Friday December 13, 2019

Injecting Drugs May up Bacterial Heart Infections: Study

increase in the risk of infective endocarditis is consistent with the findings of other studies, but the observed timing of the increase was novel, the team said

0
//
Heart rate
Heart rate, Flickr

People who inject drugs may have a significant increase in the risk of infective endocarditis, a serious infection of the lining of the heart, possibly linked to increasing use of the opioid hydromorphone, a new study suggests.

“We observed a substantial increase in the risk of infective endocarditis among people who inject drugs, which is associated with hydromorphone’s increasing share of the prescription opioid market,” said researchers, including first author Matthew Weir from Western University, London, Ontario.

For the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers looked at Ontario data on drug users from linked health administrative databases between April 2006 and September 2015.

There were 60,529 admissions to hospital of people who inject drugs and, of these, 733 had infective endocarditis linked to injecting drugs.

Although admission rates for people who inject drugs were stable over the study period, the risk of infective endocarditis increased from 13.4 admissions every three months (fourth quarter 2011) to 35.1 admissions every three months in the period afterwards.

Heart Disease
Even low exposure to arsenic, lead may up heart disease risk. Pixabay

Whereas the percentage of opioid prescriptions attributed to controlled-release oxycodone declined rapidly when it was removed from the market by its manufacturer in the fourth quarter of 2011, hydromorphone prescriptions increased from 16 per cent at the start of the study to 53 per cent by the end, the researcher said.

The team expected that an increase in risk of infective endocarditis would occur when controlled-release oxycodone was removed from the Canadian market; however, they found that the rise began before removal.

“Although our observations do not support our hypothesis that the loss of controlled-release oxycodone increased the use of hydromorphone, they do support our suspicion that hydromorphone may be playing a role in the increasing risk of infective endocarditis,” said co-author Michael Silverman from the varsity.

Also Read- Apple Rushes to Fix a Flaw in its FaceTime Software

The increase in the risk of infective endocarditis is consistent with the findings of other studies, but the observed timing of the increase was novel, the team said.

“Both the rise in this severe complication of injection drug use and the possible association with hydromorphone require further study,” the authors noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Research Finds That Drug Can Curb Dementia’s Delusions

About 8 million Americans have dementia, and studies suggest that up to 30% of them develop psychosis.

0
Television actor Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell talks about Drugs
Television actor Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell pose with a placard in front of Downing Street ahead of a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, Britain. VOA

A drug that curbs delusions in Parkinson’s patients did the same for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in a study that was stopped early because the benefit seemed clear.

If regulators agree, the drug could become the first treatment specifically for dementia-related psychosis and the first new medicine for Alzheimer’s in nearly two decades. It targets some of the most troubling symptoms that patients and caregivers face — hallucinations that often lead to anxiety, aggression, and physical and verbal abuse.

Results were disclosed Wednesday at a conference in San Diego.

Unmet need for treatment

“This would be a very important advance,” said one independent expert, Dr. Howard Fillit, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Although the field is focused on finding a cure for dementia and preventing future cases, “there is a huge unmet need for better treatment” for those who have it now, said Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer.

The drug is pimavanserin, a daily pill sold as Nuplazid by Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. It was approved for Parkinson’s-related psychosis in 2016 and is thought to work by blocking a brain chemical that seems to spur delusions.

Dementia Drugs
Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Pixabay

About 8 million Americans have dementia, and studies suggest that up to 30% of them develop psychosis.

“It’s terrifying,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cummings of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. “You believe that people might be trying to hurt you. You believe that people are stealing from you. You believe that your spouse is unfaithful to you. Those are the three most common false beliefs.”

How the study worked

He consults for Acadia and helped lead the study, which included about 400 people with dementia and psychosis. All were given a low dose of the drug for three months, and those who seemed to respond or benefit were then split into two groups. Half continued on the drug and the others were given dummy pills for six months or until they had a relapse or worsening of symptoms. Neither the patients nor their doctors knew who was getting what.

Independent monitors stopped the study when they saw that those on dummy pills were more than twice as likely as those on the drug to relapse or worsen — 28% versus nearly 13%.

There were relatively few serious side effects — 5% in the drug group and 4% in the others. Headaches and urinary tract infections were more common among those on the drug. Two deaths occurred, but study leaders said neither was related to the drug.

The drug could become the first treatment for dementia
The drug could become the first treatment specifically for dementia-related psychosis. Pixabay

Carrillo said the study was small, but the drug’s effect seemed large, and it’s not known whether the federal Food and Drug Administration would want more evidence to approve a new use.

Risk of death

Current anti-psychotic medicines have some major drawbacks and are not approved for dementia patients.

“They’re often used off label because we have very few other options,” Fillit said.

ALSO READ: Researchers Associate Social Media Use to Eating Disorder in Adolescents

All carry warnings that they can raise the risk of death in elderly patients, as does Nuplazid.

Cost could be an issue — about $3,000 a month. What patients pay can vary depending on insurance coverage. (VOA)