long any protection from Ebola would last. Juliet Mwanga, a co-investigator on the trial, said there is the need "to study many vaccines" in light of Congo's epidemic.
Uganda has had multiple Ebola outbreaks in the past. While it is currently free of the virus, three people died in June after crossing into the country's Kasese district on an unguarded footpath. Their family members were taken back to Congo for treatment.
The Ebola virus can spread quickly and be fatal in up to 90% of cases. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus is most often spread by close contact with bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with contaminated objects such as sheets. Health care workers are often at risk.