Quick Hits: Guidelines Could Boost Use of Hypertension Meds, Using AI to Predict Drug Interactions & More

If new guidelines on high blood pressure are adopted, many more people would likely be put on hypertension drugs, a new study argues. Last year, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released proposed updated guidelines that would lower the values for determining high blood pressure, which would label millions more people as having hypertension. Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine examined adults aged 45 to 75 years from the US and China who would have a diagnosis of hypertension and be candidates for treatment based on the updated ACC/AHA guidelines, compared with current guidelines. The results indicated that the number of people labeled as having hypertension would increase by 26.8% in the US and 45.1% in China. Researchers also calculated that 7.5 million people in the US and 55 million people in China would be advised to start drug treatment, while 14 million in the US and 30 million in China would be advised to receive more intensive drug treatment. Posted July 11, 2018. Via BMJ.

Artificial intelligence may be able to predict potential side effects of drug interactions. A new system called Decagon, developed by computer scientists at Stanford University, could aid doctors in making more informed decisions about which drugs to prescribe and help researchers find better combinations of drugs to treat complex diseases. Currently, there is no real way of knowing potential interactions for most drug combinations. “There are about 1,000 different known side effects and 5,000 drugs on the market, making for nearly 125 billion possible side effects between all possible pairs of drugs,” according to a Stanford news release. “Most of these have never been prescribed together, let alone systematically studied.” Researchers found a way around this problem by developing a system (Decagon) that is designed to deduce patterns about drug interaction side effects and predict previously unseen consequences from taking 2 drugs together. In many cases, the predicted side effects, which were based on the patterns detected, came true. To date, Decagon only considers side effects associated with pairs of drugs. In the future, scientists hope to further develop the system to incorporate more complex regimens. Posted July 10, 2018. Via Stanford News.

The FDA has approved the first topical treatment for excessive underarm sweating. The new medicated wipe — known as Qbrexza — was approved for the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating) in patients 9 years of age and older. It works by blocking sweat production and can be applied once a day. The most common side effects observed during the use of Qbrexza in trials were dry mouth, dilated pupils, sore throat, headache, urinary hesitation, blurred vision, dry nose, dry throat, dry eye, dry skin and constipation. The most common local skin reactions were erythema, burning/stinging and pruritus. Posted June 29, 2018. Via Dermira.

Alanna M.

Alanna M. is a graduate of Pace University.

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