GlaxoSmithKline boss says new drugs can be cheaper
By Ben Hirschler
LONDON | Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:15am EDT
(Reuters) – The pharmaceutical industry should be able to charge less for new drugs in future by passing on efficiencies in research and development to its customers, according to the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
“It’s not unrealistic to expect that new innovations ought to be priced at or below, in some cases, the prices that have pre-existed them,” Andrew Witty told a conference on healthcare in London.
“We haven’t seen that in recent eras of the (pharmaceutical) industry but it is completely normal in other industries.”
High prices for new medicines, most notably in cancer care, are a growing challenge for healthcare providers, particularly in austerity-hit Europe where government budgets are under pressure.
Traditionally, drug companies have argued that premium prices are needed to pay for the $1 billion-plus cost of developing a single new medicine.
But Witty said the $1 billion price tag was “one of the great myths of the industry”, since it was an average figure that includes money spent on drugs that ultimately fail.
In the case of GSK, a major revamp in the way research is conducted means the rate of return on R&D investment has increased by about 30 percent in the past three or four years because fewer drugs have flopped in late-stage testing, he said.
“If you stop failing so often you massively reduce the cost of drug development … it’s why we are beginning to be able to price lower,” Witty said.
“It’s entirely achievable that we can improve the efficiency of the industry and pass that forward in terms of reduced prices.”
We are living in an age of upside-downs, where right is wrong, fiction is truth and war is peace. Those who fight the wars are subjected to their own house of mirrors via pharmaceutical “treatments.” Instead of providing U.S. soldiers and veterans with actual health care, the government throws pills at them and calls it “therapy.”
Stimulants, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, sedatives and pain meds are the new “fuel” for America’s front-line forces. While the idea of sending medicated soldiers into battle was unthinkable just three decades ago, today it’s the status quo. And the cost in human lives has never been more tragic.
Here are 25 disturbing facts about psych drugs, soldiers and suicides. They are disturbing because everybody seems to be pretending there is no link between psychiatric drugs and soldier suicides. So soldiers and veterans keep dying while the Pentagon (and the VA) keep pretending they don’t know why. (Sources are listed at the bottom of this article.)
1) 33% of the U.S. Army is on prescription medications, and nearly a quarter of those are on psychotropic drugs
2) In 2010, the Pentagon spent $280 million on psychiatric drugs. That number has since risen.
3) There are now over 8,000 suicides each year by U.S. soldiers and veterans; that’s over 22 a day
4) 33% of those suicides are attributed to medication side effects
5) That means medications are killing more U.S. soldiers and veterans than Al-Qaeda
6) 500% more soldiers abuse prescription drugs than illegal street drugs
7) Under the Obama administration, the number of veterans waiting for VA care has risen from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 today
8) More active duty soldiers die from suicide than from combat: 349 dead last year
9) The number of prescriptions for Ritalin and Adderall written for active-duty soldiers has increased 1,000% in the last five years
10) For every active-duty service member who dies in battle, 25 veterans die by suicide
11) Only 1 percent of Americans have served in the Middle East, but veterans of combat there make up 20% of all suicides in the United States
12) The suicide rate of active-duty soldiers in the Civil War was only 9 – 15 per 100,000 soldiers. The suicide rate of active-duty U.S. soldiers in the Middle East is 23 per 100,000. And casualty rates were far higher in the Civil War, meaning the Civil War was more psychologically traumatic.
13) In the Korean War, the suicide rate among active-duty military soldiers was only 11 per 100,000
14) To date, the Pentagon has spent more than a billion dollars on psychiatric drugs, making it one of the largest customers of Big Pharma
15) In 2010, over 213,000 active-duty military personnel were taking medications considered “high risk” by the Pentagon
16) In the years since the Iraq War began, twice as many soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard have died of suicide than in combat
17) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls military suicides an “epidemic”
18) Of all the branches of the military, the Army has the highest number of suicides each year, almost 400% more than the Marines
19) Most active-duty soldiers who take psychiatric medications consume a combination of three to five prescriptions
20) The use of prescription medications by active-duty soldiers is largely unregulated. Soldiers are given a bottle of meds and sent into combat. If they run out of meds, they are given a refill, no questions asked.
