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1.  Hepatic Disposal of Advanced Glycation End Products During Maturation and Aging 
Experimental gerontology  2013;48(6):549-556.
Aging is characterized by progressive loss of metabolic and biochemical functions and accumulation of metabolic by-products, including advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are observed in several pathological conditions. A number of waste macromolecules, including AGEs are taken up from the circulation by endocytosis mainly into liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) and Kupffer cells (KCs). However, AGEs still accumulate in different tissues with ageing, despite the presence of this clearance mechanism. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the efficiency of LSECs and KCs for disposal of AGEs changes through aging.
Results
After intravenous administration of 14C-AGE-albumin in pre-pubertal, young adult, middle aged and old mice, more than 90% of total recovered 14C-AGE was liver associated, irrespective of age. LSECs and KCs represented the main site of uptake. A fraction of the 14C-AGE degradation products (14C-AGE-DPs) was stored for months in the lysosomes of these cells after uptake. The overall rate of elimination of 14C-AGE-DPs from the liver was markedly faster in pre-pubertal than in all post-pubertal age groups. The ability to eliminate 14C-AGE-DPs decreased to similar extents after puberty in LSECs and KCs. A rapid early removal phase was characteristic for all age groups except the old group, where this phase was absent.
Conclusions
Removal of AGE-DPs from the liver scavenger cells is a very slow process that changes with age. The ability of these cells to dispose of AGEs declines after puberty. Decreased AGE removal efficiency early in life may lead to AGE accumulation.
doi:10.1016/j.exger.2013.03.005
PMCID: PMC3722431  PMID: 23531498
aging; scavenger cell; liver; lysosome; AGE accumulation; AGE disposal
3.  Adverse Selection? A Multi-Dimensional Profile of People Dispensed Opioid Analgesics for Persistent Non-Cancer Pain 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80095.
Objectives
This study investigates utilisation patterns for prescription opioid analgesics in the Australian community and how these are associated with a framework of individual-level factors related to healthcare use.
Methods
Self-reported demographic and health information from participants in the 45 and Up Study cohort were linked to pharmaceutical claims from 2006–2009. Participants comprised 19,816 people with ≥1 opioid analgesic dispensing in the 12-months after recruitment to the cohort and 79,882 people not dispensed opioid analgesics. All participants were aged ≥45 years, were social security pharmaceutical beneficiaries, with no history of cancer. People dispensed opioid analgesics were classified as having acute (dispensing period <90 days), episodic (≥90 days and <3 ‘authority’ prescriptions for increased quantity supply) or long-term treatment (≥90 days and ≥3 authority prescriptions).
Results
Of participants dispensed opioid analgesic 52% received acute treatment, 25% episodic treatment and 23% long-term treatment. People dispensed opioid analgesics long-term had an average of 14.9 opioid analgesic prescriptions/year from 2.0 doctors compared with 1.5 prescriptions from 1.1 doctors for people receiving acute treatment. People dispensed opioid analgesics reported more need-related factors such as poorer physical functioning and higher psychological distress. Long-term users were more likely to have access-related factors such as low-income and living outside major cities. After simultaneous adjustment, association with predisposing health factors and access diminished, but indicators of need such as osteoarthritis treatment, paracetamol use, and poor physical function were the strongest predictors for all opioid analgesic users.
Conclusions
People dispensed opioid analgesics were in poorer health, reported higher levels of distress and poorer functioning than people not receiving opioid analgesics. Varying dispensing profiles were evident among people dispensed opioid analgesics for persistent pain, with those receiving episodic and long-term treatment dispensed the strongest opioid analgesics. The findings highlight the broad range of factors associated with longer term opioid analgesics use.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080095
PMCID: PMC3846564  PMID: 24312456
4.  Multicenter Study of Posaconazole Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: Exposure-Response Relationship and Factors Affecting Concentration 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):5503-5510.
