PHARMACY

Lilly: Study shows Cymbalta ‘signficantly’ reduces back pain

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS A pain drug made by Eli Lilly & Co. “significantly” reduced chronic low back pain compared with placebo, according to a study announced Wednesday by Lilly.

The double-blind study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in San Antonio, enrolled 401 patients over a 12-week period who took 60-mg of Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) once a day. Patients taking Cymbalta experienced a statistically significant reduction in back pain, measured by the Brief Pain Inventory, compared with the placebo group.

“Chronic low back pain affects a significant number of people,” lead study author and Lilly Research Laboratories neurologist Vladimir Skljarevski stated. “In fact, research suggests that the incidence of the condition may be as high as 48%.”

Forty-one patients – 30 from the study group and 11 from the placebo group – had to drop out of the study due to adverse side effects, which most commonly included nausea, headache, dry mouth, constipation and dizziness.

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‘Silent strokes’ linked to kidney failure in diabetics

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Tiny areas of brain damage caused by injury to small blood vessels can signal an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney failure, according to a new study by Japanese researchers.

Publishing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers led by Takashi Uzu of the Shiga University School of Medicine in Otsu, Japan, included 608 patients with Type 2 diabetes, all initially free of symptomatic stroke, heart disease or kidney disease.

Using magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain, the researchers found that 29% of the patients had the small areas of brain damage, known as silent cerebral infarction or “silent stroke.” A long-term follow-up of the patients found that those with SCI had higher risks of progressive kidney disease, and compared with those who had normal MRI scans, patients with SCI were about 2.5 times more likely to die or develop end-stage kidney disease.

“Silent cerebral infarction may be a new marker to identify patients who are at risk for declining kidney function,” Uzu said in a statement.

Uzu said that small amounts of the protein albumin present in the urine – a condition known as microalbuminuria – are the most important market to predict the progression of kidney disease in diabetics, but decreased kidney function without microalbuminuria is common in those with Type 2 diabetes. According to the new study, diabetics with SCI were more likely to develop serious kidney disease regardless of the protein condition.

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Decision Resources: Spiriva to remain clinical gold standard as COPD treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. A drug from Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer will retain Decision Resources’ status as a gold standard of treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease through 2018, according to a report released by the market research firm Tuesday.

While some COPD drugs in development held promise, they lacked the same efficacy, safety and tolerability and delivery features of Spiriva (tiotropium bromide), according to the report, titled “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Opportunity Exists for Combination Therapies that Offer Improved Convenience and Outcomes.”

“Our survey of primary care physicians indicates that a drug’s effect on quality of life improvement is the attribute that most influences PCPs’ prescribing decisions in moderate to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Decision Resources analyst Amy Whiting said.

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