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1.  Meta-analysis of clinical efficacy and bleeding risk with intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonists for percutaneous coronary intervention 
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology  2007;23(12):963-970.
OBJECTIVE:
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has become the most common mode of coronary revascularization. Inhibition of platelet aggregation via glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa receptor blockade significantly reduces the acute ischemic complications associated with PCI, but the risk of bleeding may also be increased with these agents. The purpose of the present study was to provide an up-to-date meta-analysis on the clinical efficacy and safety of intravenous GP IIb/IIIa antagonists in patients undergoing PCI.
METHODS:
A comprehensive search was undertaken to identify all randomized trials of GP IIb/IIIa antagonists versus control in patients intended to undergo PCI. Medline, Embase, Biosis, HealthStar and hand searches were performed. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes included myocardial infarction (MI), repeat revascularization, thrombocytopenia and bleeding. OR and their 95% CI were calculated using the random effects model.
RESULTS:
Twenty-one randomized trials were identified, which together included 23,941 patients. The mortality rate at seven days was 0.33% in the GP IIb/IIa group compared with 0.50% in the control group (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.68); at 30 days, the mortality rate was 0.83% versus 1.21%, respectively (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.94); at six months, the mortality rate was 1.92% versus 2.33%, respectively (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.07); and at one year, the mortality rate was 2.61% versus 3.32%, respectively (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.00). The number needed to treat at 30 days to save one life was 296. The mortality benefit appeared to dissipate by six months and was of borderline significance at one year. The incidence of MI in the treatment group compared with the control group was reduced at seven days (4.31% versus 6.97%, respectively; OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.75), at 30 days (4.54% versus 6.46% respectively; OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.74) and at six months (5.73% versus 8.29%; OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.77). Repeat revascularization procedures were also significantly lower in the GP IIb/IIIa group compared with the control group at seven days (2.47% versus 4.44%, respectively; OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.84), at 30 days (3.44% versus 5.19%, respectively; OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.77) and at six months (15.21% versus 17.40%, respectively; OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.94). Overall, the composite of death, MI and repeat revascularization was reduced at all time points. An assessment of risk revealed that the incidence of thrombocytopenia (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.81) and minor bleeding (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.21), but not major bleeding (OR 1.29, 95 CI 0.98 to 1.68), was significantly increased in the GP IIb/IIIa group versus the control group.
CONCLUSIONS:
Treatment with GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors in the setting of PCI significantly reduces the rates of 30-day mortality, MI and repeat revascularization procedures. These beneficial effects are achieved at an increased risk of thrombocytopenia and minor bleeding, but not major bleeding.
PMCID: PMC2651419  PMID: 17932572
Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonists; Meta-analysis; Percutaneous coronary intervention
2.  Anticoagulant therapy during primary percutaneous coronary intervention for acute myocardial infarction: a meta-analysis of randomized trials in the era of stents and P2Y12 inhibitors 
Objectives To investigate the relative benefits of unfractionated heparin, low molecular weight heparin(LMWH), fondaparinux, and bivalirudin as treatment options for patients with ST segment elevation myocardial infarction undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
Design Mixed treatment comparison and direct comparison meta-analysis of randomized trials in the era of stents and P2Y12 inhibitors.
Data sources and study selection A search of Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) for randomized trials comparing unfractionated heparin plus glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor(GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor), unfractionated heparin, bivalirudin, fondaparinux, or LMWH plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor for patients undergoing primary PCI.
Outcomes The primary efficacy outcome was short term (in hospital or within 30 days) major adverse cardiovascular event; the primary safety outcome was short term major bleeding.
Results We identified 22 randomized trials that enrolled 22 434 patients. In the mixed treatment comparison models, when compared with unfractionated heparin plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor, unfractionated heparin was associated with a higher risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (relative risk 1.49 (95% confidence interval 1.21 to 1.84), as were bivalirudin (relative risk 1.34 (1.01 to 1.78)) and fondaparinux (1.78 (1.01 to 3.14)). LMWH plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor showed highest treatment efficacy, followed (in order) by unfractionated heparin plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor, bivalirudin, unfractionated heparin, and fondaparinux. Bivalirudin was associated with lower major bleeding risk compared with unfractionated heparin plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor (relative risk 0.47 (0.30 to 0.74)) or unfractionated heparin (0.58 (0.37 to 0.90)). Bivalirudin, followed by unfractionated heparin, LMWH plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor, unfractionated heparin plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor, and fondaparinux were the hierarchy for treatment safety. Results were similar in direct comparison meta-analyses: bivalirudin was associated with a 39%, 44%, and 65% higher risk of myocardial infarction, urgent revascularization, and stent thrombosis respectively when compared with unfractionated heparin with or without GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor. However, bivalirudin was associated with a 48% lower risk of major bleeding compared with unfractionated heparin plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor and 32% lower compared with unfractionated heparin alone.
Conclusions In patients undergoing primary PCI, unfractionated heparin plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor and LMWH plus GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor were most efficacious, with the lowest rate of major adverse cardiovascular events, whereas bivalirudin was safest, with the lowest bleeding. These relationships should be considered in selecting anticoagulant therapies in patients undergoing primary PCI.
doi:10.1136/bmj.g6419
PMCID: PMC4227311  PMID: 25389143
3.  Rationale and design of PROSPECT-CONKO 004: a prospective, randomized trial of simultaneous pancreatic cancer treatment with enoxaparin and chemotherapy) 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:361.
Background
Advanced pancreatic cancer, in addition to its high mortality, is characterized by one of the highest rates of venous thromboembolic events (VTE) as compared to other types of cancer. Enoxaparin, a low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), has proven to be effective for the prevention and treatment of VTE in surgical and general medical patients. Results of some small studies suggest that this benefit might extend to patients with cancer, however, enoxaparin is not currently indicated for this use. This phase IIb study was designed to analyze the efficacy of enoxaparin in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer undergoing systemic chemotherapy.
Methods
The aim of this prospective multicenter trial is to compare concomitant treatment with enoxaparin to no anticoagulation in 540 patients. Primary endpoint is the incidence of clinically relevant VTE (symptomatic deep venous thrombosis (DVT) of the leg and/or pelvic and/or pulmonary embolism (PE)) within the first 3 months. Secondary endpoints include the incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic VTE after 6, 9 and 12 months as well as remission at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, overall survival and bleeding. Trial registration: isrctn.org identifier CCT-NAPN-16752, controlled-trials.com identifier: ISRCTN02140505.
Results
An interim analysis for safety performed after inclusion of 152 patients revealed no increased risk of bleeding (5 pts vs. 6 pts, Chi2: 0.763).
Conclusion
PROSPECT is a pivotal study in elucidating the role of low molecular weight heparins in advanced pancreatic cancer. Its results will lead to a new understanding of the role of heparins in the prevention of venous thromboembolism and of their effect on survival, remission rates and toxicity of chemotherapeutic regimens.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-361
PMCID: PMC2613915  PMID: 19055847
4.  Risk profile and benefits from Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors among patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction treated with primary angioplasty: a meta-regression analysis of randomized trials 
European Heart Journal  2009;30(22):2705-2713.
Aims
Several randomized trials and a previous meta-analysis have shown significant benefits from Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors, especially abciximab. Recent randomized trials (BRAVE-3 and HORIZON trials) have shown no benefits from adjunctive Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors on the top of clopidogrel administration. However, the relatively low mortality may have hampered the conclusion of these recent trials. Thus, the aim of the current study was to perform an update meta-analysis of randomized trials on adjunctive Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors in primary angioplasty, and to evaluate by meta-regression analysis, whether the results may be related to risk profile.