Posaconazole has an important role in the prophylaxis and salvage treatment of invasive fungal infections (IFIs), although poor and variable bioavailability remains an important clinical concern. Therapeutic drug monitoring of posaconazole concentrations has remained contentious, with the use of relatively small patient cohorts in previous studies hindering the assessment of exposure-response relationships. This multicenter retrospective study aimed to investigate relationships between posaconazole concentration and clinical outcomes and adverse events and to assess clinical factors and drug interactions that may affect posaconazole concentrations. Medical records were reviewed for patients who received posaconazole and had ≥1 concentration measured at six hospitals in Australia. Data from 86 patients with 541 posaconazole concentrations were included in the study. Among 72 patients taking posaconazole for prophylaxis against IFIs, 12 patients (17%) developed a breakthrough fungal infection; median posaconazole concentrations were significantly lower than in those who did not develop fungal infection (median [range], 289 [50 to 471] ng/ml versus 485 [0 to 2,035] ng/ml; P < 0.01). The median posaconazole concentration was a significant predictor of breakthrough fungal infection via binary logistic regression (P < 0.05). A multiple linear regression analysis identified a number of significant drug interactions associated with reduced posaconazole exposure, including coadministration with proton pump inhibitors, metoclopramide, phenytoin or rifampin, and the H2 antagonist ranitidine (P < 0.01). Clinical factors such as mucositis, diarrhea, and the early posttransplant period in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients were also associated with reduced posaconazole exposure (P < 0.01). Low posaconazole concentrations are common and are associated with breakthrough fungal infection, supporting the utility of monitoring posaconazole concentrations to ensure optimal systemic exposure.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00802-12
PMCID: PMC3486529  PMID: 22890761
5.  PACE – the first placebo controlled trial of paracetamol for acute low back pain: statistical analysis plan 
Trials  2013;14:248.
Background
Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is recommended in most clinical practice guidelines as the first choice of treatment for low back pain, however there is limited evidence to support this recommendation. The PACE trial is the first placebo controlled trial of paracetamol for acute low back pain. This article describes the statistical analysis plan.
Results
PACE is a randomized double dummy placebo controlled trial that investigates and compares the effect of paracetamol taken in two regimens for the treatment of low back pain. The protocol has been published. The analysis plan was completed blind to study group and finalized prior to initiation of analyses. All data collected as part of the trial were reviewed, without stratification by group, and classified by baseline characteristics, process of care and trial outcomes. Trial outcomes were classified as primary and secondary outcomes. Appropriate descriptive statistics and statistical testing of between-group differences, where relevant, have been planned and described.
Conclusions
A standard analysis plan was developed for the results of the PACE study. This plan comprehensively describes the data captured and pre-determined statistical tests of relevant outcome measures. The plan demonstrates transparent and verifiable use of the data collected. This a priori plan will be followed to ensure rigorous standards of data analysis are strictly adhered to.
Trial registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000966291
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-248
PMCID: PMC3750911  PMID: 23937999
Acetaminophen; Back pain; Paracetamol; Statistical analysis plan; Randomised controlled trial
6.  PRECISE - pregabalin in addition to usual care for sciatica: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:213.
Background
Sciatica is a type of neuropathic pain that is characterised by pain radiating into the leg. It is often accompanied by low back pain and neurological deficits in the lower limb. While this condition may cause significant suffering for the individual, the lack of evidence supporting effective treatments for sciatica makes clinical management difficult. Our objectives are to determine the efficacy of pregabalin on reducing leg pain intensity and its cost-effectiveness in patients with sciatica.
Methods/Design
PRECISE is a prospectively registered, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial of pregabalin compared to placebo, in addition to usual care. Inclusion criteria include moderate to severe leg pain below the knee with evidence of nerve root/spinal nerve involvement. Participants will be randomised to receive either pregabalin with usual care (n = 102) or placebo with usual care (n = 102) for 8 weeks. The medicine dosage will be titrated up to the participant’s optimal dose, to a maximum 600 mg per day. Follow up consultations will monitor individual progress, tolerability and adverse events. Usual care, if deemed appropriate by the study doctor, may include a referral for physical or manual therapy and/or prescription of analgesic medication. Participants, doctors and researchers collecting participant data will be blinded to treatment allocation. Participants will be assessed at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12, 26 and 52. The primary outcome will determine the efficacy of pregabalin in reducing leg pain intensity. Secondary outcomes will include back pain intensity, disability and quality of life. Data analysis will be blinded and by intention-to-treat. A parallel economic evaluation will be conducted from health sector and societal perspectives.
Discussion
This study will establish the efficacy of pregabalin in reducing leg pain intensity in patients with sciatica and provide important information regarding the effect of pregabalin treatment on disability and quality of life. The impact of this research may allow the future development of a cost-effective conservative treatment strategy for patients with sciatica.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrial.gov, ACTRN 12613000530729
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-213
PMCID: PMC3711833  PMID: 23845078
Sciatica; Pregabalin; Neuropathic pain; Randomised control trial
7.  Vincristine Chemotherapy Trials and Pharmacokinetics in Tasmanian Devils with Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65133.
Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) is a transmissible cancer threatening to cause the extinction of Tasmanian Devils in the wild. The aim of this study was to determine the susceptibility of the DFTD to vincristine. Escalating dosage rates of vincristine (0.05 to 0.136 mg/kg) were given to Tasmanian devils in the early stages of DFTD (n = 8). None of these dosage rates impacted the outcome of the disease. A dosage rate of 0.105 mg/kg, a rate significantly higher than that given in humans or domestic animals, was found to the highest dosage rate that could be administered safely. Signs of toxicity included anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea and neutropenia. Pharmacokinetic studies showed that, as with other species, there was a rapid drop in blood concentration following a rapid intravenous infusion with a high volume of distribution (1.96 L/kg) and a relatively long elimination half life (11 h). Plasma clearance (1.8 ml/min/kg) was slower in the Tasmanian devil than in humans, suggesting that pharmacodynamics and not pharmacokinetics explain the Tasmanian devil’s ability to tolerate high dosage rates of vincristine. While providing base-line data for the use of vincristine in Tasmanian devils and possibly other marsupials with vincristine susceptible cancers, these findings strongly suggest that vincristine will not be effective in the treatment of DFTD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065133
PMCID: PMC3675106  PMID: 23762298
8.  Investigation of herb-drug interactions with ginkgo biloba in women receiving hormonal treatment for early breast cancer 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:126.
Women receiving treatment for breast cancer commonly ingest herbal medicines. Little is known about the potential for herb-drug interactions in this population. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of ginkgo biloba co-administration on the pharmacokinetics of tamoxifen, anastrozole and letrozole. This was a prospective open-label cross-over study in 60 women with early stage breast cancer taking either tamoxifen, anastrozole or letrozole (n=20/group). Participants received ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) for 3 weeks (120 mg twice daily). Trough concentrations of drugs were measured before and after ginkgo biloba treatment using LC-MS/MS. Toxicities were graded according to National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events. Trough concentrations before and after treatment with ginkgo biloba were not significantly different for tamoxifen (93.5 ± 29.0, 86.5 ± 25.3 ng/mL; p=0.16), letrozole (91.1 ± 50.4, 89.6 ± 52.14 ng/mL; p=0.60) or anastrozole (29.1 ± 8.6, 29.1 ± 7.6 ng/mL; p=0.97). Ginkgo biloba was well tolerated, with no difference in toxicity during ginkgo biloba. Co-administration of ginkgo biloba does not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of tamoxifen, anastrozole or letrozole. There was no difference in the toxicity profile of hormone therapy with ginkgo biloba use in women with early stage breast cancer.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-126
PMCID: PMC3625417  PMID: 23596562
Anastrozole; Ginkgo biloba; Herb-drug interaction; Letrozole; Tamoxifen
9.  Statin use and clinical outcomes in older men: a prospective population-based study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e002333.
Objective
The aim of this analysis was to investigate the relationship of statins with institutionalisation and death in older men living in the community, accounting for frailty.
Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting
Community-dwelling men participating in the Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project, Sydney, Australia.
Participants
Men aged ≥70 years (n=1665).
Measurements
Data collected during baseline assessments and follow-up (maximum of 6.79 years) were obtained. Information regarding statin use was captured at baseline, between 2005 and 2007. Proportional hazards regression analysis was conducted to estimate the risk of institutionalisation and death according to statin use (exposure, duration and dose) and frailty status, with adjustment for sociodemographics, medical diagnosis and other clinically relevant factors. A secondary analysis used propensity score matching to replicate covariate adjustment in regression models.
Results
At baseline, 43% of participants reported taking statins. Over 6.79 years of follow-up, 132 (7.9%) participants were institutionalised and 358 (21.5%) participants had died. In the adjusted models, baseline statin use was not statistically associated with increased risk of institutionalisation (HR=1.60; 95% CI 0.98 to 2.63) or death (HR=0.88; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.18). There was no significant association between duration and dose of statins used with either outcome. Propensity scoring yielded similar findings. Compared with non-frail participants not prescribed statins, the adjusted HR for institutionalisation for non-frail participants prescribed statins was 1.43 (95% CI 0.81 to 2.51); for frail participants not prescribed statins, it was 2.07 (95% CI 1.11 to 3.86) and for frail participants prescribed statins, it was 4.34 (95% CI 2.02 to 9.33).
Conclusions
These data suggest a lack of significant association between statin use and institutionalisation or death in older men. These findings call for real-world trials specifically designed for frail older people to examine the impact of statins on clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002333
PMCID: PMC3612783  PMID: 23474793
Clinical Pharmacology; Geriatric Medicine
10.  Multicenter Study of Voriconazole Pharmacokinetics and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring 
Voriconazole is a first-line agent in the treatment of many invasive fungal infections and is known to display highly variable pharmacokinetics. Previous studies of voriconazole therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) have suggested concentration monitoring to be clinically useful but have been limited by small patient samples at a single institution. This multicenter retrospective study aimed to investigate relationships between voriconazole concentration and clinical outcomes and adverse events and to assess clinical factors and drug interactions that may affect voriconazole concentration. Medical records were reviewed for patients who received voriconazole and had at least 1 concentration measured at seven hospitals in Australia. The study included 201 patients with 783 voriconazole trough concentrations. Voriconazole concentrations of <1.7 mg/liter were associated with a significantly greater incidence of treatment failure (19/74 patients [26%]) than concentrations of ≥1.7 mg/liter (6/89 patients [7%]) (P < 0.01). Neurotoxic adverse events (visual and auditory hallucinations) occurred more frequently at voriconazole concentrations of >5 mg/liter (10/31 patients [32%]) than at concentrations of ≤5 mg/liter (2/170 patients [1.2%]) (P < 0.01). Multiple regression analysis of voriconazole concentration identified associations between increasing patient weight, oral administration of voriconazole, and coadministration of phenytoin or rifampin and significantly reduced concentrations, and associations between increasing patient age and coadministration of proton pump inhibitors and increased concentrations. Coadministration of glucocorticoids was found to significantly reduce voriconazole concentrations, inferring a previously unreported drug interaction between glucocorticoids and voriconazole.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00626-12
PMCID: PMC3421881  PMID: 22751544
11.  High risk prescribing in older adults: prevalence, clinical and economic implications and potential for intervention at the population level 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:115.
Background
High risk prescribing can compromise independent wellbeing and quality of life in older adults. The aims of this project are to determine the prevalence, risk factors, clinical consequences, and costs of high risk prescribing, and to assess the impact of interventions on high risk prescribing in older people.
