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Concept: Dose


Background Although many patients with venous thromboembolism require extended treatment, it is uncertain whether it is better to use full- or lower-intensity anticoagulation therapy or aspirin. Methods In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study, we assigned 3396 patients with venous thromboembolism to receive either once-daily rivaroxaban (at doses of 20 mg or 10 mg) or 100 mg of aspirin. All the study patients had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy and were in equipoise regarding the need for continued anticoagulation. Study drugs were administered for up to 12 months. The primary efficacy outcome was symptomatic recurrent fatal or nonfatal venous thromboembolism, and the principal safety outcome was major bleeding. Results A total of 3365 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analyses (median treatment duration, 351 days). The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 17 of 1107 patients (1.5%) receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban and in 13 of 1127 patients (1.2%) receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, as compared with 50 of 1131 patients (4.4%) receiving aspirin (hazard ratio for 20 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.20 to 0.59; hazard ratio for 10 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.47; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of major bleeding were 0.5% in the group receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban, 0.4% in the group receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, and 0.3% in the aspirin group; the rates of clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding were 2.7%, 2.0%, and 1.8%, respectively. The incidence of adverse events was similar in all three groups. Conclusions Among patients with venous thromboembolism in equipoise for continued anticoagulation, the risk of a recurrent event was significantly lower with rivaroxaban at either a treatment dose (20 mg) or a prophylactic dose (10 mg) than with aspirin, without a significant increase in bleeding rates. (Funded by Bayer Pharmaceuticals; EINSTEIN CHOICE number, NCT02064439 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Stroke, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Dose, Aspirin, Bayer


After sixty years of continuous use, primaquine remains the only therapy licensed for arresting transmission and relapse of malaria. The US Army developed primaquine for soldiers in a wartime crisis setting. Dosing strategies suited to that narrow population were adopted without modification or validation for the broader population of humans exposed to risk of malaria. The poor suitability of these strategies in populations exhibiting greater vulnerability to hemolytic toxicity among glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient patients has not been addressed. Primaquine requires chemotherapeutic reinvention delivering less threatening doses by leveraging unexplored co-drug synergies.

Concepts: Malaria, Population, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, Dose, World population, United States Army, Military, Primaquine


BACKGROUND: The management of pregnancy in patients with narcolepsy poses many questions regarding therapy, including the risk to the mother and fetus related to the disease, potential risks at the time of conception, the risk to both the mother and the fetus of the medications used to treat narcolepsy, and the risk to the infant from medications that might be secreted in breast milk. There are no detailed practice parameters on the treatment of narcolepsy patients during pregnancy. We surveyed narcolepsy specialists from around the world to determine their clinical approach to the management of patients with narcolepsy at the time of conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. METHODS: Survey invitations were sent via e-mail to 75 clinicians worldwide between 2/2011 and 3/2011 with 34 responses (USA, n=10; Brazil, n=3; Czech Republic, n=2; France, n=2; Italy; n=2; Netherlands, n=2; Canada, n=1; Denmark, n=1; Finland, n=1; Germany, n=1; Japan, n=1; Spain, n=1; unknown n=7). Responders who completed the survey had 20years (median range, 5-35) of experience in sleep medicine practice with a median number of five narcolepsy patients seen per week. The number of pregnant narcoleptic patients followed per physician was five (median range 1-40). RESULTS: The survey results indicated that the management of patients with narcolepsy varies greatly from clinician to clinician and from country to country. The majority of the clinicians stopped the narcolepsy medications at the time of conception, during pregnancy, and during breastfeeding some reduced the dose and others did not change the dosage, depending on the particular medication. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from our survey and literature review suggest that the perceived risks of narcolepsy medication during pregnancy to the mother and the fetus usually are overestimated, as the risk for teratogenic effects from narcolepsy medications in therapeutic doses is essentially nonexistent. However, the potential for rare complications during pregnancy and congenital abnormalities cannot be excluded. Most narcolepsy patients have vaginal delivery without complications. In rare cases patients had cataplexy that interfered with delivery, but if caesarian is required there appears to be no increased anaesthetic or surgical risks. Further prospective information for the appropriate treatment of narcolepsy patients during pregnancy is needed.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Hospital, Median, Breastfeeding, Dose, Narcolepsy


The acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI), huperzine A has been used in the treatment of the cognitive deterioration associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the side-effects of huperzine A associated with increased cholinergic activity, particularly in the gastrointestinal system, are evident. It is not yet known how quickly these side-effects become tolerated; this information would provide guidance to doctors on how to use huperzine A so as to attenuate the adverse events. The present study aimed to observe the effects of huperzine A on gastrointestinal motility and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in mice. After oral administration of huperzine A with single and multiple dosing, the gastrointestinal motility and AChE activity of the mice were examined. The results revealed that, following a single dose of huperzine A, the AChE activity in the stomach and duodenum were significantly inhibited and the gastrointestinal motility was significantly increased. However, following multiple doses (7 or 28 doses, one dose per day), no significant changes in the AChE activity and gastrointestinal motility were identified. These findings indicate that the gastrointestinal adverse effects of huperzine A may be well-tolerated relatively quickly and do not recur. Additionally, it suggests that patients with AD are likely to have minimal gastrointestinal side-effects after taking multiple doses of huperzine A.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Dose, Acetylcholine, Digestion, Acetylcholinesterase, Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, Huperzine A


