FDA approves new pill to fight HIV
A new anti-HIV pill combines four medicines to combat the virus that causes AIDS.
Health Watch |
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday approved a new anti-HIV pill that combines four medicines to combat the virus that causes AIDS.
The agency approved Gilead Sciences' Stribild as a once-a-day treatment to control HIV in adults who have not previously been treated for infection.
The pill contains two previously approved antiviral drugs — emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate — now sold as the combination pill Truvada. Those drugs are combined with two new drugs — elvitegravir and cobicistat. Elvitegravir interferes with one of the enzymes that HIV needs to multiply; cobicistat helps prolong the effect of elvitegravir.
Company studies showed up to 90 percent of patients taking Stribild had an undetectable level of HIV in their blood after 48 weeks, compared with 87 percent for patients taking Atripla, another HIV drug that contains Truvada and one other drug.
An estimated 1.2 million Americans have HIV, which develops into AIDS unless treated with antiviral drugs.
Aspirin may aid
in prostate cancer
Men treated for prostate cancer who took aspirin regularly for other medical conditions were less likely to die of their cancer than patients who weren't taking aspirin, according to a new study published Tuesday in The Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In the new study, researchers used the national database of a project known as CaPSURE, for Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor, to look at nearly 6,000 men who had localized prostate cancer and were treated with surgery or radiotherapy. More than one-third of the men, or 2,175 of the 5,955, were taking anticoagulants, mostly aspirin.
Those taking aspirin were less than half as likely as those who were not to die of prostate cancer over a 10-year period, researchers calculated; the prostate-cancer death rate for those taking aspirin was 3 percent, the researchers found, compared with 8 percent for those who did not.
Belly fat may be
riskier than obesity
FRANKFURT, Germany — Normal-weight people with fat bellies have a higher risk of death than the obese, according to data presented Monday at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich.
People with a normal body mass index, or BMI, and "central obesity" as defined by a high waist-to-hip ratio had the greatest risk of cardiovascular-related death and the highest death risk overall, researchers said Monday. The risk of cardiovascular death was 2.75 times higher and the risk of death from all causes was 2.08 times higher compared with subjects with normal BMI and a normal waist-to-hip ratio.
"We knew from previous research that central obesity is bad, but what is new in this research is that the distribution of the fat is very important, even in people with a normal weight," Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, senior author of the study and a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said. "This group has the highest death rate, even higher than those who are considered obese."
The risk of death may be related to a higher visceral fat accumulation, which is associated with insulin resistance and other risk factors, said Karine Sahakyan, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic who is presenting the results at the meeting. The study included 12,785 people representative of the U.S. population with an average age of 44 years where 47.4 percent were male. Over a median of about 14 years there were 2,562 deaths, of which 1,138 were cardiovascular-related, the study said.
BMI, which is calculated using a person's height and weight, is considered normal if it's between 18.5 and 24.9, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. A normal waist-to-hip ratio is less than 0.85 for women and less than 0.9 for men, Sahakyan said. The causes of central fat distribution have yet to be determined, she said.
Energy drinks may
boost heart function
FRANKFURT, Germany — Energy drinks containing caffeine and taurine boost heart function in healthy people, an Italian study found.
Function in the left and right ventricles increased one hour after consuming an energy drink, according to the researchers, who used echocardiography on 35 healthy people with an average age of 25. Diastolic blood pressure rose 6 percent, while an increase in heart rate and systolic blood pressure wasn't statistically significant, they said. The results were presented Monday at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich.
Two recent guests of a downtown Chicago Marriott have died after contracting Legionnaires' disease, Chicago health officials said Monday. Those are among eight cases of Legionnaires' in people who stayed at the JW Marriott, 151 W. Adams St., between mid-July and mid-August.
Seattle Times news services