Methods
The proposed project will utilise data from the 45 and Up Study, a large scale cohort of 267,153 men and women aged 45 and over recruited during 2006–2009 from the state of New South Wales, Australia linked to a range of administrative health datasets. High risk prescribing will be assessed using three indicators: polypharmacy (use of five or more medicines); Beers Criteria (an explicit measure of potentially inappropriate medication use); and Drug Burden Index (a pharmacologic dose-dependent measure of cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medicines). Individual risk factors from the 45 and Up Study questionnaire, and health system characteristics from health datasets that are associated with the likelihood of high risk prescribing will be identified. The main outcome measures will include hospitalisation (first admission to hospital, total days in hospital, cause-specific hospitalisation); admission to institutionalised care; all-cause mortality, and, where possible, cause-specific mortality. Economic costs to the health care system and implications of high risk prescribing will be also investigated. In addition, changes in high risk prescribing will be evaluated in relation to certain routine medicines-related interventions. The statistical analysis will be conducted using standard pharmaco-epidemiological methods including descriptive analysis, univariate and multivariate regression analysis, controlling for relevant confounding factors, using a number of different approaches.
Discussion
The availability of large-scale data is useful to identify opportunities for improving prescribing, and health in older adults. The size of the 45 and Up Study, along with linkage to health databases provides an important opportunity to investigate the relationship between high risk prescribing and adverse outcomes in a real-world population of older adults.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-115
PMCID: PMC3570486  PMID: 23388494
High-risk prescribing; Prevalence; Clinical outcomes; Costs; Older adults
12.  Clinical Pharmacology of Chemotherapy Agents in Older People with Cancer 
Populations around the world are aging, and the associated increase in cancer incidence has led to the recognition of the importance of geriatric oncology. Chronological age is a poor determinant of pharmacological response to cancer chemotherapy agents. Age-associated changes in physiology and organ function have a significant impact on the clinical pharmacology of cancer chemotherapy agents used in cancer treatment. Altered response to medicines in older people is a consequence of changes in body composition, organ function, concomitant pathophysiology, multiple medications, genetic determinants of drug response, and patient's clinical status. These issues highlight the need to individualize the management of cancer in the older people with consideration of age-related changes in the clinical pharmacology of cancer drugs, analgesics, and adjunctive therapies.
doi:10.1155/2011/628670
PMCID: PMC3154497  PMID: 21845189
13.  Aging Biology and Novel Targets for Drug Discovery 
Despite remarkable technological advances in genetics and drug screening, the discovery of new pharmacotherapies has slowed and new approaches to drug development are needed. Research into the biology of aging is generating many novel targets for drug development that may delay all age-related diseases and be used long term by the entire population. Drugs that successfully delay the aging process will clearly become “blockbusters.” To date, the most promising leads have come from studies of the cellular pathways mediating the longevity effects of caloric restriction (CR), particularly target of rapamycin and the sirtuins. Similar research into pathways governing other hormetic responses that influence aging is likely to yield even more targets. As aging becomes a more attractive target for drug development, there will be increasing demand to develop biomarkers of aging as surrogate outcomes for the testing of the effects of new agents on the aging process.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glr095
PMCID: PMC4007976  PMID: 21693687
14.  Posaconazole Exposure-Response Relationship: Evaluating the Utility of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring 
Posaconazole has become an important part of the antifungal armamentarium in the prophylaxis and salvage treatment of invasive fungal infections (IFIs). Structurally related to itraconazole, posaconazole displays low oral bioavailability due to poor solubility, with significant drug interactions and gastrointestinal disease also contributing to the generally low posaconazole plasma concentrations observed in patients. While therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of plasma concentrations is widely accepted for other triazole antifungal agents such as voriconazole, the utility of TDM for posaconazole is controversial due to debate over the relationship between posaconazole exposure in plasma and clinical response to therapy. This review examines the available evidence for a relationship between plasma concentration and clinical efficacy for posaconazole, as well as evaluating the utility of TDM and providing provisional target concentrations for posaconazole therapy. Increasing evidence supports an exposure-response relationship for plasma posaconazole concentrations for prophylaxis and treatment of IFIs; a clear relationship has not been identified between posaconazole concentration and toxicity. Intracellular and intrapulmonary concentrations have been studied for posaconazole but have not been correlated to clinical outcomes. In view of the high mortality and cost associated with the treatment of IFIs, increasing evidence of an exposure-response relationship for posaconazole efficacy in the prevention and treatment of IFIs, and the common finding of low posaconazole concentrations in patients, TDM for posaconazole is likely to be of significant clinical utility. In patients with subtherapeutic posaconazole concentrations, increased dose frequency, administration with high-fat meals, and withdrawal of interacting medications from therapy are useful strategies to improve systemic absorption.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05900-11
PMCID: PMC3370770  PMID: 22391534
15.  Population pharmacokinetics and dosing regimen design of milrinone in preterm infants 
Aims
To define the pharmacokinetics of milrinone in very preterm infants and determine an optimal dose regimen to prevent low systemic blood flow in the first 12 h after birth.
