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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: April 20, 2016

Low-Dose Aspirin May Boost Cancer Survival: Study

Aspirin also carries risks, also, such as stomach bleeding, so use under a doctor's advice Read More...

Researchers have found after a review of 47 studies that, on average, colon cancer patients who took a daily low-dose (81 mg) aspirin were about 25 percent less likely to die of the disease, compared to those who did not use aspirin. When the researchers combined the results of 11 studies of colon cancer patients, aspirin use was linked to a 24 percent lower risk of death from the disease. However, experts stressed that the study does not prove aspirin can help treat the cancers, as it’s difficult to account for differences between aspirin users and non-users; only a well-controlled and adequately sized clinical trial could do that.

More Data That Opdivo Extends Survival in Advanced Skin Cancer

In the past, patients with advanced melanoma survived on average six months Read More…

It used to be, not too long ago, that a diagnosis of advanced skin cancer (malignant melanoma) offered little hope. However, new treatments are changing this outlook. Opdivo (nivolumab), a newer drug treatment for advanced melanoma is adding months in the way of survival for some skin cancer patients. In a new report, a follow-up of 107 patients showed that one year after starting Opdivo treatment, 65 percent of patients were still alive. After 48 months, survival dropped to 35 percent. Opdivo was also compared to another skin cancer treatment, Yervoy (ipilimumab). With Yervoy, 21 percent of patients were still alive a full decade after treatment. These two drugs can be combined for even greater results.

First-Line Diabetes Treatment May Lower Risk of Cancer Death

Having type 2 diabetes can raise a postmenopausal woman’s risk of cancer Read More...

Metformin is a widely used and first-line medication used to help control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. Last week, a study was released that details more possible benefits with metformin. Data was gathered from the Women's Health Initiative in 146,000 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79 with type 2 diabetes. The study found the odds of dying from cancer in women with type 2 diabetes was about 45 percent higher than in women without diabetes. But, in women diagnosed with cancer who also took metformin for their diabetes, the risk was lowered to that of women without diabetes.

Over-the-Counter Reflux Drugs Could Damage Kidney

For occasional heartburn, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are not appropriate Read More...

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a commonly used class of medication and include prescription and over-the-counter drugs (OTC) such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, often used for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although researchers cannot prove cause and effect, a study suggests these drugs may be linked with kidney disease. Researchers looked at over 190,000 medical records of patients who took a PPI or H2-blockers, like OTC Zantac, Pepcid and Tagamet. Over five years, 15 percent of PPI users were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, versus 11 percent of those on H2-blockers. After the researchers weighed other factors, PPI users still had a 28 percent greater risk of kidney disease.

Common Antihistamines May Worsen Restless Legs Syndrome

Nearly 12 million people in the United States have restless legs syndrome Read More...

With restless legs syndrome (RLS), people have uncomfortable leg sensations and strong urges to move their legs, which can be painful and disrupt sleep. New research is suggesting that sedative antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may worsen restless legs syndrome, and in turn further disrupt sleep. Nonsedating antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine) or Claritin (loratadine) may not cause this problem as they are less likely to travel through the brain. Patients with RLS and seasonal allergies may prefer to use an OTC nasal allergy spray like Flonase (fluticasone) or Nasacort Allergy (triamcinolone).