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Concept: Therapeutic effect


Since the first ADA working group report on the recommendations for management of diabetes during Ramadan in 2005 and our update in 2010, we received many inquiries asking for regular updates on information regarding education, nutritional habits and new oral and injectable agents that may be useful for the management of patients with diabetes during Ramadan. Patients can be stratified into their risk of hypoglycemia and/or complications prior to the start of the fasting period of Ramadan. Those at high risk of hypoglycemia and with multiple diabetic complications should be advised against prolonged fasting. Even in the lower hypoglycemia risk group, adverse effects may still occur. In order to minimize adverse side effects during fasting in patients with diabetes and improve or maintain glucose control, education and discussion of glucose monitoring and treatment regimens should occur several weeks prior to Ramadan. Agents such as metformin, thiazolidinediones and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors appear to be safe and do not need dose adjustment. Most sulfonylureas may not be used safely during Ramadan except with extreme caution; besides, older agents, such as chlorpropamide or glyburide, should not be used. Reduction of the dosage of sulfonylurea is needed depending on the degree of control prior to fasting. Misconceptions and local habits should be addressed and dealt with in any educational intervention and therapeutic planning with patients with diabetes. In this regard, efforts are still needed for controlled prospective studies in the field of efficacy and safety of the different interventions during the Ramadan Fast.

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Nutrition, Diabetes mellitus, Hypoglycemia, Sulfonylurea, Metformin, Adverse drug reaction, Fasting


Despite evidence that connecting people to relevant wellbeing-related resources brings therapeutic benefit, there is limited understanding, in the context of mental health recovery, of the potential value and contribution of pet ownership to personal support networks for self-management. This study aimed to explore the role of pets in the support and management activities in the personal networks of people with long-term mental health problems.

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Positron emission tomography, Mental disorder, Recovery model, Pet, Microeconomics


MMilk thistle (Silybum marianum) extracts, one of the most widely used dietary supplements, contain a mixture of six major flavonolignans (silybin A, silybin B, isosilybin B, isosilybin A, silychristin, and silydianin) and other components. However, the pharmacokinetics of the free individual flavonolignans has only partially been investigated in humans. Further, antioxidant effects of the extract, which may underlie the basis of many therapeutic effects, have not been thoroughly assessed. The present study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of the six major flavonolignans in healthy volunteers receiving single doses either one(175 mg), two(350 mg), or three(525 mg) of milk thistle capsule(s) on three separate study visits. Additionally, the steady state pharmacokinetic parameters were determined after the subjects were administered one capsule thrice daily for 28 consecutive days. Our results demonstrated that all six flavonolignans were rapidly absorbed and eliminated. In order of abundance, the exposure to free flavonolignans was greatest for silybin A followed by silybin B, isosilybin B, isosilybin A, silychristin, and silydianin. The systemic exposure to these compounds appeared linear and dose-proportional. The disposition of flavonolignans was stereoselective, as evidenced by the apparent clearance of silybin B, which was significantly greater than silybin A, whereas the apparent clearance of isosilybin B was significantly lower than isosilybin A. The concentrations of urinary 8-epi-prostaglandin F2α, a commonly used biomarker of oxidative status in humans, were considerably decreased in study subjects after a 28-day exposure to the extract (1.3±0.9 versus 0.8±0.9 ng/mg creatinine), but failed to reach statistical significance (P=0.076).

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Antioxidant, Pharmacokinetics, Silybum marianum, Milk thistle, Flavonolignan, Silibinin, Amanita phalloides


Current therapeutic approaches to depression fail for millions of patients due to lag in clinical response and non-adherence. Here we provide new support for the antidepressant effect of an anesthetic drug, ketamine, by Inverse-Frequency Analysis of eight million reports from the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System. The results of the examination of population scale data revealed that patients who received ketamine had significantly lower frequency of reports of depression than patients who took any other combination of drugs for pain. The analysis also revealed that patients who took ketamine had significantly lower frequency of reports of pain and opioid induced side effects, implying ketamine’s potential to act as a beneficial adjunct agent in pain management pharmacotherapy. Further, the Inverse-Frequency Analysis methodology provides robust statistical support for the antidepressant action of other currently approved therapeutics including diclofenac and minocycline.