Methods and results
We obtained results from all randomized trials evaluating the benefits of adjunctive Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors among STEMI patients undergoing primary angioplasty. The literature was scanned by formal searches of electronic databases (MEDLINE and CENTRAL) from January 1990 to September 2008. The following key words were used: randomized trial, myocardial infarction, reperfusion, primary angioplasty, Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors, abciximab, tirofiban, and eptifibatide. Clinical endpoint was mortality at 30 days. Major bleeding complications were assessed as safety endpoint. No language restriction was applied. A total of 16 randomized trials were finally included in the meta-analysis, involving 10 085 patients (5094 or 50.5% in the Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors group and 4991 or 49.5% in the control group. Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors did not reduce 30 day mortality (2.8 vs. 2.9%, P = 0.75) or re-infarction (1.5 vs. 1.9%, P = 0.22), but were associated with higher risk of major bleeding complications (4.1 vs. 2.7%, P = 0.0004). However, we observed a significant relationship between patient's risk profile and benefits from adjunctive Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors in terms of death (P = 0.008) but not re-infarction (P = 0.25).
Conclusion
This meta-analysis shows a significant relationship between benefits in mortality from Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors and patient's risk profile. Thus, Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors should be strongly considered among high-risk patients.
doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehp118
PMCID: PMC2777025  PMID: 19875386
Primary angioplasty; Gp IIb-IIIa inhibitors; Meta-analysis; STEMI
5.  Discontinuation of treatment of schizophrenic patients is driven by poor symptom response: a pooled post-hoc analysis of four atypical antipsychotic drugs 
BMC Medicine  2005;3:21.
Background
Stopping antipsychotic treatment can interrupt improvement and exacerbate the illness. The reasons for discontinuing treatment during controlled clinical trials were analyzed to explore this phenomenon.
Methods
A post-hoc, pooled analysis was made of 4 randomized, double-blind clinical trials, 24–28 weeks in duration, involving 1627 patients with schizophrenia or a related disorder. Analyses combined all the atypical antipsychotic treatment groups in the studies.
Results
The majority of patients (53%) stopped their treatment at an early stage. Poor psychiatric response along with worsening symptoms was the most frequently given reason for discontinuing the course (36%), which was substantially more common than discontinuation due to poor tolerability of the medication (12%). This phenomenon was corroborated by less improvement in patients who discontinued treatment compared with those who completed, based on the PANSS total scores. Discontinuation due to poor response was, apparently, more predominantly linked to patient perception than to physicians' conclusions alone (80% vs. 20%). Discontinuation due to patient perception of poor response appeared to occur particularly early in the course of treatment. Patients who discontinued due to poor toleration of the medication responded in a more comparable manner with completers.
Conclusion
Discontinuing treatment may lead to exacerbation of symptoms, undermining therapeutic progress. In these studies, poor response to treatment and worsening of underlying psychiatric symptoms, and to a lesser extent, intolerability to medication were the primary contributors to treatment being discontinued. Our findings suggest that adherence may be enhanced by effective symptom control, as objectively measured and as subjectively perceived. Such strategies may improve patients' willingness to undertake long-term therapy and increase the likelihood of a better prognosis.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-3-21
PMCID: PMC1327673  PMID: 16375765
6.  Causal inference methods to assess safety upper bounds in randomized trials with noncompliance 
Clinical Trials (London, England)  2015;12(3):265-275.
Background
Premature discontinuation and other forms of noncompliance with treatment assignment can complicate causal inference of treatment effects in randomized trials. The intent-to-treat analysis gives unbiased estimates for causal effects of treatment assignment on outcome, but may understate potential benefit or harm of actual treatment. The corresponding upper confidence limit can also be underestimated.
Purpose
To compare estimates of the hazard ratio and upper bound of the two-sided 95% confidence interval from causal inference methods that account for noncompliance with those from the intent-to-treat analysis.
Methods
We used simulations with parameters chosen to reflect cardiovascular safety trials of diabetes drugs, with a focus on upper bound estimates relative to 1.3, based on regulatory guidelines. A total of 1000 simulations were run under each parameter combination for a hypothetical trial of 10,000 total subjects randomly assigned to active treatment or control at 1:1 ratio. Noncompliance was considered in the form of treatment discontinuation and cross-over at specified proportions, with an assumed true hazard ratio of 0.9, 1, and 1.3, respectively. Various levels of risk associated with being a non-complier (independent of treatment status) were evaluated. Hazard ratio and upper bound estimates from causal survival analysis and intent-to-treat were obtained from each simulation and summarized under each parameter setting.
Results
Causal analysis estimated the true hazard ratio with little bias in almost all settings examined. Intent-to-treat was unbiased only when the true hazard ratio = 1; otherwise it underestimated both benefit and harm. When upper bound estimates from intent-to-treat were ≥1.3, corresponding estimates from causal analysis were also ≥1.3 in almost 100% of the simulations, regardless of the true hazard ratio. When upper bound estimates from intent-to-treat were <1.3 and the true hazard ratio = 1, corresponding upper bound estimates from causal analysis were ≥1.3 in up to 66% of the simulations under some settings.
Limitations
Simulations cannot cover all scenarios for noncompliance in real randomized trials.
Conclusion
Causal survival analysis was superior to intent-to-treat in estimating the true hazard ratio with respect to bias in the presence of noncompliance. However, its large variance should be considered for safety upper bound exclusion especially when the true hazard ratio = 1. Our simulations provided a broad reference for practical considerations of bias–variance trade-off in dealing with noncompliance in cardiovascular safety trials of diabetes drugs. Further research is warranted for the development and application of causal inference methods in the evaluation of safety upper bounds.
doi:10.1177/1740774515572352
PMCID: PMC4420771  PMID: 25733675
Noncompliance; major adverse cardiovascular events; safety upper bound; causal survival analysis
7.  Clinical and economic studies of eptifibatide in coronary stenting 
Platelet adhesion and aggregation at the site of coronary stenting can have catastrophic clinical and economic consequences. Therefore, effective platelet inhibition is vital during and after percutaneous coronary intervention. Eptifibatide is an intravenous antiplatelet agent that blocks the final common pathway of platelet aggregation and thrombus formation by binding to glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptors on the surface of platelets. In clinical studies, eptifibatide was associated with a significant reduction of mortality, myocardial infarction, or target vessel revascularization in patients with acute coronary syndrome undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. However, recent trials conducted in the era of dual antiplatelet therapy and newer anticoagulants failed to demonstrate similar results. The previously seen favorable benefit of eptifibatide was mainly offset by the increased risk of bleeding. Current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines recommend its use as an adjunct in high-risk patients who are undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with traditional anticoagulants (heparin or enoxaparin), who are not otherwise at high risk of bleeding. In patients receiving bivalirudin (a newer safer anticoagulant), routine use of eptifibatide is discouraged except in select situations (eg, angiographic complications). Although older pharmacoeconomic studies favor eptifibatide, in the current era of P2Y12 inhibitors and newer safer anticoagulants, the increased costs associated with bleeding make the routine use of eptifibatide an economically nonviable option. The cost-effectiveness of eptifibatide with the use of strategies that decrease the bleeding risk (eg, transradial access) is unknown. This review provides an overview of key clinical and economic studies of eptifibatide well into the current era of potent antiplatelet agents, novel safer anticoagulants, and contemporary percutaneous coronary intervention.
