Quick Hits: Exercise Eases Chemo Side Effects, Combining Opioids and Benzodiazepines & More

Exercise – such as walking or jogging – helps patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer to cope better with the side effects of chemotherapy. Participants in a study conducted by researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt took on slightly strenuous exercises either 3 times a week for 50 minutes or 5 times a week for 30 minutes, which was in accordance with the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine. The results found that the complementary exercise therapy proved valuable despite the need for occasional breaks. Exercise improved muscle mass as well as functional properties, such as balance, walking speed and leg strength. Additionally, results found that the toxicity of the chemotherapy can be reduced through moderate activity. Posted March 10, 2017. Via Goethe University Frankfurt.

Taking opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines concurrently is linked to a greater risk of opioid overdose. Approximately 30% of fatal opioid overdoses in the US involve an opioid and benzodiazepine combination. Researchers in California examined over 300,000 privately insured people aged 18-64 who were prescribed an opioid between 2001 and 2013. They found that 9% of opioid users were also prescribed a benzodiazepine, used to treat anxiety and sleep problems, in 2001, increasing to 17% in 2013, according to research published in the BMJ. Concurrent use of both drugs was associated with a substantially higher risk of an emergency room visit or inpatient admission for opioid overdose, compared with opioid users who did not take benzodiazepines. Posted March 14, 2017. Via Medical Xpress.

Patients who do not have a gallbladder should avoid taking Viberzi (eluxadoline), a drug for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, according to the FDA. The agency reports that patients have an increased risk of developing pancreatitis that could result in hospitalization or death. Symptoms of pancreatitis have occurred in patients who do not have a gallbladder when prescribed Viberzi at the recommended dosage (75 mg). While the FDA is working to address these safety concerns, they suggest that doctors avoid prescribing Viberzi to patients who do not have a gallbladder and consider alternative treatment options for these patients. Posted March 15, 2017. Via FDA.

Alanna M.

Alanna M. is a graduate of Pace University.

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