This phase 3 pivotal study evaluated the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of a recombinant FVIII Fc fusion protein (rFVIIIFc) for prophylaxis, treatment of acute bleeding, and perioperative hemostatic control in 165 previously treated males aged ≥12 years with severe hemophilia A. The study had three treatment arms: arm 1, individualized prophylaxis (25-65 IU/kg every 3-5 days, n = 118); arm 2, weekly prophylaxis (65 IU/kg, n = 24); and arm 3, episodic treatment (10-50 IU/kg, n = 23). A subgroup compared rFVIII and rFVIIIFc pharmacokinetics. Endpoints included annualized bleeding rate (ABR), inhibitor development, and adverse events. The terminal half-life of rFVIIIFc (19.0 h) was extended 1.5-fold versus rFVIII (12.4 h; P<.001). Median ABRs observed in arms 1, 2, and 3 were 1.6, 3.6, and 33.6, respectively. In arm 1, the median weekly dose was 77.9 IU/kg; approximately 30% of subjects achieved a 5-day dosing interval (last 3 months on study). Across arms, 87.3% of bleeding episodes resolved with one injection. Adverse events were consistent with those expected in this population; no subjects developed inhibitors. rFVIIIFc was well-tolerated, had a prolonged half-life compared with rFVIII, and resulted in low ABRs when dosed prophylactically 1-2 times per week. This study is registered at, ID: NCT01181128.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Dose, The Terminal, Inhibitor, Factor VIII


Background The clinical utility of genotype-guided (pharmacogenetically based) dosing of warfarin has been tested only in small clinical trials or observational studies, with equivocal results. Methods We randomly assigned 1015 patients to receive doses of warfarin during the first 5 days of therapy that were determined according to a dosing algorithm that included both clinical variables and genotype data or to one that included clinical variables only. All patients and clinicians were unaware of the dose of warfarin during the first 4 weeks of therapy. The primary outcome was the percentage of time that the international normalized ratio (INR) was in the therapeutic range from day 4 or 5 through day 28 of therapy. Results At 4 weeks, the mean percentage of time in the therapeutic range was 45.2% in the genotype-guided group and 45.4% in the clinically guided group (adjusted mean difference, [genotype-guided group minus clinically guided group], -0.2; 95% confidence interval, -3.4 to 3.1; P=0.91). There also was no significant between-group difference among patients with a predicted dose difference between the two algorithms of 1 mg per day or more. There was, however, a significant interaction between dosing strategy and race (P=0.003). Among black patients, the mean percentage of time in the therapeutic range was less in the genotype-guided group than in the clinically guided group. The rates of the combined outcome of any INR of 4 or more, major bleeding, or thromboembolism did not differ significantly according to dosing strategy. Conclusions Genotype-guided dosing of warfarin did not improve anticoagulation control during the first 4 weeks of therapy. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others; COAG number, NCT00839657 .).

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Blood,, Warfarin, Dose, Anticoagulant, Prothrombin time


Here we present results of a three-year study to determine the fate of imidacloprid residues in hive matrices and to assess chronic sublethal effects on whole honey bee colonies fed supplemental pollen diet containing imidacloprid at 5, 20 and 100 μg/kg over multiple brood cycles. Various endpoints of colony performance and foraging behavior were measured during and after exposure, including winter survival. Imidacloprid residues became diluted or non-detectable within colonies due to the processing of beebread and honey and the rapid metabolism of the chemical. Imidacloprid exposure doses up to 100 μg/kg had no significant effects on foraging activity or other colony performance indicators during and shortly after exposure. Diseases and pest species did not affect colony health but infestations of Varroa mites were significantly higher in exposed colonies. Honey stores indicated that exposed colonies may have avoided the contaminated food. Imidacloprid dose effects was delayed later in the summer, when colonies exposed to 20 and 100 μg/kg experienced higher rates of queen failure and broodless periods, which led to weaker colonies going into the winter. Pooled over two years, winter survival of colonies averaged 85.7, 72.4, 61.2 and 59.2% in the control, 5, 20 and 100 μg/kg treatment groups, respectively. Analysis of colony survival data showed a significant dose effect, and all contrast tests comparing survival between control and treatment groups were significant, except for colonies exposed to 5 μg/kg. Given the weight of evidence, chronic exposure to imidacloprid at the higher range of field doses (20 to 100 μg/kg) in pollen of certain treated crops could cause negative impacts on honey bee colony health and reduced overwintering success, but the most likely encountered high range of field doses relevant for seed-treated crops (5 μg/kg) had negligible effects on colony health and are unlikely a sole cause of colony declines.