Video abstract
doi:10.2147/TCRM.S35664
PMCID: PMC4128842  PMID: 25120366
eptifibatide; Integrilin®; glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors; percutaneous coronary intervention; acute coronary syndrome; coronary artery disease; cost-effectiveness
8.  Emerging treatments for premature ejaculation: focus on dapoxetine 
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common problem in men worldwide. It has a significant impact on affected men and their partners in terms of self-esteem, dissatisfaction with their sexual relationships, personal distress, and interpersonal difficulty. Psychological therapies may achieve short-term improvements, but there are limited data on the long-term success of these methods. Oral therapy with long-acting selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) improves intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT), but these agents are designed to be administered daily and may be associated with unwanted sexual side effects and withdrawal symptoms upon abrupt discontinuation. Dapoxetine is a short-acting SSRI that can be taken as needed (prn) by men with PE. It has been studied in five separate multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving more than 6000 men with PE. In four studies that evaluated IELT as an endpoint (N = 4843), dapoxetine 30 and 60 mg prn achieved statistically significant increases in IELT versus placebo. Dapoxetine also showed statistically significant improvements in perceived control over ejaculation, PE-related personal distress, and other patient-reported outcomes in all five trials. Dapoxetine treatment is generally well-tolerated, with low incidences of discontinuation syndrome, sexual dysfunction, and treatment-emergent mood symptoms. The most common adverse events with dapoxetine included nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and somnolence.
PMCID: PMC2695237  PMID: 19557098
dapoxetine; discontinuation syndrome; premature ejaculation; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
9.  Nevirapine- Versus Lopinavir/Ritonavir-Based Initial Therapy for HIV-1 Infection among Women in Africa: A Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001236.
In a randomized control trial, Shahin Lockman and colleagues compare nevirapine-based therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir-based therapy for HIV-infected women without previous exposure to antiretroviral treatment.
Background
Nevirapine (NVP) is widely used in antiretroviral treatment (ART) of HIV-1 globally. The primary objective of the AA5208/OCTANE trial was to compare the efficacy of NVP-based versus lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r)-based initial ART.
Methods and Findings
In seven African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), 500 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected women with CD4<200 cells/mm3 were enrolled into a two-arm randomized trial to initiate open-label ART with tenofovir (TDF)/emtricitabine (FTC) once/day plus either NVP (n = 249) or LPV/r (n = 251) twice/day, and followed for ≥48 weeks. The primary endpoint was time from randomization to death or confirmed virologic failure ([VF]) (plasma HIV RNA<1 log10 below baseline 12 weeks after treatment initiation, or ≥400 copies/ml at or after 24 weeks), with comparison between treatments based on hazard ratios (HRs) in intention-to-treat analysis. Equivalence of randomized treatments was defined as finding the 95% CI for HR for virological failure or death in the range 0.5 to 2.0. Baseline characteristics were (median): age = 34 years, CD4 = 121 cells/mm3, HIV RNA = 5.2 log10copies/ml. Median follow-up = 118 weeks; 29 (6%) women were lost to follow-up. 42 women (37 VFs, five deaths; 17%) in the NVP and 50 (43 VFs, seven deaths; 20%) in the LPV/r arm reached the primary endpoint (HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.56–1.29). During initial assigned treatment, 14% and 16% of women receiving NVP and LPV/r experienced grade 3/4 signs/symptoms and 26% and 22% experienced grade 3/4 laboratory abnormalities. However, 35 (14%) women discontinued NVP because of adverse events, most in the first 8 weeks, versus none for LPV/r (p<0.001). VF, death, or permanent treatment discontinuation occurred in 80 (32%) of NVP and 54 (22%) of LPV/r arms (HR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.4), with the difference primarily due to more treatment discontinuation in the NVP arm. 13 (45%) of 29 women tested in the NVP versus six (15%) of 40 in the LPV/r arm had any drug resistance mutation at time of VF.
Conclusions
Initial ART with NVP+TDF/FTC demonstrated equivalent virologic efficacy but higher rates of treatment discontinuation and new drug resistance compared with LPV/r+TDF/FTC in antiretroviral-naïve women with CD4<200 cells/mm3.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00089505
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 34 million people (mostly living in low- or middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys CD4 lymphocytes and other immune cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within 10 years of infection. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART)—cocktails of drugs that attack different parts of HIV—became available. For people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. But, because ART was expensive, for people living in developing countries, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal illness. In 2006, the international community set a target of achieving universal access to ART by 2010 and, although this target has not been reached, by the end of 2010, 6.6 million of the estimated 15 million people in need of ART in developing countries were receiving one of the ART regimens recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2010 guidelines.
Why Was This Study Done?
A widely used combination for the initial treatment of HIV-infected people (particularly women) in resource-limited settings is tenofovir and emtricitabine (both nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors; reverse transcriptase is essential for HIV replication) and nevirapine (NVP, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor). However, little is known about the efficacy of this NVP-based ART combination. Moreover, its efficacy and toxicity has not been compared with regimens containing lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r). LPV/r, which inhibits the viral protease that is essential for HIV replication, is available in resource-limited settings but is usually reserved for second-line treatment. LPV/r-based ART is more expensive than NVP-based ART but if it were more effective or better tolerated than NVP-based ART, then first-line treatment with LPV/r-based ART might be cost-effective in resource-limited settings. Conversely, evidence of the clinical equivalence of NVP-based and LPV/r-based ART would provide support for NVP-based ART as an initial therapy. In this randomized equivalence trial, the researchers compare the efficacy and toxicity of NVP-based and LVP/r-based initial therapy for HIV infection among antiretroviral-naïve African women. In a randomized trial, patients are assigned different treatments by the play of chance and followed to compare the effects of these treatments; an equivalence trial asks whether the effects of two treatments are statistically equivalent.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers followed 500 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected women with a low CD4 cell count living in seven African countries, half of whom received NVP-based ART and half of whom received LPV/r-based ART, for an average of 118 weeks and recorded the time to virologic failure (the presence of virus in the blood above pre-specified levels) or death among the participants. Forty-two women in the NVP arm reached this primary endpoint (37 virologic failures and five deaths) compared to 50 women in the LPV/r arm (43 virologic failures and seven deaths), a result that indicates equivalent virologic efficacy according to preset statistical criteria. During the initial assigned treatment, similar proportions of women in both treatment arms developed serious drug-related signs and symptoms and laboratory abnormalities. However, whereas 14% of the women in the NVP arm discontinued treatment because of adverse effects, none of the women in the LPV/r arm discontinued treatment. Finally, nearly half of the women tested in the NVP arm but only 15% of the women tested in the LVP/r arm had developed any drug resistance at the time of virologic failure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, among HIV-infected, treatment-naïve African women, initial NVP-based ART is as effective as LPV/r-based ART in terms of virologic failure and death although more women in the NVP arm discontinued treatment or developed new drug resistance than in the LPV/r arm. Several limitations of this study may affect the accuracy of these findings. In particular, some of the study participants may have been exposed to single-dose NVP during childbirth to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; in a parallel randomized trial, the researchers found that LPV/r-based ART was superior to NVP-based ART among women with prior exposure to single-dose NVP. Moreover, the duration of the current study means the long-term effects of the two treatments cannot be compared. Nevertheless, these findings support the WHO recommendation of NVP-based ART with careful early toxicity monitoring as an initial affordable and effective HIV treatment regiment in resource-limited settings, until access to better-tolerated and more potent regimens is possible.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001236.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV treatment and care (in English and Spanish)
WHO provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in English, French and Spanish); its 2010 ART guidelines can be downloaded
More information about this trial, the OCTANE trial, is available
MedlinePlus provides detailed information about nevirapine and lopinavir/ritinovir (in English and Spanish)
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV, including stories about taking anti-HIV drugs and the challenges of anti-HIV drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001236
PMCID: PMC3373629  PMID: 22719231
10.  Quetiapine monotherapy in acute phase for major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:160.
Background
Schizophrenia and bipolar depression trials suggest that quetiapine may have an antidepressant effect.
