Thursday March 21, 2019

Potential generic drugs used for heart-disease may treat Ebola

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New York: Generic drugs used to treat heart diseases also have the potential to bolster the immune systems of patients with Ebola virus and some other life-threatening illnesses, research has found.

Unlike other medications in development for Ebola, which attack the virus, statins and angiotensin receptor blockers, typically used for heart disease, work on the host response, or a person’s biological reaction to the virus, said a lead study, authored by  David Fedson, retired professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia in the US.

“The statin or angiotensin receptor blocker combination was found to help improve survival in 100 Ebola patients treated in Sierra Leone”, Fedson said. “This approach to Ebola treatment has two advantages,” he added.

According to him, the first advantage is that it uses inexpensive generic drugs that are widely available in any country with a basic healthcare system, and most physicians who treat patients with cardiovascular diseases are familiar with these medications.  Second, because this strategy targets the host response to infection, these drugs might be used to treat patients with any form of acute infectious disease in which a failure to overcome endothelial dysfunction could lead to multi-organ failure and death, Fedson noted.

In a pilot study, patients were given the drugs atorvastatin (40 mg/day) and irbesartan (150 mg/day) at several hospitals in West Africa.

The researchers found rapid clinical improvement in most patients.

Specifically, the drugs stabilise or restore the integrity of endothelial cells lining the blood vessels.

Endothelial cell dysfunction has been a central feature of human Ebola virus disease, leading to severe fluid and mineral losses, Fedson explained.

The findings appeared in ‘mBio’, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

(IANS)

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Study Warns Patients That Now Drugs Contain Inactive Ingredient

Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients

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FILE - Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients. VOA

A new study is warning patients that if they feel worse after taking a new medication, it might not be because of the drug but rather an inactive ingredient in it.

The report published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine says medications often contain “inactive” ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or gastrointestinal reactions in people sensitive to specific compounds.

Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients.

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Drugs can contain inactive compounds like gluten, lactose or specific dyes that can cause a reaction in certain patients. Pixabay

“There’s a tremendous underappreciation of the potential impact that inactive ingredients may have,” said Dr. Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist who spurred the research after his celiac patient’s trouble with medication that contained gluten as an inactive compound.

The study analyzed data on inactive ingredients from a database of more than 42,000 prescription and over-the-counter medicines. It found that an average pill contains eight inactive ingredients, but some contain 20 or even more.

ALSO READ: Longer Exposure to PM2.5 Raises Risk of Diabetes: Study

While most of the worrisome ingredients are in small amounts in most medications, the researchers pointed out that 39 percent of seniors take at least five prescription medicines daily, so even the tiniest amount can add up.

Drug manufacturers already put warnings on medications that contain refined peanut oil. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a proposal that recommends adding gluten information to drug labels. (VOA)