21) The mainstream media says the answer to lowing suicides of veterans is to take away their guns so that they cannot shoot themselves. This is the logical equivalent to trying to fix your car’s engine by removing the “check engine” light.
22) The Pentagon is initiating new research (in 2013) to try to figure out why psychiatric medications cause soldiers to commit suicide. The research involves tracking brain activity by attaching electrodes to the skull.
23) One-third of military suicides are committed by soldiers who have never seen combat
24) In the last year, the military wrote over 54,000 prescriptions for Seroquel to soldiers, and all those prescriptions were “off label,” meaning the intended use has never been approved by the FDA as safe or effective.
25) Dr. Bart Billings, a retired Army Colonel and former military psychologist, refers to psychiatric drugs as a “chemical lobotomy” for soldiers.
The risk of major coronary events rose after radiation therapy by an average of 7.4 percent for every gray (Gy) of exposure to the heart, with no apparent threshold, according to Sarah Darby of the Clinical Trial Service Unit in Oxford, England, and colleagues.
The increase in risk was greatest in the first five years after radiotherapy but persisted for at least two decades, Darby and colleagues reported in the March 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
A new report says that ADHD drugs, such as ritalin and adderall that are used to help people with concentration is not a good idea, especially if it’s un-prescribed. The misuse of the drugs as a study aid is on the rise with college and high school students. A story that was published in Neurology showed that numbers are on the rise for students in both high school and college for misuse of two drugs, ritalin and adderall.
These two drugs are used to treat ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They are commonly known, especially on college campuses for study aids and helping college students pull long hours without sleep. The report cites in a national survey that 3% of high school students in the 12th grade are getting adderall with out a prescription. It also says that the diagnoses of ADHD and using prescriptions to treat the disorder has been increased greatly over the past two decades.
Doctors are saying kids are ADD way too much, everyone has attention problems, you get detracted. You can’t throw somebody under the bus and start giving them pills. Everybody can get their hands on adderall, I wouldn’t say a lot of kids are using them for productive purposes, they are abusing them so they can concentrate. Said WVU student Anthony Delligatti.
In the report, doctors said they’re worried the public may think these are dangerous drugs. He said they really are good when used the right way. Some side effects do include reduced appetite and disrupted sleep. Extreme side effects can include hallucinations. Some people do become addicted to the drug.
Diabetes Drugs Evaluated by FDA on Pancreatic Cancer Risk
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing unpublished findings by a group of academic researchers that suggest pre- cancerous cellular changes may be associated with Type 2 diabetes drugs called incretin mimetics, according to a statement today from the agency. The findings suggest the class of medicines may be linked to the risk of developing an inflammation of the pancreas tied to cancer and kidney failure that was previously reported in some of the medicines.
Drugs in clinical trial would qualify for approval if people at very early stages of the disease subtly improved their performance on memory or reasoning tests, even before they developed any obvious impairments. Companies would not have to show that the drugs improved daily, real-world functioning.
For more than a decade, the only way to get Alzheimer’s drugs to market was with studies showing that they improved the ability of patients not only to think and remember, but also to function day to day at activities like feeding, dressing or bathing themselves.
The proposed policy could also be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry and researchers. They have often felt stymied by regulations that left them uncertain of how to get drugs tested and approved for marketing to people early in the course of Alzheimer’s, when the medications are most likely to be useful.
Several studies are being planned for people at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and the proposed regulations should lead to even more clinical trials, said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, an Alzheimer’s researcher and professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine.
“There is more motivation now to invest in the field,” Dr. Doraiswamy said. But, he added, the proposal also comes with risks.
The F.D.A. would require companies to study the drugs after they were on the market to show they actually benefited patients. But these studies might not be randomized clinical trials and so would not be as rigorous as the studies that led to approval. Even with less rigorous studies, it might be hard to get the evidence, Dr. Doraiswamy said.
“A lot of companies drag their feet and never do a postmarketing study,” he said. Even if they do one, it may take years to find out whether a drug works. Meanwhile, millions of people may be taking it, at great expense.