Objectives
This meta-analysis aimed to determine the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of quetiapine treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). Only the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparison between quetiapine and placebo were included. The authors searched such clinical trials carried out between 1991 and February 2012.
Data sources
MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHL, PsycINFO and Cochrane Controlled Trials Register were searched in February 2012. Study populations comprised adults with MDD or major depression.
Study eligible criteria, participants and interventions
Eligible studies were randomized, placebo-controlled trials of quetiapine monotherapy carried out in adults with MDD and presenting endpoint outcomes relevant to: i) depression severity, ii) response rate, iii) overall discontinuation rate, or iv) discontinuation rate due to adverse events. No language restriction was applied.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods
All abstracts identified by the electronic searches were examined. The full reports of relevant studies were assessed, and the data of interest were extracted. Based on the Cochrane methods of bias assessment, risks of bias were determined. The studies with two risks or less were included. The efficacy outcomes were the mean change scores of depression rating scales, the overall response rate, and the overall remission rates. The overall discontinuation rate was considered as a measure of acceptability. The discontinuation rate due to adverse events was a measure of tolerability. Relative risks (RRs) and weighted mean differences (WMDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed by using a random effect model.
Results
A total of 1,497 participants in three RCTs were included. All trials examined the quetiapine extended-release (XR). The pooled mean change scores of the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) of the quetiapine-treated group were higher than those of the placebo-treated group with the WMDs (95%CI) of -3.37 (-3.95, -2.79) and -2.46 (-3.47, -1.45), respectively. All studies defined the response and remission as ≥ 50% reduction of the MADRS total score and the MADRS total score of ≤8 at endpoint, respectively. The overall response and remission rates were significantly greater in the quetiapine-treated group with RRs (95%CIs) of 1.44 (1.26, 1.64) and 1.37 (1.12, 1.68), respectively. The pooled discontinuation rate was not significantly different between groups with an RR (95%CI) of 1.16 (0.97, 1.39). The pooled discontinuation rate due to adverse event was greater in the quetiapine group with an RR (95%CI) of 2.90 (1.87, 4.48). With respect to sleep time, the pooled mean change Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores of the quetiapine-treated group was also significantly higher than that of the placebo-treated group [WMD (95%CI) of -1.21 (-1.81, -0.61)].
Limitations
Variety of quetiapine XR doses and the small number of RCTs were key limitations of this meta-analysis.
Conclusions
Based on the limited evidence obtained from three RCTs, quetiapine XR is effective for adult patients with MDD. The high dropout rate due to adverse events suggests that some MDD patients may not be able to tolerate quetiapine XR. Due to the balance of its efficacy benefit and risk of side effects, as the overall discontinuation rate shown, the acceptability of this agent is not more than placebo. These results should be viewed as the very preliminary one. Further studies in this area are warranted.
Implication of key findings
Quetiapine may be an alternative antidepressant. However, both risk and benefit of this agent should be taken into account for an individual patient with MDD.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-160
PMCID: PMC3549283  PMID: 23017200
11.  A feasible strategy for preventing blood clots in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury (FBI): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:226.
Background
Previous pharmacokinetic trials suggested that 40 mg subcutaneous enoxaparin once daily provided inadequate thromboprophylaxis for intensive care unit patients. Critically ill patients with acute kidney injury are at increased risk of venous thromboembolism and yet are often excluded from these trials. We hypothesized that for critically ill patients with acute kidney injury receiving continuous renal replacement therapy, a dose of 1 mg/kg enoxaparin subcutaneously once daily would improve thromboprophylaxis without increasing the risk of bleeding. In addition, we seek to utilize urine output prior to discontinuing dialysis, and low neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin in dialysis-free intervals, as markers of renal recovery.
Methods/Design
In a multicenter, double-blind randomized controlled trial in progress at three intensive care units across Denmark, we randomly assign eligible critically ill adults with acute kidney injury into a treatment (1 mg/kg enoxaparin subcutaneously once daily) or control arm (40 mg enoxaparin subcutaneously once daily) upon commencement of continuous renal replacement therapy.
We calculated that with 133 patients in each group, the study would have 80% power to show a 40% reduction in the relative risk of venous thromboembolism with 1 mg/kg enoxaparin, at a two-sided alpha level of 0.05. An interim analysis will be conducted after the first 67 patients have been included in each group.
Enrolment began in March 2013, and will continue for two years. The primary outcome is the occurrence of venous thromboembolism. Secondary outcomes include anti-factor Xa activity, bleeding, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, filter lifespan, length of stay, ventilator free days, and mortality. We will also monitor neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and urine volume to determine whether they can be used as prognostic factors for renal recovery.
Discussion
Critically ill unit patients with acute kidney injury present a particular challenge in the provision of thromboprophylaxis. This study hopes to add to the growing evidence that the existing recommendation of 40 mg enoxaparin is inadequate and that 1 mg/kg is both safe and effective for thromboprophylaxis.
In addition, the study seeks to identify predictors of renal recovery allowing for the proper utilization of resources.
Trial Registration
EU Clinical Trials Register: EudraCT number: 2012-004368-23, 25 September 2012.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-226
PMCID: PMC4061539  PMID: 24925372
Enoxaparin; Thromboprophylaxis; Critically ill patients; Anti-factor Xa activity; Deep vein thrombosis; Pulmonary embolism; Acute kidney injury; Continuous renal replacement therapy; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; Renal recovery
12.  Predictors of Aromatase Inhibitor Discontinuation as a Result of Treatment-Emergent Symptoms in Early-Stage Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(9):936-942.
Purpose
Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are effective for treatment of hormone receptor–positive breast cancer, but adherence and persistence with therapy are poor. Predictors of treatment discontinuation are not clearly defined. It is unknown whether patients with intolerable toxicity from one AI are able to tolerate another.
Patients and Methods
Women with early-stage breast cancer initiating AI therapy were enrolled onto a multicenter, prospective, open-label randomized trial of exemestane versus letrozole. Patients completed symptom questionnaires at baseline and serially during therapy. Patients who developed AI-associated intolerable symptoms and discontinued treatment were given the option to switch to the other study AI after a 2- to 8-week washout period.
Results
Of the 503 enrolled women, 32.4% discontinued initial AI therapy within 2 years because of adverse effects; 24.3% discontinued specifically because of musculoskeletal symptoms. Median time to treatment discontinuation as a result of any symptom was 6.1 months (range, 0.1 to 21.2 months) and was significantly shorter in patients randomly assigned to exemestane (hazard ratio [HR], 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.1; P = .02). Younger age and taxane-based chemotherapy were associated with higher likelihood of treatment discontinuation (HR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.9; P = .04; and HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.00 to 3.6; P = .048, respectively). Of the 83 patients who chose to switch to the second AI, 38.6% continued the alternate AI for a median of 13.7 months.
Conclusion
Premature discontinuation of initial AI therapy as a result of symptoms is common, although more than one third of patients may be able to tolerate a different AI medication. Additional research is needed to identify predictive tools and interventions for AI-associated treatment-emergent symptoms.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.38.0261
PMCID: PMC3341106  PMID: 22331951
13.  Efficacy of mirabegron in patients with and without prior antimuscarinic therapy for overactive bladder: a post hoc analysis of a randomized European-Australian Phase 3 trial 
BMC Urology  2013;13:45.
Background
Antimuscarinic agents are currently the predominant treatment option for the clinical management of the symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB). However, low rates of persistence with these agents highlight the need for novel, effective and better-tolerated oral pharmacological agents. Mirabegron is a β3-adrenoceptor agonist developed for the treatment of OAB, with a mechanism of action distinct from that of antimuscarinics. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled Phase 3 trial conducted in Europe and Australia (NCT00689104), mirabegron 50 mg and 100 mg resulted in statistically significant reductions from baseline to final visit, compared with placebo, in the co-primary end points – mean number of incontinence episodes/24 h and mean number of micturitions/24 h. We conducted a post hoc, subgroup analysis of this study in order to evaluate the efficacy of mirabegron in treatment-naïve patients and patients who had discontinued prior antimuscarinic therapy because of insufficient efficacy or poor tolerability.
Methods
Patients were randomized to placebo, mirabegron 50 or 100 mg, or tolterodine extended release (ER) 4 mg orally, once-daily, for 12 weeks. For the post hoc analysis, the primary patient population was divided into the following subgroups: (1) patients who had not received any prior antimuscarinic OAB medication (treatment-naïve) and (2) patients who had received prior antimuscarinic OAB medication. The latter subgroup was further subdivided into patients who discontinued due to: (3) insufficient efficacy or (4) poor tolerability. Analysis of the co-primary efficacy endpoints by subgroup was performed using analysis of covariance with treatment group, subgroup, sex, geographical region, and subgroup-by-treatment interaction as fixed factors; and baseline value as a covariate.
Results
Mirabegron, 50 mg and 100 mg once-daily, demonstrated similar improvements in the frequency of incontinence episodes and micturitions in OAB patients who were antimuscarinic-naïve and who had discontinued prior antimuscarinic therapy. While mirabegron demonstrated improvements in incontinence and micturition frequency in patients who had discontinued prior antimuscarinic therapy due to insufficient efficacy, the response to tolterodine was similar to that of placebo.
Conclusion
In this post hoc subgroup analysis, mirabegron provided treatment benefits in OAB patients who were antimuscarinic treatment-naïve and in patients who had received prior antimuscarinic treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2490-13-45
PMCID: PMC3849064  PMID: 24047126
β3-adrenoceptor agonist; Mirabegron; OAB; Overactive bladder; Post hoc analysis
14.  Predictors of premature discontinuation of treatment in multiple disease states 
Background:
Premature discontinuation of treatment impacts outcomes of clinical practice. The traditional perception has been patient discontinuation is mainly driven by unwanted side effects. Systematic analysis of data from clinical trials across several disease states was performed to identify predictors of premature discontinuation during clinical interventions.
Methods:
A post hoc analysis was conducted on 22 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials for treatment of fibromyalgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Analyses were conducted on pooled data within each disease state.
Results:
Lack of early therapeutic response was a significant predictor of patient discontinuation in each disease state. Visit-wise changes in therapeutic response and severity of adverse events were also significant risk factors, with change in therapeutic response having a higher significance level in three disease states. Patients who discontinued due to adverse events had similar therapeutic responses as patients completing treatment.
Conclusion:
Contrary to the conventional belief that premature treatment discontinuation is primarily related to adverse events, our findings suggest lack of therapeutic response also plays a significant role in patient attrition. This research highlights the importance of systematic monitoring of therapeutic response in clinical practice as a measure to prevent patients’ discontinuation from pharmacological treatments.
PMCID: PMC2778422  PMID: 19936143
attrition; depression; generalized anxiety disorder; fibromyalgia; therapeutic response; adverse event
15.  Perspectives on the Design of Clinical Trials Combining Transarterial Chemoembolization and Molecular Targeted Therapy 
Liver Cancer  2012;1(3-4):168-176.
Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) moderately prolongs the survival of patients with intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma. Molecular targeted therapy (MTT) may improve the efficacy of TACE. However, the findings of clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of a combination of TACE and MTT are conflicting. We hypothesized that this disparity can be prevented using alternative study designs. In this review, we classify the pertinent issues of study designs into five domains: primary endpoints, patients, TACE procedures, timing of randomization, and drug administration. Furthermore, we discuss the methods for increasing the success rate by minimizing potentially confounding factors within these five domains. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the current standard therapy for patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) [1, 2, 3]. The survival benefit of TACE is supported by the results of meta-analysis of clinical trials comparing TACE with other conservative treatments in patients with inoperable HCC [4]. The results showed that the median survival of patients improved from approximately 16 to 20 months following TACE [4, 5]. Although advances in TACE techniques and the use of new embolization agents may improve the efficacy of TACE [6, 7], other approaches are needed to further improve the outcome in HCC patients treated using TACE. Molecular targeted therapy (MTT) has improved the survival of patients with advanced-stage HCC [5, 8]. Therefore, combining MTT and TACE may additionally improve the survival in patients with intermediate-stage HCC. Many molecular targeted agents (MTA) are currently undergoing evaluation in randomized trials (table 1). However, the designs of these trials differ significantly. The results of two trials combining sorafenib and TACE were recently reported. Both trials failed to demonstrate a therapeutic benefit of the combination therapy for time to tumor progression (TTP) or overall survival (OS) [9, 10]. However, specific subgroups of patients who received treatment for more than 6 months exhibited significantly better survival (table 2). Because median survival can be greater than 2 years in patients with intermediate-stage HCC, it is likely that an extended exposure period is necessary for MTA effects to reach the biological threshold at which survival benefit becomes measurable. Therefore, early discontinuation of study drug treatment may significantly undermine the statistical power of efficacy analysis in randomized trials (fig. 1). Clinical trials should be designed to minimize confounding factors that could lead to early discontinuation of study drug [1, 2, 3, 11, 12]. Factors that are crucial in this regard can be categorized into five domains: (1) selection of primary endpoints, (2) selection of patient population, (3) selection of TACE procedures, (4) timing of randomization, and (5) study drug administration. In this review we discuss the confounding effects potentially associated with each domain and the possible interactions among domains in trials combining TACE and MTA. We also discuss strategies that can help improve sensitivity and accuracy measurements of MTA efficacy.
doi:10.1159/000343830
PMCID: PMC3760466  PMID: 24159581
Clinical trial; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Transarterial chemoembolization
16.  Effectiveness of lurasidone in schizophrenia or schizoaffective patients switched from other antipsychotics: a 6-month, open-label, extension study 
CNS Spectrums  2013;19(4):330-339.
Objective
To evaluate the long-term safety and tolerability of lurasidone in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients switched to lurasidone.
Method
Patients in this multicenter, 6-month open-label, flexible-dose, extension study had completed a core 6-week randomized trial in which clinically stable, but symptomatic, outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were switched to lurasidone. Patients started the extension study on treatment with the same dose of lurasidone taken at study endpoint of the 6-week core study; following this, lurasidone was flexibly dosed (40–120 mg/day), if clinically indicated, starting on Day 7 of the extension study. The primary safety endpoints were the proportion of patients with treatment emergent adverse events (AEs), serious AEs, or who discontinued due to AEs. Secondary endpoints included metabolic variables and measures of extrapyramidal symptoms and akathisia, as well as the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Clinical Global Impressions-Severity (CGI-S), and the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS). The study was conducted from August 2010 to November 2011.
Results
Of the 198 patients who completed the 6-week core study, 149 (75.3%) entered the extension study and 148 received study medication. A total of 98 patients (65.8%) completed the 6-month extension study. Lurasidone 40, 80, and 120 mg were the modal daily doses for 19 (12.8%), 65 (43.9%), and 64 (43.2%) of patients, respectively. Overall mean (SD) daily lurasidone dose was 102.0 mg (77.1). The most commonly reported AEs were insomnia (13 patients [8.8%]), nausea (13 patients [8.8%]), akathisia (12 patients [8.1%]), and anxiety (9 patients [6.1%]). A total of 16 patients (10.8%) had at least one AE leading to discontinuation from the study. Consistent with prior studies of lurasidone, there was no signal for clinically relevant adverse changes in body weight, lipids, glucose, insulin, or prolactin. Movement disorder rating scales did not demonstrate meaningful changes. Treatment failure (defined as any occurrence of discontinuation due to insufficient clinical response, exacerbation of underlying disease, or AE) was observed for 19 patients (12.8% of patients entering) and median time to treatment failure was 58 days (95% CI 22–86). The discontinuation rate due to any cause was 50/148 (33.8%), and median time to discontinuation was 62 days (95% CI 30–75). The mean PANSS total score, mean CGI-S score, and mean CDSS score decreased consistently from core study baseline across extension visits, indicating an improvement in overall condition.
Conclusions
In this 6-month, open-label extension study, treatment with lurasidone was generally well-tolerated with sustained improvement in efficacy measures observed in outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who had switched to lurasidone from a broad range of antipsychotic agents.
doi:10.1017/S109285291300093X
PMCID: PMC4140225  PMID: 24330868
Antipsychotic; effectiveness; lurasidone; schizophrenia; switch
17.  A long-term, phase 2, multicenter, randomized, open-label, comparative safety study of pomaglumetad methionil (LY2140023 monohydrate) versus atypical antipsychotic standard of care in patients with schizophrenia 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:143.
Background
We compared the time to discontinuation due to lack of tolerability over 24 weeks in patients suffering from schizophrenia treated with pomaglumetad methionil (LY2140023 monohydrate, the prodrug of metabotropic glutamate 2/3 receptor agonist, LY404039) or standard of care (SOC: olanzapine, risperidone, or aripiprazole).
Methods
Study HBBR was a multicenter, randomized, open-label study comparing the long-term safety and tolerability of LY2140023 with SOC for schizophrenia. Patients had moderate symptomatology with prominent negative symptoms and evidence of functional impairment. Those who met entry criteria were randomized to open-label treatment with either LY2140023 (target dose: 40 mg twice daily [BID]; n = 130) or SOC (n = 131).
Results
There was no statistically significant difference between LY2140023 and SOC for time to discontinuation due to lack of tolerability (primary objective; P = .184). The Kaplan-Meier estimates revealed comparable time to event profiles. Only 27% of LY2140023 and 45% of SOC patients completed the 24-week open-label, active treatment phase. Twenty-seven patients (20.8%) in the LY2140023 group and 15 patients (11.5%) in the SOC group discontinued due to lack of efficacy (P = .044). Twenty-three patients (17.7%) in the LY2140023 group and 19 patients (14.5%) in the SOC group discontinued due to adverse events (physician and subject decision combined, P = .505). The incidence of serious adverse events was comparable between groups. LY2140023-treated patients reported significantly more treatment-emergent adverse events of vomiting, agitation, and dyspepsia, while SOC-treated patients reported significantly more akathisia and weight gain. The incidence of treatment-emergent parkinsonism (P = .011) and akathisia (P = .029) was significantly greater in SOC group. Improvement in PANSS total score over the initial 6 to 8 weeks of treatment was similar between groups, but improvement was significantly greater in the SOC group at 24-week endpoint (P = .004). LY2140023 and SOC groups had comparable negative symptom improvement at 24-week endpoint (P = .444).
Conclusion
These data provide further evidence that the potential antipsychotic LY2140023 monohydrate, with a glutamatergic mechanism of action, may have a unique tolerability profile characterized by a low association with some adverse events such as extrapyramidal symptoms and weight gain that may characterize currently available dopaminergic antipsychotics.
Trials registration
A Long-term, Phase 2, Multicenter, Randomized, Open-label, Comparative Safety Study of LY2140023 Versus Atypical Antipsychotic Standard of Care in Patients with DSM-IV-TR Schizophrenia
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00845026.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-143
PMCID: PMC3666887  PMID: 23694720
Schizophrenia; Glutamate; Olanzapine; Metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGluR2); Metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 (mGluR3)
18.  Effect of disodium EDTA chelation regimen on cardiovascular events in patients with previous myocardial infarction: The TACT Randomized Trial 
Context
Chelation therapy with disodium ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) has been used for over 50 years to treat atherosclerosis without proof of efficacy.
Objective
To determine if an EDTA-based chelation regimen reduces cardiovascular events.
Design and Setting
Double-blind placebo-controlled 2×2 factorial multicenter randomized trial. NIH Funding was approved in August 2002. The first patient was enrolled in September 2003, and the last follow-up took place in October 2011. Median follow-up was 55 months. Participants were recruited from 134 US and Canadian clinical sites.
Participants
1708 patients, age 50 or older and at least 6 weeks post myocardial infarction, with a serum creatinine <2.0 mg/dL. 289 patients (17% of total; 115 in the EDTA group and 174 in the placebo group) withdrew consent for continued follow-up over the course of the trial.
Interventions
Patients were randomized to receive 40 infusions of a 500 mL chelation solution (containing 3 grams of disodium EDTA, 7 grams of ascorbate, B-vitamins, electrolytes, procaine, and heparin) versus placebo, and to an oral vitamin and mineral regimen or an oral placebo. Infusions were administered weekly for 30 weeks, followed by 10 infusions 2 to 8 weeks apart. Patients received 55,222 infusions. 15% discontinued infusions for adverse events.
Main outcome measure
The pre-specified primary endpoint was a composite of total mortality, recurrent myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, or hospitalization for angina. Followup for clinical events began upon randomization. This report describes the intent-to-treat comparison of EDTA chelation versus placebo. To account for multiple interim analyses, the significance threshold required at the final analysis was p=0.036.
Results
The qualifying myocardial infarction occurred a median of 4.6 years before enrollment. Median age was 65 years, 18% were female, 9% were nonwhite, 31% were diabetic. 83% had prior coronary revascularization, and 73% were on statins. The primary endpoint occurred in 222 (26%) of the chelation group and 261 (30%) of the placebo group (hazard ratio 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.69–0.99, p=0.035). There was no effect on total mortality (chelation: 87 deaths (10%) placebo 93 (11%): hazard ratio (HR) 0.93, 95% confidence interval 0.70–1.25, p=0.64), but the study was not powered for this comparison. The effect of EDTA chelation on the components of the primary endpoint other than death was of similar magnitude as its overall effect (myocardial infarction HR 0.77 95% confidence interval (0.54,1.11); stroke HR 0.77 95% confidence interval (0.34, 1.76); coronary revascularization HR 0.81 95% confidence interval (0.64, 1.02); hospitalization for angina HR 0.72 95% confidence interval (0.35, 1.47). Extensive sensitivity analyses examining the effect of patient drop out and varying treatment compliance did not alter the study’s conclusions.
Conclusions and Relevance
In stable patients with a history of MI, the use of an intravenous chelation regimen with disodium EDTA, compared with placebo, modestly reduced the risk of a composite of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, many of which were revascularization procedures. These results provide evidence to guide further research but are not, by themselves, sufficient to support the routine use of chelation therapy for treatment of post-MI patients.
doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2107
PMCID: PMC4066975  PMID: 23532240
chelation; EDTA; vitamin C; myocardial infarction; diabetes; alternative medicine
19.  Patient perception of medication benefit and early treatment discontinuation in a 1-year study of patients with schizophrenia 
Objective:
The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between patient beliefs about medication use and their likelihood of discontinuing treatment prematurely. Associations of patient beliefs about medication with clinical psychopathology and their life satisfaction were also assessed.
Methods:
This post-hoc analysis used data from a randomized, open label, 1-year trial of antipsychotics in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders (N = 664). Medication management including dosage adjustment and medication switching was at doctors’ discretion, reflecting naturalistic treatment in usual clinical care settings. Early treatment discontinuation was defined as all-cause study drop out. Patient-reported beliefs about medication were assessed by Rating of Medication Influences (ROMI), degree of clinical psychopathology was measured by Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), and patient quality of life was measured by Lehman Quality of Life Interview (LQLI).
Results:
Patient perception of medication benefit was the only strong predictor of treatment duration among the 5 underlying dimensions of medication influence. Higher level of perceived beneficial effect of medication was associated with reduced risk of early treatment discontinuation (Hazard ratio = 0.56, 95% Confidence Interval [0.40, 0.79], p = 0.001). Patients with greater beliefs in the beneficial effect of treatment also had better clinical psychopathology outcome and were more satisfied with their quality of life and well-being.
Conclusion:
Understanding the predictors of early treatment discontinuation in the care of schizophrenia patients is important for the development of interventions to improve treatment outcome. Current findings suggest that patient perception of beneficial effect of medication may be a critical factor in achieving treatment persistence and a satisfactory treatment outcome.
PMCID: PMC2779124  PMID: 19956443
adherence; compliance; antipsychotic; schizophrenia; patient attitude
20.  Cardiovascular outcomes during treatment with dabigatran: comprehensive analysis of individual subject data by treatment 
Background
Dabigatran 150 mg twice daily was shown to be superior to warfarin in preventing stroke in subjects with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (SPAF) in the RE-LY (Randomized Evaluation of Long-term anticoagulation therapY) trial. Numerically, more myocardial infarctions occurred in patients receiving dabigatran compared with well-controlled warfarin. This observation prompted a comprehensive analysis of cardiovascular outcomes, including myocardial infarction, in all completed Phase II and III trials of dabigatran etexilate.
Methods
The analysis included comparisons of dabigatran with warfarin, enoxaparin, and placebo. Data were analyzed for the occurrence of cardiovascular events from 14 comparative trials (n = 42,484) in five different indications. Individual study data were evaluated, as well as pooled subject-level data grouped by comparator.
Results
In the pooled analysis of individual patient data comparing dabigatran with warfarin (SPAF and venous thromboembolism treatment indications), myocardial infarction occurrence favored warfarin (odds ratio [OR] 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96–1.76 for dabigatran 110 mg twice daily and OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.07–1.88 for dabigatran 150 mg twice daily). The clinically relevant composite endpoint of myocardial infarction, total stroke, and vascular death demonstrated numerically fewer events in dabigatran 150 mg patients (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.77–1.00), but was similar for dabigatran 110 mg (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.87–1.13). Dabigatran had similar myocardial infarction rates when compared with enoxaparin or placebo.
Conclusion
These analyses suggest a more protective effect of well-controlled warfarin, but not enoxaparin, compared with dabigatran in preventing myocardial infarction in multiple clinical settings. Dabigatran showed an overall positive benefit-risk ratio for multiple clinically important cardiovascular composite endpoints in all evaluated clinical indications. In conclusion, these data suggest that myocardial infarction is not an adverse drug reaction associated with use of dabigatran.
doi:10.2147/VHRM.S49830
PMCID: PMC3798206  PMID: 24143109
cardiovascular events; stroke; myocardial infarction; dabigatran etexilate; warfarin; atrial fibrillation
21.  Safety and Immunogenicity of Therapeutic DNA Vaccination in Individuals Treated with Antiretroviral Therapy during Acute/Early HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10555.
Background
An effective therapeutic vaccine that could augment immune control of HIV-1 replication may abrogate or delay the need for antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) A5187 was a phase I/II, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of an HIV-1 DNA vaccine (VRC-HVDNA 009-00-VP) in subjects treated with antiretroviral therapy during acute/early HIV-1 infection. (clinicaltrials.gov NCT00125099)
Methods
Twenty healthy HIV-1 infected subjects who were treated with antiretroviral therapy during acute/early HIV-1 infection and had HIV-1 RNA<50 copies/mL were randomized to receive either vaccine or placebo. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine. Following vaccination, subjects interrupted antiretroviral treatment, and set-point HIV-1 viral loads and CD4 T cell counts were determined 17–23 weeks after treatment discontinuation.
Results
Twenty subjects received all scheduled vaccinations and discontinued antiretroviral therapy at week 30. No subject met a primary safety endpoint. No evidence of differences in immunogenicity were detected in subjects receiving vaccine versus placebo. There were also no significant differences in set-point HIV-1 viral loads or CD4 T cell counts following treatment discontinuation. Median set-point HIV-1 viral loads after treatment discontinuation in vaccine and placebo recipients were 3.5 and 3.7 log10 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL, respectively.
Conclusions
The HIV-1 DNA vaccine (VRC-HIVDNA 009-00-VP) was safe but poorly immunogenic in subjects treated with antiretroviral therapy during acute/early HIV-1 infection. Viral set-points were similar between vaccine and placebo recipients following treatment interruption. However, median viral load set-points in both groups were lower than in historical controls, suggesting a possible role for antiretroviral therapy in persons with acute or early HIV-1 infection and supporting the safety of discontinuing treatment in this group.
Trial Registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00125099
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010555
PMCID: PMC2866663  PMID: 20479938
22.  Secondary prevention of ischaemic cardiac events 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0206.
Introduction
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior acute myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures. Secondary prevention in people with an acute MI or acute coronary syndrome within the past 6 months is not included.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of antithrombotic treatment; other drug treatments; cholesterol reduction; blood pressure reduction; non-drug treatments; and revascularisation procedures? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 137 systematic reviews or RCTs that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: advice to eat less fat, advice to eat more fibre, advice to increase consumption of fish oils, amiodarone, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers plus ACE inhibitors, antioxidant vitamin combinations, antiplatelet agents, aspirin, beta-blockers, beta-carotene, blood pressure reduction, calcium channel blockers, cardiac rehabilitation including exercise, class I antiarrhythmic agents, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), fibrates, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Mediterranean diet, multivitamins, non-specific cholesterol reduction, oral anticoagulants, oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), psychosocial treatment, smoking cessation, statins, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Key Points
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior MI or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures.
Of the antithrombotic treatments, there is good evidence that aspirin (especially combined with clopidogrel in people with acute coronary syndromes or MI), clopidogrel (more effective than aspirin), and anticoagulants all effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Oral anticoagulants substantially increase the risk of haemorrhage. These risks may outweigh the benefits when combined with antiplatelet treatments.Adding oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors to aspirin seems to increase the risk of mortality compared with aspirin alone.
Other drug treatments that reduce mortality include beta-blockers (after MI and in people with left ventricular dysfunction), ACE inhibitors (in people at high risk, after MI, or with left ventricular dysfunction), and amiodarone (in people with MI and high risk of death from cardiac arrhythmia). There is conflicting evidence on the effect of calcium channel blockers. Some types may be effective at reducing mortality in the absence of heart failure, whereas others may be harmful.Contrary to decades of large observational studies, multiple RCTs show no cardiac benefit from HRT in postmenopausal women.
Lipid-lowering treatments effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and non-fatal cardiovascular events in people with CHD.
There is good evidence that statins reduce the risk of mortality and cardiac events in people at high risk, but the evidence is less clear for fibrates.
The magnitude of cardiovascular risk reduction in people with coronary artery disease correlates directly with the magnitude of blood pressure reduction.
Cardiac rehabilitation (including exercise) and smoking cessation reduce the risk of cardiac events in people with CHD. Antioxidant vitamins (such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, or vitamin C) have no effect on cardiovascular events in high-risk people, and in some cases may actually increase risk of cardiac mortality.We don't know whether changing diet alters the risk of cardiac episodes, although a Mediterranean diet may have some survival benefit over a Western diet. Advice to increase fish oil consumption or fish oil consumption may be beneficial in some population groups. However, evidence was weak.Some psychological interventions may be more effective than usual care at improving some cardiovascular outcomes. However, evidence was inconsistent.
