HEALTH

Nicotine gum helps pregnant women decrease amount of smoking, research says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Although nicotine gum does not necessarily increase quit rates among pregnant women, the non-prescription smoking cessation product does help reduce the amount of smoking to the point that use of nicotine gum increased birth weight and gestational age, two key parameters in predicting neonatal wellbeing, new research published last week in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology has found.

The study tracked pregnant women who smoked daily and received individualized behavioral counseling and random assignment to a 6-week treatment with 2-mg nicotine gum or placebo followed by a 6-week taper period. Women who did not quit smoking were instructed to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by substituting with gum.

Using a completer analysis, nicotine gum significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day and cotinine concentration. Birth weights were significantly greater with nicotine gum compared with placebo. Gestational age was also greater with nicotine-replacement therapy than with placebo, the research found.

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CHPA initiates safety study into dosing, efficacy of children’s cough-cold medicines

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Following an all-day public meeting Thursday held by the Food and Drug Administration regarding the appropriateness of marketing cough-cold products with scant pediatric data supporting safety and efficacy for children under the age of six, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced its progress in delivering safety and efficacy clinical trials for this category.

To date, CHPA has put together a comprehensive efficacy and safety program for children age two to under 12, including pharmacokinetic studies to confirm the dosing for the eight most commonly used OTC oral cough and cold ingredients. Once these dosing studies are finalized, CHPA plans to begin research on revalidating the effectiveness of these medicines.

In addition, CHPA stated it would continue to collect and review all available safety data around these medicines. “A comprehensive safety review in 2007 and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the majority of adverse events associated with OTC oral pediatric cough and cold medicines are a direct result of accidental ingestion,” noted Linda Suydam, CHPA president. “Reducing these preventable errors is the cornerstone of CHPA’s national educational program.”

CHPA will also continue its national education program that focuses on the root causes of adverse events and speaks directly to parents, day care providers, healthcare providers and other caregivers.

CHPA is partnering with a number of organizations in these efforts, including the American Pharmacists Association and the American Association of Family Physicians.

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Vitamin C may impact efficacy of certain cancer drugs, journal says

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA Vitamin C may interfere with the efficacy of several cancer drugs in mice, the journal Cancer Research reported Wednesday, including doxorubicin, cisplatin, vincristine, methotrexate and imatinib.

“These results support the hypothesis that vitamin C supplementation during cancer treatment may detrimentally affect therapeutic response,” the authors concluded.

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