The agency is trying to resolve a quandary with its new policy: How can you show a drug works if patients are so early in the course of the disease that they have no obvious deterioration in their cognitive abilities or daily functioning?
In draft guidelines to the industry last month, the agency outlined a way to resolve the problem by changing the criteria for drug approval. Those at a very early stage of the disease, with no obvious symptoms, could be studied with cognitive tests. Those with mild symptoms could have a combined test of function and cognition.
With the draft guidelines, the agency is soliciting comments from the public and industry and may make revisions, said a spokeswoman, Sandy Walsh. But, she added, “we are ready to move forward with the plan.”
The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week. But the purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price.
A small company, Siga Technologies, developed the drug in recent years. Whether the $463 million order is a boondoggle or a bargain depends on which expert is talking. The deal will transform the finances of Siga, which is controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, a billionaire financier, philanthropist and takeover specialist.
Smallpox was eradicated by 1980, and the only known remaining virus is in government laboratories in the United States and Russia. But there have long been rumors of renegade stocks that could be sprayed in airports or sports stadiums. Experts say the virus could also be re-engineered into existence in a sophisticated genetics lab.
As part of its efforts to prepare for a possible bioterrorism attack, the government is paying more than $200 for each course of treatment.
There are antibiotics in your organic apples and pears: Sign the petition to stop this common practice
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) You may not be aware of it, but every time you bite into that crisp, organic apple or succulent, organic pear, you could be exposing yourself to two different antibiotic drugs that the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA)’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has quietly allowed to be used on these two fruits since the organic program’s inception back in the 1990s. And unless the health-conscious community makes its collective voice heard on this important issue, the deceptive practice will continue to play a role in the growing antibiotic-resistance epidemic that is sweeping modern society.
Changes in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) for the criteria of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) could mean a high percentage of children currently diagnosed with autism, as per the DSM 4, could lose their diagnosis. Professionals are worried that the change in criteria will put many autistic children at considerable risk.
Age of Autism reported that Dr. Allan Frances, the psychiatrist who headed the development of the current DSM 4, is concerned that the new changes could cause children currently diagnosed with the condition to lose their health insurance, school placement, Medicaid and other services when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM5) is published by the American Psychiatric Association in May. 
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOUR CHILD
Due to a rise in the numbers of children currently diagnosed with autism, the cost to the government is considerable. According to Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, research has shown that the annual cost of autism had tripled to a whopping $126 billion in the USA and £34 billion in the UK last year.
Autism Speaks stated:
The costs of providing care for each person with autism affected by intellectual disability through his or her lifespan are $2.3 million in the U.S. and £1.5 million ($2.4 million) in the U.K. The lifetime costs of caring for individuals who are not impacted by intellectual disability are $1.4 million in the U.S. and £917,000 in the U.K. (equivalent to $1.46 million). 
Bob Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, announced in a press release last year that autism is a global public health crisis. He stated that the costs are staggering and will continue to rise as its prevalence continues to increase. He said:
We know that early diagnosis and treatment are critical, so it is imperative that the U.S. and governments around the world step up their commitment to helping people living with autism today. The investment we make now is essential to reducing the long-term costs of autism. 
Changing the criteria for diagnosis in the new DSM 5 is one way to cut costs, but it will severely affect the lives of thousands of families. Many children with autism will not only lose their diagnosis but their educational provisions, healthcare and relevant medical services, while their symptoms and needs will not change.
THE BIBLE YOUR CHILD’S DOCTOR MIGHT USE
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, “is used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric illnesses … and covers all categories of mental health disorders for both adults and children. The manual is non-theoretical and focused mostly on describing symptoms as well as statistics concerning which gender is most affected by the illness, the typical age of onset, the effects of treatment, and common treatment approaches.”
Currently, the medical profession relies heavily upon the criteria established in the DSM for diagnosing many neurological, psychological and medical conditions, including autism and ADHD. The current DSM 4 has five categories for diagnostic purposes. These are:
Axis I: Clinical Syndromes
This axis describes clinical symptoms that cause significant impairment. Disorders are grouped into different categories, including adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders.