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Pharmacology, Therapy, Classification of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Referrals, Opioid, Morphine, Ketamine, Recreational drug use


Background Patients with noninfectious uveitis are at risk for long-term complications of uncontrolled inflammation, as well as for the adverse effects of long-term glucocorticoid therapy. We conducted a trial to assess the efficacy and safety of adalimumab as a glucocorticoid-sparing agent for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis. Methods This multinational phase 3 trial involved adults who had active noninfectious intermediate uveitis, posterior uveitis, or panuveitis despite having received prednisone treatment for 2 or more weeks. Investigators and patients were unaware of the study-group assignments. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive adalimumab (a loading dose of 80 mg followed by a dose of 40 mg every 2 weeks) or matched placebo. All patients received a mandatory prednisone burst followed by tapering of prednisone over the course of 15 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was the time to treatment failure occurring at or after week 6. Treatment failure was a multicomponent outcome that was based on assessment of new inflammatory lesions, best corrected visual acuity, anterior chamber cell grade, and vitreous haze grade. Nine ranked secondary efficacy end points were assessed, and adverse events were reported. Results The median time to treatment failure was 24 weeks in the adalimumab group and 13 weeks in the placebo group. Among the 217 patients in the intention-to-treat population, those receiving adalimumab were less likely than those in the placebo group to have treatment failure (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.36 to 0.70; P<0.001). Outcomes with regard to three secondary end points (change in anterior chamber cell grade, change in vitreous haze grade, and change in best corrected visual acuity) were significantly better in the adalimumab group than in the placebo group. Adverse events and serious adverse events were reported more frequently among patients who received adalimumab (1052.4 vs. 971.7 adverse events and 28.8 vs. 13.6 serious adverse events per 100 person-years). Conclusions In our trial, adalimumab was found to be associated with a lower risk of uveitic flare or visual impairment and with more adverse events and serious adverse events than was placebo. (Funded by AbbVie; VISUAL I number, NCT01138657 .).

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Assessment, Glucocorticoid, Ophthalmology, Prediction interval, Uveitis


Background Endometriosis is a chronic, estrogen-dependent condition that causes dysmenorrhea and pelvic pain. Elagolix, an oral, nonpeptide, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist, produced partial to nearly full estrogen suppression in previous studies. Methods We performed two similar, double-blind, randomized, 6-month phase 3 trials (Elaris Endometriosis I and II [EM-I and EM-II]) to evaluate the effects of two doses of elagolix - 150 mg once daily (lower-dose group) and 200 mg twice daily (higher-dose group) - as compared with placebo in women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis and moderate or severe endometriosis-associated pain. The two primary efficacy end points were the proportion of women who had a clinical response with respect to dysmenorrhea and the proportion who had a clinical response with respect to nonmenstrual pelvic pain at 3 months. Each of these end points was measured as a clinically meaningful reduction in the pain score and a decreased or stable use of rescue analgesic agents, as recorded in a daily electronic diary. Results A total of 872 women underwent randomization in Elaris EM-I and 817 in Elaris EM-II; of these women, 653 (74.9%) and 632 (77.4%), respectively, completed the intervention. At 3 months, a significantly greater proportion of women who received each elagolix dose met the clinical response criteria for the two primary end points than did those who received placebo. In Elaris EM-I, the percentage of women who had a clinical response with respect to dysmenorrhea was 46.4% in the lower-dose elagolix group and 75.8% in the higher-dose elagolix group, as compared with 19.6% in the placebo group; in Elaris EM-II, the corresponding percentages were 43.4% and 72.4%, as compared with 22.7% (P<0.001 for all comparisons). In Elaris EM-I, the percentage of women who had a clinical response with respect to nonmenstrual pelvic pain was 50.4% in the lower-dose elagolix group and 54.5% in the higher-dose elagolix group, as compared with 36.5% in the placebo group (P<0.001 for all comparisons); in Elaris EM-II, the corresponding percentages were 49.8% and 57.8%, as compared with 36.5% (P=0.003 and P<0.001, respectively). The responses with respect to dysmenorrhea and nonmenstrual pelvic pain were sustained at 6 months. Women who received elagolix had higher rates of hot flushes (mostly mild or moderate), higher levels of serum lipids, and greater decreases from baseline in bone mineral density than did those who received placebo; there were no adverse endometrial findings. Conclusions Both higher and lower doses of elagolix were effective in improving dysmenorrhea and nonmenstrual pelvic pain during a 6-month period in women with endometriosis-associated pain. The two doses of elagolix were associated with hypoestrogenic adverse effects. (Funded by AbbVie; Elaris EM-I and EM-II numbers, NCT01620528 and NCT01931670 .).

