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Weekly Drug News Round Up - November 14, 2012

No Need to Fast Before Routine Cholesterol Check

Fasting is still needed for blood sugar tests - so check with your doctor Read More...

Millions of patients take cholesterol-lowering medications such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) or simvastatin (Zocor) and routinely undergo blood cholesterol tests that require a nine to twelve hour fasting period. A new study has found that fasting may not be necessary for screening. Researchers, who published the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reviewed laboratory data on cholesterol tests from over 200,000 patients. Overall, levels of total and HDL (good) cholesterol varied less than 2 percent, levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol varied less than 10 percent, but levels of triglycerides varied roughly 20 percent, with different fasting times.

Warfarin Patients Using SSRIs Should Be Monitored for Bleeding

Patients should consult with MD about extra monitoring during antidepressant use Read More...

Patients who take a common class of antidepressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and also use the blood thinner warfarin may be at a greater risk for bleeding. A study of over 9,200 patients suggests that the SSRIs - which include Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft - may elevate the bleeding risk in patients on warfarin. SSRIs may lower platelet aggregation and increase bleeding risk by inhibiting platelet serotonin. Both warfarin and SSRIs have a bleeding risk on their own, but the overallrisk is low. Patients should not stop taking their warfarin or SSRI unless recommended by their physician.

Aspirin May Lower Risk of Stroke After Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Each year about 300,000 hip replacements are performed in the U.S. Read More...

In a study of primarily elderly, white females, investigators compared more than 66,000 people in Denmark who had total hip replacement to nearly 200,000 people who did not have the procedure. Investigators found that patients had a 4.4-fold increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and a 4.7-fold increased risk of ischemic stroke during the two weeks after surgery, compared to people in the general population, and the risk of stroke stayed higher for weeks after surgery. The researchers also found that taking aspirin lowered the risk of stroke by as much as 70 percent in this population.

Americans Need Education About Antibiotic Resistance

New poll reveals 30 percent of Americans erroneously believe antibiotics can fight the cold or flu virus Read More...

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to withstand the antimicrobial power of antibiotics. A new poll shows that a large proportion of Americans have misperceptions about antibiotic resistance and how antibiotics work. Although most Americans know that antibiotics are effective for treating bacterial infections, more than a third also erroneously believe the drugs can fight viral infections such as the common cold or the flu. Many respondents also did not know that unnecessary use of antibiotics builds resistance in the bacteria, not in the person using it, and therefore can negatively affect the community-at-large who are exposed to the resistant bacteria.

World Diabetes Day: Know Your Risk Factors for Diabetes Development

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day, sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation Read More...

Roughly 366 million people have diabetes worldwide, and that number is predicted to rise to 552 million by 2030. Most of these people have type 2 diabetes, a preventable form of diabetes that occurs when the body becomes insulin-resistant and blood sugar levels rise. Many people may not know they have diabetes and World Diabetes Day is meant to raise awareness. A sedentary lifestyle and being overweight have been linked to the development of most cases of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be managed with a healthy diet, losing weight and regular exercise, along with oral diabetes medications, and possibly insulin.