Axis II: Personality and Mental Retardation
This axis describes long-term problems that are overlooked in the presence of Axis I disorders. Personality disorders cause significant problems in how a patient relates to the world and include antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. Mental retardation is characterized by intellectual impairment and deficits in other areas such as self-care and interpersonal skills.
Axis III: Medical Conditions
These include physical and medical conditions that may influence or worsen Axis 1 and Axis II disorders. Some examples may include HIV/AIDS and brain injuries.
Axis IV: Psychosocial and Environmental Problems
Any social or environmental problems that may impact Axis I or Axis II disorders are accounted for in this assessment. These may include such things as unemployment, relocation, divorce, or the death of a loved one.
Axis V: Global Assessment of Functioning
This axis allows the clinician to rate the client’s overall level of functioning. Based on this assessment, clinicians can better understand how the other four axes are interacting and the effect on the individual’s life. 
EVEN TEMPER TANTRUMS MIGHT BE CALLED A DISORDER
Many professionals feel that the medical establishment relies too heavily on the DSM’s criteria for diagnosing a patient. Dr. Allan Frances believes that the DSM should not be thought of as the diagnostic bible. He has stated that the new DSM 5 is heavily flawed and that many of the changes are unsafe and scientifically unsound. He believes that this could eventually lead to unreliable diagnoses and said:
DSM 5 got off to a bad start and was never able to establish sure footing. Its leaders initially articulated a premature and unrealizable goal – to produce a paradigm shift in psychiatry. Excessive ambition combined with disorganized execution led inevitably to many ill conceived and risky proposals. 
Dr. Frances said that more than fifty mental health professional associations have heavily criticized the changes, asking for an outside review to be carried out. This request is to provide an independent judgement of the DSM 5’s supporting evidence and to evaluate the balance between its risks and benefits. He says that other professionals and organizations have expressed widespread astonishment over recent decisions, which are said to lack scientific support and defy common sense.
In his article, he listed the ten worst changes. These include temper tantrums, which could soon be diagnosed as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder and the new changes for autism, which Dr. Frances says will result in lowered rates of diagnosis.
The new criteria for autism estimated by the DSM 5 work group is set to lower the rates of autism diagnosis by ten percent. However, many outside research groups estimate that this decreased rate of diagnosis could be as high as fifty percent. Dr. Frances believes that the swing is heavily weighted in favor of psychiatry and therefore will benefit the pharmaceutical industry.
THE NEW AUTISM
Many people believe that autism is over diagnosed and will welcome the new changes. Others believe that the rates have risen due to a better understanding of the condition. An article written by Reuters has outlined the questions people are asking regarding the spike in the prevalence of autism and related disorders. Some people question if the increase is real or if the rise was due to parents, teachers, and even health care providers who are better able to identify symptoms of autism in children who would not have received the diagnosis a generation ago.
The Reuters article suggested that some change in the environment might be responsible and said, “In recent years, suspicion has focused on everything from mercury, a known neurotoxin in air and food, to the increasing age of new mothers and fathers.” 
Psychologist and specialist in autism Lisa Blakemore-Brown believes that vaccines are responsible for the rise and outlined an example of a case in the British Medical Journal of a vaccine-damaged child that she had worked with:
If a group of people collapse after eating, say, Lemon Sole, in a particular restaurant, it would be ludicrous for those responsible to wave a hand over the problem saying that millions of people eat Lemon Sole every day and there are no problems. Health and Safety officials will get straight to the point of the issue and look at the fish in the restaurant, look at the individuals, test findings in the lab.
As hundreds of parents have found their children have reacted adversely to vaccines, some cases have led to the ‘new variant autism,’ including loss of communication skills, motor impairments and bowel problems. Is it not these cases the government should be looking at for answers?
The incidence of this particular tapestry of autism is indisputable. This is not related to increased recognition of autism. This type of autism is unusual and baffling to education and health professionals. In one of my cases, of very obvious and indisputable reaction to pertussis vaccine, the child in question has been found to have Kawasaki disease, her own immune system attacking itself. She presents as having Asperger’s Syndrome. There is no autism in the family, but the baby had allergies prior to the vaccine. It is scientific examination of cases like this which will enable us to ultimately put measures in place to reassure the public.
