Study: Vitamin B may decrease kidney function in diabetic nephropathy patients
NEW YORK Patients with a kidney disease caused by diabetes that receive high-dose vitamin B therapy are more likely to have decreased kidney function and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study found.
Published in the Apr. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Andrew House, M.D., of the University of Western Ontario, and J. David Spence, M.D., of the Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, and colleagues conducted a study to examine whether B-vitamin therapy would slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy and prevent vascular events in 238 patients with Type 1 or 2 diabetes. Data taken from patients in the randomized, placebo-controlled trial between May 2001 and May 2007 found the measure of kidney function — radionuclide glomerular filtration rate, or GFR — rapidly decreased in those who consumed vitamin B6 and B12, between baseline and 36 months, compared with the placebo group. Additionally, the researchers found that risk of such cardiovascular events as heart attack, stroke, revascularization, and all-cause mortality, doubled in the B-vitamin group.
Meanwhile, House, Spence and colleagues also added that they tested the patients’ levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid found in blood plasma. While high levels of homocysteine are more likely to cause heart attack and other diseases, the researchers noted that participants in the B-vitamin group had an average decrease while participants in the placebo group had an average increase. This result, the authors concluded, should not necessarily be a guide for those interested in testing this theory outside of a clinical trial.
"Given the recent large-scale clinical trials showing no treatment benefit, and our trial demonstrating harm, it would be prudent to discourage the use of high-dose B vitamins as a homocysteine-lowering strategy outside the framework of properly conducted clinical research," the authors concluded.
Regulators express concerns over cargo thefts
SILVER SPRING, Md. An increase in cargo thefts of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and other products has regulators worried, according to a letter sent to several companies Wednesday.
Michael Chappell, acting assistant commissioner for regulatory affairs at the Food and Drug Administration, wrote in the letter that agency was “very concerned” about the increase in cargo and warehouse thefts of drugs, vaccines, medical devices and infant formula.
“These crimes threaten the public health because product that has left the legitimate supply chain poses potential safety risks to consumers,” Chappell wrote.
The letter comes in the wake of a sophisticated theft of $75 million in drugs from an Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Conn. The agency said it hoped the letter would encourage companies to review and strengthen security.
New anti-meth campaign targets Native American community
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske on Wednesday unveiled a new anti-methamphetamine ad campaign that launched in New Mexico and in 14 other states with the largest Native American populations.
According to national data, meth use rates for American Indian/Alaska Native populations remain among the highest of any ethnicity — almost two times higher than other groups, according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Specifically, American Indians or Alaska Natives almost are twice as likely to have used meth in the past year than whites (1.1% vs. 0.6%) or Hispanics (1.1% vs. 0.6%), and approximately five times more likely to have used meth than African Americans (1.1% vs. 0.2%).
“The data about methamphetamine abuse in the Native American community are troubling,” Kerlikowske said. “This ad campaign will supplement the important work for prevention and treatment already being done by the Native American community, local prevention groups, law enforcement, and treatment providers.”
The Native American Anti-Meth Campaign, in its third year coordinated by ONDCP’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, is the only national anti-meth advertising campaign tailored to reach both youth and adults in Indian Country and Alaska Native lands. The campaign includes TV commercials, print and radio ads, and billboard advertising in 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Utah. The ads will run until August, and Native groups and others will be able to download and use the ads as free PSAs in their local communities.
“This ad campaign is very important to Indian Country,” stated Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary — Indian affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior. “Drug abuse is always a disturbing issue to confront for any community, and methamphetamine abuse is something we need to address with an aggressive approach.”