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Clinical trial, Estrogen, Menstrual cycle, Placebo, Acupuncture, Endometriosis, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist


Background Colchicine is effective for the treatment of recurrent pericarditis. However, conclusive data are lacking regarding the use of colchicine during a first attack of acute pericarditis and in the prevention of recurrent symptoms. Methods In a multicenter, double-blind trial, eligible adults with acute pericarditis were randomly assigned to receive either colchicine (at a dose of 0.5 mg twice daily for 3 months for patients weighing >70 kg or 0.5 mg once daily for patients weighing ≤70 kg) or placebo in addition to conventional antiinflammatory therapy with aspirin or ibuprofen. The primary study outcome was incessant or recurrent pericarditis. Results A total of 240 patients were enrolled, and 120 were randomly assigned to each of the two study groups. The primary outcome occurred in 20 patients (16.7%) in the colchicine group and 45 patients (37.5%) in the placebo group (relative risk reduction in the colchicine group, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.30 to 0.72; number needed to treat, 4; P<0.001). Colchicine reduced the rate of symptom persistence at 72 hours (19.2% vs. 40.0%, P=0.001), the number of recurrences per patient (0.21 vs. 0.52, P=0.001), and the hospitalization rate (5.0% vs. 14.2%, P=0.02). Colchicine also improved the remission rate at 1 week (85.0% vs. 58.3%, P<0.001). Overall adverse effects and rates of study-drug discontinuation were similar in the two study groups. No serious adverse events were observed. Conclusions In patients with acute pericarditis, colchicine, when added to conventional antiinflammatory therapy, significantly reduced the rate of incessant or recurrent pericarditis. (Funded by former Azienda Sanitaria Locale 3 of Turin [now Azienda Sanitaria Locale 2] and Acarpia; ICAP number, NCT00128453 .).

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Medical terms, Randomized controlled trial, Paracetamol, Clinical research, Acute pericarditis


Background Patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who have clinically significant coexisting medical conditions are less able to undergo standard chemotherapy. Effective therapies with acceptable side-effect profiles are needed for this patient population. Methods In this multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study, we assessed the efficacy and safety of idelalisib, an oral inhibitor of the delta isoform of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, in combination with rituximab versus rituximab plus placebo. We randomly assigned 220 patients with decreased renal function, previous therapy-induced myelosuppression, or major coexisting illnesses to receive rituximab and either idelalisib (at a dose of 150 mg) or placebo twice daily. The primary end point was progression-free survival. At the first prespecified interim analysis, the study was stopped early on the recommendation of the data and safety monitoring board owing to overwhelming efficacy. Results The median progression-free survival was 5.5 months in the placebo group and was not reached in the idelalisib group (hazard ratio for progression or death in the idelalisib group, 0.15; P<0.001). Patients receiving idelalisib versus those receiving placebo had improved rates of overall response (81% vs. 13%; odds ratio, 29.92; P<0.001) and overall survival at 12 months (92% vs. 80%; hazard ratio for death, 0.28; P=0.02). Serious adverse events occurred in 40% of the patients receiving idelalisib and rituximab and in 35% of those receiving placebo and rituximab. Conclusions The combination of idelalisib and rituximab, as compared with placebo and rituximab, significantly improved progression-free survival, response rate, and overall survival among patients with relapsed CLL who were less able to undergo chemotherapy. (Funded by Gilead; number, NCT01539512 .).

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Renal failure, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Oncology, Medical terms, Leukemia, Placebo


In vitro-based search for promising anti-cancer drug combinations may provide important leads to improved cancer therapies. Currently there are no integrated computational-experimental methods specifically designed to search for combinations, maximizing a predefined therapeutic index (TI) defined in terms of appropriate model systems. Here, such a pipeline is presented allowing the search for optimal combinations among an arbitrary number of drugs while also taking experimental variability into account. The TI optimized is the cytotoxicity difference (in vitro) between a target model and an adverse side effect model. Focusing on colorectal carcinoma (CRC), the pipeline provided several combinations that are effective in six different CRC models with limited cytotoxicity in normal cell models. Herein we describe the identification of the combination (Trichostatin A, Afungin, 17-AAG) and present results from subsequent characterisations, including efficacy in primary cultures of tumour cells from CRC patients. We hypothesize that its effect derives from potentiation of the proteotoxic action of 17-AAG by Trichostatin A and Afungin. The discovered drug combinations against CRC are significant findings themselves and also indicate that the proposed strategy has great potential for suggesting drug combination treatments suitable for other cancer types as well as for other complex diseases.

Concepts: Therapeutic effect, Pharmacology, Cancer, Oncology, Effectiveness, Chemotherapy, Model, Adverse effect


People have significant psychological resources to improve their well-being and performance, but these resources often go unused and could be better harnessed. In the medical domain, it is well established that these resources can be mobilized under certain conditions, for example in the context of the placebo effect. Here we explored whether the placebo principle can be used to enhance cognitive performance. To do so, we employed a modified placebo induction-a bogus priming method that we told participants would unconsciously enhance their knowledge and that they should hence trust their skills in an upcoming knowledge test. Participant performance was indeed enhanced, compared to a group that did not think the priming process would improve their knowledge. The study documents the relevance of the placebo effect outside the medical and therapeutic setting.

Concepts: Psychology, Therapeutic effect, Cognition, Cognitive science, Perception, Mind, Thought, Learning