In selected people, such as those with more-extensive coronary disease and impaired left ventricular function, CABG may improve survival compared with an initial strategy of medical treatment. We don't know how PTCA compares with medical treatment.
We found no consistent difference in mortality or recurrent MI between CABG and PTCA with or without stenting, because of varied results among subgroups and insufficient evidence on stenting when comparing the interventions. CABG may be more effective than PTCA with or without stenting at reducing some composite outcomes, particularly those including repeat revascularisation rates. PTCA with stenting may be more effective than PTCA alone.
PMCID: PMC3217663  PMID: 21875445
23.  Corticosteroid treatment for community-acquired pneumonia - the STEP trial: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:257.
Background
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the third-leading infectious cause of death worldwide. The standard treatment of CAP has not changed for the past fifty years and its mortality and morbidity remain high despite adequate antimicrobial treatment. Systemic corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory effects and are therefore discussed as adjunct treatment for CAP. Available studies show controversial results, and the question about benefits and harms of adjunct corticosteroid therapy has not been conclusively resolved, particularly in the non-critical care setting.
Methods/Design
This randomized multicenter study compares a treatment with 7 days of prednisone 50 mg with placebo in adult patients hospitalized with CAP independent of severity. Patients are screened and enrolled within the first 36 hours of presentation after written informed consent is obtained. The primary endpoint will be time to clinical stability, which is assessed every 12 hours during hospitalization. Secondary endpoints will be, among others, all-cause mortality within 30 and 180 days, ICU stay, duration of antibiotic treatment, disease activity scores, side effects and complications, value of adrenal function testing and prognostic hormonal and inflammatory biomarkers to predict outcome and treatment response to corticosteroids. Eight hundred included patients will provide an 85% power for the intention-to-treat analysis of the primary endpoint.
Discussion
This largest to date double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter trial investigates the effect of adjunct glucocorticoids in 800 patients with CAP requiring hospitalization. It aims to give conclusive answers about benefits and risks of corticosteroid treatment in CAP. The inclusion of less severe CAP patients will be expected to lead to a relatively low mortality rate and survival benefit might not be shown. However, our study has adequate power for the clinically relevant endpoint of clinical stability. Due to discontinuing glucocorticoids without tapering after seven days, we limit duration of glucocorticoid exposition, which may reduce possible side effects.
Trial registration
7 September 2009 on ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00973154.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-257
PMCID: PMC4083867  PMID: 24974155
Corticosteroids; Community-acquired pneumonia; Pulmonary infection; Emergency medicine; Intensive care; Glucocorticoids
24.  Differentiation of parenteral anticoagulants in the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism 
Thrombosis Journal  2011;9:5.
Background
The prevention of venous thromboembolism has been identified as a leading priority in hospital safety. Recommended parenteral anticoagulant agents with different indications for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism include unfractionated heparin, low-molecular-weight heparins and fondaparinux. Prescribing decisions in venous thromboembolism management may seem complex due to the large range of clinical indications and patient types, and the range of anticoagulants available.
Methods
MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched to identify relevant original articles.
Results
Low-molecular-weight heparins have nearly replaced unfractionated heparin as the gold standard antithrombotic agent. Low-molecular-weight heparins currently available in the US are enoxaparin, dalteparin, and tinzaparin. Each low-molecular-weight heparin is a distinct pharmacological entity with different licensed indications and available clinical evidence. Enoxaparin is the only low-molecular-weight heparin that is licensed for both venous thromboembolism prophylaxis and treatment. Enoxaparin also has the largest body of clinical evidence supporting its use across the spectrum of venous thromboembolism management and has been used as the reference standard comparator anticoagulant in trials of new anticoagulants. As well as novel oral anticoagulant agents, biosimilar and/or generic low-molecular-weight heparins are now commercially available. Despite similar anticoagulant properties, studies report differences between the branded and biosimilar and/or generic agents and further clinical studies are required to support the use of biosimilar low-molecular-weight heparins. The newer parenteral anticoagulant, fondaparinux, is now also licensed for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in surgical patients and the treatment of acute deep-vein thrombosis; clinical experience with this anticoagulant is expanding.
Conclusions
Parenteral anticoagulants should be prescribed in accordance with recommended dose regimens for each clinical indication, based on the available clinical evidence for each agent to assure optimal safety and efficacy.
doi:10.1186/1477-9560-9-5
PMCID: PMC3078835  PMID: 21443789
25.  Secondary prevention of ischaemic cardiac events 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:0206.
Introduction
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior acute myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of antithrombotic treatment; other drug treatments; cholesterol reduction; blood pressure reduction; non-drug treatments; and revascularisation procedures? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 154 systematic reviews or RCTs that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review. we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: advice to eat less fat; advice to eat more fibre; advice to increase consumption of fish oils; amiodarone; angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors; angiotensin II receptor blockers; angiotensin II receptor blockers plus ACE inhibitors; antioxidant vitamin combinations; antiplatelet agents; beta-blockers; beta-carotene; blood pressure reduction; calcium channel blockers; cardiac rehabilitation including exercise; class I antiarrhythmic agents; coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG); percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); fibrates; hormone replacement therapy (HRT); Mediterranean diet; multivitamins; non-specific cholesterol reduction; oral anticoagulants; oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors; psychosocial treatment; smoking cessation; statins; vitamin C; and vitamin E.
Key Points
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in resource-rich countries, and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries. Secondary prevention in this context is long-term treatment to prevent recurrent cardiac morbidity and mortality in people who have had either a prior MI or acute coronary syndrome, or who are at high risk due to severe coronary artery stenoses or prior coronary surgical procedures.
Of the antithrombotic treatments, there is good evidence that aspirin (especially combined with clopidogrel in people with acute coronary syndromes or MI), clopidogrel (more effective than aspirin), and anticoagulants all effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Oral anticoagulants substantially increase the risk of haemorrhage. These risks may outweigh the benefits when combined with antiplatelet treatments. Adding oral glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors to aspirin seems to increase the risk of mortality compared with aspirin alone.
Other drug treatments that reduce mortality include beta-blockers (after MI and in people with left ventricular dysfunction), ACE inhibitors (in people at high risk, after MI, or with left ventricular dysfunction), angiotensin II receptor blockers (in people with coronary artery disease), and amiodarone (in people with MI and high risk of death from cardiac arrhythmia). There is conflicting evidence on the effect of calcium channel blockers. Some types may be effective at reducing mortality in the absence of heart failure, whereas other may be harmful.Contrary to decades of large observational studies, multiple RCTs show no cardiac benefit from HRT in postmenopausal women.
Lipid-lowering treatments effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and non-fatal cardiovascular events in people with CHD.
There is good evidence that statins reduce the risk of mortality and cardiac events in people at high risk, but the evidence is less clear for fibrates.
The magnitude of cardiovascular risk reduction in people with coronary artery disease correlates directly with the magnitude of blood pressure reduction.
Cardiac rehabilitation (including exercise), and smoking cessation all reduce the risk of cardiac events in people with CHD. Antioxidant vitamins (such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, or vitamin C) have no effect on cardiovascular events in high-risk people, and in some cases may actually increase risk of cardiac mortality.We don't know whether changing diet alters the risk of cardiac episodes, although a Mediterranean diet may have some survival benefit over a Western diet.
In selected people, such as those with more-extensive coronary disease and impaired left ventricular function, CABG may improve survival compared with an initial strategy of medical treatment. We don't know how PTCA compares with medical treatment.
We found no consistent difference in mortality or recurrent MI between CABG and PTCA with or without stenting,due to varied results among subgroups and insufficient evidence on stenting when comparing the interventions. PTCA with stenting may be more effective than PTCA alone.
PMCID: PMC2907785

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