Young people who frequently use marijuana may experience some cognitive impairment, according to a new study. Researchers collected data from 69 previous studies where they compared 2,152 heavy cannabis users with 6,575 people who used marijuana occasionally. Results indicated that frequent marijuana use reduced the cognitive function of young adults. Although the effect was relatively small, it was still significant. Researchers also discovered that after about 72 hours of marijuana abstinence, the young adults fully regained their cognitive ability. Posted April 18, 2018. Via JAMA Psychiatry.
A new migraine treatment known as erenumab may offer some relief to patients. The new therapy is a biologic injection that works over a long period of time and supposedly stops a migraine in its tracks. During a study, 246 people who had episodic migraine were injected with 140 mg of erenumab or a placebo once a month for 3 months. After 3 months, the results, presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting, indicated that “erenumab reduced the average number of monthly migraine headaches by more than 50%” for about 30% of the study participants compared to those treated with placebo. This study was supported by drugmaker Novartis. Posted April 17, 2018. Via American Academy of Neurology.
The FDA has announced that it will be boosting disease-focused guidance for drugmakers. This new guidance will instruct them on how to successfully navigate through the drug development process, and also highlight the development of drugs that aim to treat less-common medical conditions. “Among some of the many areas we’re working on right now are new guidance to lay out modern criteria for the development of drugs targeted to ulcerative colitis; rare pediatric cancers; pediatric HIV; and serious, life-threatening and non-cancer blood disorders like aplastic anemia,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in comments regarding the agency’s fiscal year 2019 budget. Posted April 17, 2018. Via FDA.
Noctiva (desmopressin acetate), a prescription nasal spray for adults who urinate frequently throughout night, was approved by FDA. The drug is the first FDA-approved treatment for the condition known as nocturnal polyuria, which is overproduction of urine during the night. Patients who plan to take this Noctiva should take precautions since the drug has a boxed warning. Noctiva can cause hyponatremia, which is low sodium levels in the blood. If it is not promptly diagnosed and treated, hyponatremia can be fatal — leading to seizures, coma, respiratory arrest or death. Doctors should ensure that a patient’s sodium level is normal before prescribing Noctiva, and should check sodium levels within 1 week and approximately 1 month after starting treatment and periodically thereafter. Posted March 3, 2017. Via FDA.
People with milder cognitive impairment should be given a genetic test before using Aricept (donepezil) to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the UCLA School of Nursing found Aricept could speed mental decline in someone with mild cognitive impairment who has a specific genetic variation, they reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Patients with the K-variant of the butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) gene who took Aricept deteriorated faster than those who took a placebo. Posted March 7, 2017. Via Medline Plus.
Patients who have psychiatric ailments are more likely to reject treatment if only medication is involved. Researchers analyzed 186 studies of patients who sought help for mental health conditions. The results, published in the journal Psychotherapy, found that the treatment refusal rate was more than 8% on average. Patients were almost twice as likely to refuse drug treatment alone compared to those offered talk therapy alone. Patients with depression were more than 2 times more likely to refuse drug therapy alone and patients with panic disorders were nearly 3 times more likely to refuse drug therapy alone. Researchers explained that patients usually prefer talking with a caring individual who could talk them through their emotional distress. Posted March 6, 2017. Via Medline Plus.