Concepts: Insect, Dose, Honey bee, Beekeeping, Flower, Varroa destructor, Colony, Colony collapse disorder


Background The immune checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab is the standard-of-care treatment for patients with advanced melanoma. Pembrolizumab inhibits the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint and has antitumor activity in patients with advanced melanoma. Methods In this randomized, controlled, phase 3 study, we assigned 834 patients with advanced melanoma in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive pembrolizumab (at a dose of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight) every 2 weeks or every 3 weeks or four doses of ipilimumab (at 3 mg per kilogram) every 3 weeks. Primary end points were progression-free and overall survival. Results The estimated 6-month progression-free-survival rates were 47.3% for pembrolizumab every 2 weeks, 46.4% for pembrolizumab every 3 weeks, and 26.5% for ipilimumab (hazard ratio for disease progression, 0.58; P<0.001 for both pembrolizumab regimens versus ipilimumab; 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 0.46 to 0.72 and 0.47 to 0.72, respectively). Estimated 12-month survival rates were 74.1%, 68.4%, and 58.2%, respectively (hazard ratio for death for pembrolizumab every 2 weeks, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.83; P=0.0005; hazard ratio for pembrolizumab every 3 weeks, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.52 to 0.90; P=0.0036). The response rate was improved with pembrolizumab administered every 2 weeks (33.7%) and every 3 weeks (32.9%), as compared with ipilimumab (11.9%) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Responses were ongoing in 89.4%, 96.7%, and 87.9% of patients, respectively, after a median follow-up of 7.9 months. Efficacy was similar in the two pembrolizumab groups. Rates of treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 to 5 severity were lower in the pembrolizumab groups (13.3% and 10.1%) than in the ipilimumab group (19.9%). Conclusions The anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival and had less high-grade toxicity than did ipilimumab in patients with advanced melanoma. (Funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme; KEYNOTE-006 number, NCT01866319 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Clinical trial, Cancer, Apoptosis, Chemotherapy, Dose, Programmed cell death


The National Institute on Aging Interventions Testing Program (ITP) evaluates agents hypothesized to increase healthy lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice. Each compound is tested in parallel at three sites, and all results are published. We report the effects of lifelong treatment of mice with four agents not previously tested: Protandim, fish oil, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and metformin - the latter with and without rapamycin, and two drugs previously examined: 17-α-estradiol and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), at doses greater and less than used previously. 17-α-estradiol at a threefold higher dose robustly extended both median and maximal lifespan, but still only in males. The male-specific extension of median lifespan by NDGA was replicated at the original dose, and using doses threefold lower and higher. The effects of NDGA were dose dependent and male specific but without an effect on maximal lifespan. Protandim, a mixture of botanical extracts that activate Nrf2, extended median lifespan in males only. Metformin alone, at a dose of 0.1% in the diet, did not significantly extend lifespan. Metformin (0.1%) combined with rapamycin (14 ppm) robustly extended lifespan, suggestive of an added benefit, based on historical comparison with earlier studies of rapamycin given alone. The α-glucosidase inhibitor, acarbose, at a concentration previously tested (1000 ppm), significantly increased median longevity in males and 90th percentile lifespan in both sexes, even when treatment was started at 16 months. Neither fish oil nor UDCA extended lifespan. These results underscore the reproducibility of ITP longevity studies and illustrate the importance of identifying optimal doses in lifespan studies.

Concepts: Male, Female, Gender, Dose, Sex, Mixture, Gamete, Hermaphrodite


We reconstructed the radiological dose for birds observed at 300 census sites in the 50-km northwest area affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant over 2011-2014. Substituting the ambient dose rate measured at the census points (from 0.16 to 31 μGy h(-1)) with the dose rate reconstructed for adult birds of each species (from 0.3 to 97 μGy h(-1)), we confirmed that the overall bird abundance at Fukushima decreased with increasing total doses. This relationship was directly consistent with exposure levels found in the literature to induce physiological disturbances in birds. Among the 57 species constituting the observed bird community, we found that 90% were likely chronically exposed at a dose rate that could potentially affect their reproductive success. We quantified a loss of 22.6% of the total number of individuals per increment of one unit log10-tansformed total dose (in Gy), over the four-year post-accident period in the explored area. We estimated that a total dose of 0.55 Gy reduced by 50% the total number of birds in the study area over 2011-2014. The data also suggest a significant positive relationship between total dose and species diversity.

Concepts: Conservation biology, Nuclear physics, Bird, Dose, Nuclear fission, Nuclear power, Austria, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents