A new study suggests that 41% of antibiotic prescriptions written for patients with respiratory infections, such as the flu, were unnecessary. Researchers used data collected by the US Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 flu seasons. The study involved almost 15,000 patients with respiratory infections. Fifty-six percent of the prescriptions were for broad-spectrum antibiotics, with Zithromax (azithromycin) accounting for 37% of all prescriptions. Of the 6,136 patients who were prescribed the drugs, 41% (2,522) had diagnoses that didn’t require antibiotic treatment. Out of this group, 84% were diagnosed as having a viral upper respiratory tract infection or bronchitis. Posted June 2018. Via JAMA Network Open.
Patients receiving prostate cancer treatment may have a heightened risk of experiencing emotional distress, a new study suggests. The treatment is associated with various side effects, including urinary, sexual and bowel dysfunction. Researchers wanted to evaluate whether these dysfunctions contribute to emotional distress during the first 2 years following prostate cancer treatment and whether this distress may result in decreased function. The study included 1,148 men with clinically localized disease who were treated with either surgery (63%) or radiotherapy (37%). Results indicated that men with more severe urinary, bowel and sexual dysfunction reported more emotional distress than others at subsequent time points. Posted June 2018. Via The Journal of Urology.
Psychedelic drugs are being eyed as potential treatments for anxiety and depression. A new study looked at various psychedelic drugs – such as LSD – and evaluated whether they had a statistically significant effect on the brains of flies and rats. Results indicated that the substances boosted brain connections and improved neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt — in the test animals. Researchers think psychedelic induced-plasticity could rewire the brain to counter the symptoms of depression, anxiety and other related conditions. Researchers also compared the effects of the substances to ketamine, an anesthetic used in animals, that has been found to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Posted June 12, 2018. Via Cell Reports.
Alanna McCatty is founder and CEO of McCatty Scholars, an organization that devises and implements financial literacy programs for students to combat the nationwide issue of the loss of educational opportunity due to the ramifications of burdensome student debt. At MedShadow, she reports on new findings and research on the side effects of prescription drugs. She is a graduate of Pace University.