Blanket refusal to look at the real issues and prevention of individuals exercising choice seems like a dangerous policy, especially just before an election. 
So, why have these changes taken place?
It is very convenient for changes to be made in the criteria of autism diagnosis, especially at a time when the figures are reported by the CDC to be at an all time high. The CDC reports that, according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, approximately 1 in 88 children have been identified to be suffering from an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 
These changes become even more interesting, especially when you consider that at the same time as the criteria for autism embarks on an overhaul, a new report referencing a recent study published in the Polish journal Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis identifies the intensifying link between mercury toxicity and ASD.
BUT I THOUGHT VACCINES NO LONGER CONTAIN MERCURY?
Natural News shared information based on a report entitled “Evidence of Parallels Between Mercury Intoxication and the Brain Pathology in Autism,” identifying a shocking 20 parallels between mercury poisoning and autism. According to Natural News, the study from the Institute of Chronic Illnesses in Maryland has identified nearly two dozen metabolic and systemic changes that occur inside the body as a result of mercury intoxication, including inflammation of the brain, intracellular degeneration, mitochondrial dysfunction, decreased blood flow to the brain, and pathological changes of blood vessels. 
These are the very same changes that commonly occur in children with ASD. Many of these children have been vaccinated with vaccinations containing mercury in the form of thimerosal.
Thimerosal is a preservative that is 49.6% ethyl mercury. According to Blakemore-Brown, it is a highly toxic poison that is both genotoxic and neurotoxic. It collects in the brain and organs such as the kidneys and interferes with our DNA, which can affect our brain and immune system. She attributes the huge increase in the incidence in autism to thimerosal in vaccinations. 
Over the years, there has been a fierce debate as to whether childhood vaccinations still contain the preservative thimerosal because the preservative was believed to have been completely removed. Sadly, this never happened and many vaccines do still contain mercury, albeit at a reduced level.  The FDA was forced to admit in court recently that the preservative is still routinely used in childhood vaccines. Natural News reported:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that, contrary to this widely-held belief, thimerosal is actually still present in many batch vaccines, including in the annual influenza vaccine that is now administered to children as young as six months old. 
There appears to be yet another cover up going on. It is very convenient for the criteria for autism to suddenly be changed, especially when this change has the potential to lower the level of diagnosed cases of autism. It is even more convenient for this to happen when the FDA has been forced to admit that childhood vaccines still contain thimerosal, just when a new study identifies a shocking twenty parallels between mercury poisoning and autism.
By shifting the goalposts, the governments can deny that the mercury in vaccines is causing a rise in autism and lower the rates being diagnosed all at the same time. Very clever move, isn’t it? Not only that, but changes to the new DSM 5 could lead to many of our autistic children being diagnosed as having a mental illness and be administered psychiatric drugs as a result. While this is a win-win situation for the government and the pharmaceutical industry, our children will be the sacrifice.
Dozens of bereaved parents whose children died from pain-medication overdoses told state legislators Monday that the California Medical Board is failing to protect the public from so-called “dirty doctors” who overprescribe addictive drugs, especially to young adults.
Their reports of a growing epidemic in California mirror national statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which revealed new data recently showing that deaths due to pain medicine overdoses have increased for the 11th year in a row.
The testimony from grieving mothers and fathers, each displaying a framed photograph of their lost loved one, came during a routine review of the California Medical Board in a Joint Oversight Hearing of the state Legislature.
Every 10 years, the Legislature’s business and professions committees in the Senate and Assembly must review the performance of the board and approve its continued existence. The process provides an opportunity for the public to weigh in.
On Monday, Bradley V. DeHaven of Granite Bay described himself to the committee as “one of the blessed ones here – my son is still alive.”
“This is not a Republican issue, or a Democratic issue, or an Independent Party issue,” DeHaven said during a rally later outside the Capitol. “This is everyone’s issue.”
Other parents joined DeHaven in describing the problem as widespread, particularly in suburban areas. Their complaints to the medical board about doctors writing pain prescriptions for their children seemed to take years for the board to investigate, they said.
