Shruti brings to you some highlights from current pharma and clinical research news, views and data.
Calcium Supplements May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Attack.
Research data published in the online in the BMJ suggests that "Calcium supplements are a good way to keep your bones strong, but, they could lead to an increased risk for heart attack."
Combined results from 11 randomized controlled trials of calcium supplements...involving more than 12,000 patients." The researchers "found a 31% increase in the risk of heart attack and smaller, non-significant increases in the risk of stroke and death." Although "equal numbers of women received calcium or placebo, 143 of those who received calcium suffered a heart attack, compared to 111 who received a placebo."
The researchers said they excluded from their analysis studies that compared coadministered calcium and vitamin D supplements with placebo. The findings may not be applicable to those supplements. The reason for the increased risk of heart attack is not clear, but it is thought the extra calcium circulating in the blood could lead to a hardening of the arteries."
Earlier studies did not find a similar risk when people get calcium through eating foods rich in the mineral, which suggests that supplements may be an independent risk factor. These "findings...have some experts questioning whether calcium supplements should be used as widely as they are now, especially by elderly women, who suffer disproportionately from both heart disease and osteoporosis."
"Given the modest benefits of calcium supplements on bone density and fracture prevention, a reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in the management of osteoporosis is warranted," researchers mentioned online in the British Medical Journal.
Starting HIV Therapy Earlier May Help Reduce Mortality Risk, Thwart TB Infection.
The World Health Organization recommends patients start antiretroviral therapy when their CD4+ count drops to 350," as a "higher CD4+ count means greater infection-fighting ability because the immune system hasn't yet been depressed by the virus."
A new paper appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine is partly responsible for that guideline, considering it found that "early treatment for HIV cuts patients' risk of death." Researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical College also found that earlier treatment "reduces the likelihood of tuberculosis, a leading cause of death among HIV patients."
Before reaching that conclusion, investigators "enrolled 816 asymptomatic" Haitians "with HIV and CD4 cell counts of between 200 and 350 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Half were started on triple-drug treatment within two weeks of enrollment; the 'standard treatment' group did not start therapy until their CD4 count fell to 200 or they developed an AIDS-defining illness." In short, the researchers found that "early treatment reduced the risk of death by 75% and the rate of new tuberculosis diagnoses by half."
http://www.latimes.com/news/health/boostershots/la-heb-calcium-supplements-20100729,0,3937993.story http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-29/calcium-supplements-raise-heart-attack-risk-by-30-in-study-of-11-trials.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10805062 http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=641629 http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/29/calcium.supplements.up.heart.risk/ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1298862/Women-calcium-supplements-increase-risk-heart-attack-30.html http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/MyocardialInfarction/21448 http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jjUVek1QdfuUUBovmN9THaC_Oo9w http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66S6GU20100729 http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20100729/study-calcium-may-increase-heart-attack-risk?src=RSS_PUBLIC http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7916657/Calcium-pills-increase-heart-attack-risk.html