Health Tips ... from UPI

By LIDIA WASOWICZ  |  May 20, 2005 at 5:54 PM
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A study suggests the drug Humira may benefit patients with Crohn's disease, characterized by abdominal pain, weight loss, fever and lack of bladder control. In the six-month study, four of five patients treated with the drug improved in their symptoms and one of three achieved remission. Scientists say 75 percent of patients with Crohn's, a disorder most often diagnosed before age 30, will require surgery. The researchers say Humira, which is self-injected, is more convenient than receiving infusions in a doctor's office. Injections may also minimize the potential infusion reactions associated with other drugs currently used to treat Crohn's, the doctors said at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting. "These new data are promising because patients not only showed clinically meaningful improvement during the six-month study, but their response continued to improve over time," says Dr. William Sandborn of the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn.


Researchers report use of the common antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. The scientists said at the Digestive Disease Week meeting their study suggests the increase is similar to that associated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Previous research has shown use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may be associated with an increased risk of bleeding disorders and hemorrhages. Researchers from Northwestern University found a 1.4-fold increase. "While more research needs to be conducted to examine the link between SSRIs and gastrointestinal bleeding, physicians must closely monitor for this serious adverse event, especially in patients who are currently taking both SSRIs and NSAIDs," said lead author Dr. Michael Jones.


A study points to gender differences in the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. While commonly used colon cancer screening tools for men and women -- fecal occult testing and flexible sigmoidoscopy -- had been shown to be effective, the new study found the tools missed about 65 percent of pre-cancerous polyps in women, says Dr. Phillip Schoenfeld of the University of Michigan Health System. The study also shows why those tests work for men and not women: the two genders develop polyps in opposite areas of the colon. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, recommends women undergo colonoscopies to ensure polyps are detected early.


(Editors: For more information about CROHN'S, contact Chris Goldrick at 312-240-2726 or For ANTIDEPRESSANT, Kellie Hanzak at 202-955-6222 or For CANCER, 734-764-2220.)

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