“The drug-seeking addicts know exactly which doctors to go to and where to go – and so does our medical board,” said Susan Klimusko, a nurse from Simi Valley whose son died of an overdose. “We need action.”
Klimusko said the pain-medication habit is particularly hard to break because OxyContin, a widely prescribed drug, and other opioids are very similar to heroin. She said statistics show only 11 percent of users 27 and older are able to overcome an addiction.
Several parents joined the nonprofit advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog in urging that the current medical board be disbanded – and a new one appointed in its place.
One of the problems with the board is that it consists largely of physicians, critics said. Of the current 15 members, eight are physicians or surgeons and seven are public members.
“The medical board does nothing to police its own profession,” said James Kennedy, a parent who lost a son to an overdose. “It’s like a fox guarding the henhouse. The medical board needs to be removed.”
Pediatricians scolded for over-prescribing antibiotics for children’s ear infections
Monday, March 11, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) With antibiotic resistance on the rise, many in the medical community are finally coming to grips with the fact that something needs to change, and soon, if we are to avoid a complete public health apocalypse. And to help move this change along, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidelines chastising doctors for over-prescribing antibiotics, particularly among children with common ear infections, as this is a primary cause of the antibiotic-resistant superbug epidemic we currently face.
In its issuance, AAP advises doctors to basically stop handing out antibiotics like candy, noting that roughly 70 percent of all children who develop ear infections naturally overcome them within about two or three days, and about 80 percent overcome them in about a week. Except in cases involving extreme symptoms, most children with ear infections simply need to get more rest, drink lots of water, and eat nutrient-dense foods that will help boost their immune systems.
According to Dr. Richard Rosenfeld from the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, who helped write the new guidelines, many doctors are also failing to properly identify ear infections in the first place before prescribing antibiotics. If a child’s eardrum is not visibly bulging, for instance, he or she may not even have an actual ear infection, or at least not the bacterial type that would in any way respond to antibiotic treatment.
“There are dozens of reasons an ear can hurt. In this guideline, we say, ‘Listen, if you’re not sure of the diagnosis, don’t even think about giving an antibiotic. Please, don’t even think about it,'” Dr. Rosenfeld is quoted as saying by NPR. “If [the eardrum] pushed outward — looks like it wants to pop — that is a very, very accurate sign of an ear infection.”
The erectile dysfunction drug commonly known as Viagra is no help against heart failure and should not be taken for it, according to research out Monday that contradicts previous, smaller studies.
Some early research had suggested the drug, which can increase blood flow to other parts of the body, might offer a benefit to people with diastolic heart failure in which the heart’s lower chambers stiffen and cannot pump blood well, causing shortness of breath.
But the randomized study of 216 patients at 26 sites in North America showed that the drug, known as sildenafil, was no better than a placebo at improving exercise capability or clinical symptoms of heart disease.
Also, more patients taking the drug experienced serious adverse events than those who were given a placebo, leading researchers to urge doctors to stop prescribing it as an off-label treatment for people with heart disease.
“The results of our study were surprising and disappointing,” said the study’s lead author Margaret Redfield, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“There was a lot of anticipation around this study based on other research, and we were hoping to find something that would help these patients, as there are currently few options for treatment.”
The median age of the patients studied was 69, and nearly half (48 percent) were women. The patients were tested for cardiovascular improvements after 24 weeks, but none could be seen.
During the study period, adverse events such as flushing and low blood pressure occurred more often in patients on sildenafil than in those on the placebo.
Also, six people in sildenafil group died before the end of the study, while there were no deaths in the placebo section.
SATURDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) — Combining the vitamin niacin with a cholesterol-lowering statin drug appears to offer patients no benefit and may also increase side effects, a new study indicates.
It’s a disappointing result from the largest-ever study of niacin for heart patients, which involved almost 26,000 people.
In the study, patients who added the B-vitamin to the statin drug Zocor saw no added benefit in terms of reductions in heart-related death, non-fatal heart attack, stroke, or the need for angioplasty or bypass surgeries.
The study also found that people taking niacin had more incidents of bleeding and/or infections than those who were taking an inactive placebo, according to a team reporting Saturday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in San Francisco.
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