Patients with polyneuropathy – a type of nerve damage characterized by numbness and burning pain in parts of the body – who take opioids for 90 days or more have a higher risk for depression, dependency and overdose compared to those taking opioids for a shorter period. Researchers compared the results of 2,892 patients with polyneuropathy who had been treated with opioids for at least 90 days with the results of 14,435 patients who received opioids for a shorter time. Researchers, writing in JAMA Neurology, found that long-term opioid chronic therapy was associated with negative outcomes and failed to improve functional status. Via JAMA Neurology. Posted May 22, 2017.
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) that take Avonex or Rebif (interferon beta) are at a higher risk for several serious health issues, according to a new study. The new finding, published in Neurology, highlights the need for further investigation of the drug. The health records of more than 2,000 patients with relapsing-remitting MS were examined. Researchers identified an increased risk of stroke, migraine and depression among patients with MS treated with interferon beta compared to those not on the medication. Additionally, they found that patients had blood abnormalities. However, researchers also found that those taking interferon beta for at least 2 years had a reduced risk of bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. The study authors noted they hope the research will spur the development of biomarkers that can identify patients most likely to experience these adverse events. Via Neurology. Posted May 12, 2017.
A 100-year-old drug called suramin – initially developed to treat parasitic infections found mostly in Africa – displayed significant, but temporary, improvement in core symptoms of autism. A total of 10 boys with autism who received a suramin infusion displayed improvements in language and social behavior. However, suramin’s effectiveness was short-lived because the improvements peaked and then gradually faded after several weeks as the single dose of suramin wore off. Posted May 26, 2017. Via UC San Diego Health.