Sunday, December 01, 2013

Warning over stroke risk from soluble painkillers

Less healthy people take more drugs!  How surprising!  And salt is now known NOT to be harmful.  See the sidebar here

A study of more than 1 million people found those who took the drugs were 22 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke, seven times more likely to develop high blood pressure and 28 per cent more likely to die prematurely from any cause than people taking similar drugs that contained no salt.

Researchers said the salt content of such drugs should be labelled, and that the public should be more cautious about taking such medications, following the findings, published in the British Medical Journal.

An adult taking eight tables of soluble paracetamol in a day could exceed the recommended daily salt intake, without any salt in their diet, they warned.

The study by the University of Dundee examined the impact of dozens of drugs and supplements - including paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin C, calcium and zinc - which were prescribed to patients, but can also be bought over the counter.

Lead researcher Dr Jacob George, from the University of Dundee, said the salt content of all medicines should be labelled, in order to protect the public.

The researchers examined data from almost 1.3 million people who were given at least two prescriptions of salt-containing drugs, or who were taking the same drugs without salt.

The patients were typically followed for seven years.

The typical time it took to suffer a health problem was just under four years from first being prescribed the drugs.

Other factors such as body mass index, smoking, alcohol intake, history of various chronic illnesses and use of certain other medications, were taken into account.

Dr George, a senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in clinical pharmacology at the University of Dundee, said: “These drugs are also available over the counter, they can be picked up in the supermarket. We have no control over how many millions of people are buying these drugs.

The ones we looked at were prescribed by GPs but there’s a potentially much larger problem with these drugs being bought over the counter and in supermarkets.”

Dr George said there was a clear dose-response effect, with people taking higher doses of the salt-containing drugs having a higher risk of suffering a health problem.

Researchers said some patients needed soluble drugs because they had difficulty swallowing pills, or the drugs got into the system quicker.

But he said not all drugs contained salt and that labelling should be introduced so those who were trying to avoid it could do so.

“We believe that our findings are potentially of public health importance,” they added.

“As a minimum, the public should be warned about the potential hazards of high sodium consumption in prescribed medicines, and these should be clearly labelled with the sodium content in the same way as foods are labelled.

He said doctors should only prescribe sodium-containing formulations with caution, and that they should not be given to those at risk of high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, the public needed to be better informed about the potential risks from drugs bought over the counter, reseachers said.

The researchers said an estimated 26 million people in the UK have high dietary sodium intake.

Dr Madina Kara, neuroscientist at the Stroke Association, said: “It’s crucial to be aware of our sodium intake, as it is a component of salt. Excess salt in our diet can lead to high blood pressure, which is the single biggest risk factor for stroke.

“A diet low in saturated salt and fat, regular exercise and blood pressure checks can go a long way to keeping your stroke risk down.”


Could ALGAE be the secret to clear skin? Study finds fatty acids in marine plants can treat acne

Sounds interesting.  I wonder if anyone will stump up the half billion dollars required to get it through the approval process?

Acne is the bane of many a teenager’s life, but researchers now believe they may have found a novel treatment for it.

Scientists in Scotland believe marine algae could help fight spots.  They discovered that fatty acids produced by algae have cleansing qualities.

The researchers, at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, found the fatty acids could prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes - a bacterium which causes the common skin condition.

They say that fatty acids stopped the growth of the bacterium as well as other acne treatments that contain ingredients such as benzoylperoxide and salicylic acid.

Marine Biotechnology lecturer Dr Andrew Desbois, who led the study, said: ‘Many fatty acids inhibit or kill bacteria and now some of these have been shown to prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes.'

He added that 'fatty acids are present naturally on our skin to defend us against unwanted bacteria' - so applying more would boost our existing defences.’

The researchers found that six different fatty acids are effective at combating acne. These include omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid.  They also include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA).

EPA is produced by marine algae and then accumulated in fish like salmon via the food chain. DGLA is made by some types of brown algae.

The team are hoping to create a skin lotion containing the beneficial fatty acids as a treatment for acne.  They hope it could eventually replace some of the current drugs which are known to cause problematic side effects.

Dr Desbois said: ‘Normally, we obtain these beneficial fatty acids through consuming fish or seaweed in our diets.  ‘However, we are planning to formulate the fatty acids into an ointment that can be applied to the skin to help people suffering with acne.’

The research was published in the journal Marine Drugs.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Could ALGAE be the secret to clear skin? Study finds fatty acids in marine plants can treat acne

Sounds interesting. I wonder if anyone will stump up the half billion dollars required to get it through the approval process?”

This is a bit redundant since the mild skin cream Finacea, originally marketed for rosacea and now becoming available over the counter instead of by prescription is itself a double-ended long chain fatty acid with nine carbons called azelaic acid.