Health News You Can Use: March 2014

Here are some Health News You Can Use Headlines for March 2014, courtesy of “Internal Medicine News”


New Knee Arthritis Guidelines from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International:

The Society now looks favorably on a knee steroid injection as a means to significantly decrease short term pain, and more so than hyaluronic acid injections. The use of hyaluronic acid injections may have long term benefits, but we still aren’t sure. The society also recommended bio mechanical knee interventions, exercise, weight management, Tylenol, warm soaks in mineral rich water, canes, topical capsaicin, Cymbalta and NSDAIDS [for example  Naproxen] when appropriate. By bio-mechanical support, they mean foot orthotics and knee supports. They also support a topical use of an NSAID.


Using Zinc for Colds:

Zinc is everywhere. Sunblocks, cold remedies, etc… Does it work? Randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled studies were evaluated recently in a “Cochrane Review”. These studies looked at Zinc for 5 days to treat a cold or for 5 months to prevent a cold. Sixteen therapeutic trials and two preventive trials were looked at by the researchers. Zinc was found to reduce how long you have a hold, but doesn’t make the symptoms any better. Still, less time being sick does mean something! The dose needed was 75 mg/day in a lozenge form. In terms or prevention……sorry. Doesn’t seem to work.



Testosterone Replacement: More Harm then Good?

Low T syndrome….we all bought into it. Lots of medical articles and major pushes on direct to consumer advertising. Happy scenes, gray hair, loving affection. Life is beautiful. Now the FDA is investigating testosterone’s cardiovascular risks. Two studies have now been published, observational studies, that reported an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and death. The risk of a heart attack doubles within 90 days of starting testosterone in men 65 and older, and tripled in younger men who had a  history of heart disease.  The increased risk was seen in men that had coronary artery disease as well as in men who did not have coronary artery disease.


New Hot Flash Therapy Available:

The FDA has approved “Brisdelle 7.5 mg” as a non-hormonal option to treat hot flashes, or “vasomotor symptoms” of menopause. Since this drug works via a non-hormonal manner, it cannot be combined with any other medicines that increase the level of serotonin, or affect the metabolism of serotonin, or a fatal “serotonin syndrome” can occur.  This drug is of a class known as “SSRI’s” and its real name is Paroxetine also known as “Paxil”.  As usual, there is a whole list of “things to watch out for” while on this drug, so check with your Internist or Gynecologist before considering.


A New Treatment for Hepatitis C?

A new experimental drug developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb called “Daclatasvir”, which works by in inhibiting a “non structural protein called NS5A”, when combined with “Sovaldi” [which inhibitis RNA polymerase that Hep C uses to replicate its RNA] was able to achieve a greater than 90% sustained virologic response in patients with chronic Hepatitis C. This once a day oral treatment also worked on patients who had failed to respond to or developed resistance to protease inhibitor therapy [“telaprevir and boceprevir]. It was effective against all types of Hep C, meaning types 1, 1a,  2 and 3, as well as those with the “non-CC IL28B” genotype.



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