Methods
A prospective open‐labelled, dose‐escalation pharmacokinetic study was undertaken in two stages. In stage one, infants received milrinone at 0.25 μg/kg/min (n = 8) and 0.5 μg/kg/min (n = 11) infused from 3 to 24 h of age. Infants contributed 4–5 blood samples for concentration–time data which were analysed using a population modelling approach. A simulation study was used to explore the optimal dosing regimen to achieve target milrinone concentrations (180–300 ng/ml). This milrinone regimen was evaluated in stage two (n = 10).
Results
Infants (n = 29) born before 29 weeks gestation were enrolled. Milrinone pharmacokinetics were described using a one‐compartment model with first‐order elimination rate, with a population mean clearance (CV%) of 35 ml/h (24%) and volume of distribution of 512 ml (21%) and estimated half‐life of 10 h. The 0.25 and 0.5 μg/kg/min dosage regimens did not achieve optimal milrinone concentration‐time profiles to prevent early low systemic blood flow. Simulation studies predicted a loading infusion (0.75 μg/kg/min for 3 h) followed by maintenance infusion (0.2 μg/kg/min until 18 h of age) would provide an optimal milrinone concentration profile. This was confirmed in stage two of the study.
Conclusion
Population pharmacokinetic modelling in the preterm infant has established an optimal dose regimen for milrinone that increases the likelihood of achieving therapeutic aims and highlights the importance of pharmacokinetic studies in neonatal clinical pharmacology.
doi:10.1136/adc.2005.092817
PMCID: PMC2675339  PMID: 16690639
FOCE; first‐order approximation with condition estimation; HPLC; high performance liquid chromatography; P/IVH; peri/intraventricular haemorrhage; SVC; superior vena cava
16.  Age-Related Pseudocapillarization of the Liver Sinusoidal Endothelium Impairs the Hepatic Clearance of Acetaminophen in Rats 
We investigated the effect of age-related pseudocapillarization of the liver sinusoidal endothelium on the hepatic disposition of acetaminophen. The multiple indicator dilution technique assessed the hepatic disposition of tracer 14C-acetaminophen and reference markers in isolated perfused livers of young (n = 11) and old (n = 12) rats. Electron microscopy confirmed defenestration of the sinusoidal endothelium in old rats compared with young rats. Acetaminophen recovery following a single pass through the liver was significantly increased in old rats (0.64 ± 0.04, old; 0.59 ± 0.05, young; p < .05). In old age, there was significant reduction of the intercompartmental rate constant k1 (0.34 ± 0.10s-1, old; 0.61 ± 0.38s-1, young; p < .05) and the permeability-surface area product for the transfer of acetaminophen across the sinusoidal endothelium (0.034 ± 0.006 mL/s/g, old; 0.048 ± 0.014 mL/s/g, young; p < .005). There was no difference in k3, the measure of sequestration of acetaminophen that reflects enzyme activity. Age-related pseudocapillarization of the liver sinusoid resulted in increased acetaminophen recovery and decreased transfer of acetaminophen into the liver.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glq221
PMCID: PMC3055277  PMID: 21300741
Acetaminophen; Pseudocapillarization; Aging; Isolated liver perfusion; Extraction
17.  PACE - The first placebo controlled trial of paracetamol for acute low back pain: design of a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Clinical practice guidelines recommend that the initial treatment of acute low back pain (LBP) should consist of advice to stay active and regular simple analgesics such as paracetamol 4 g daily. Despite this recommendation in all international LBP guidelines there are no placebo controlled trials assessing the efficacy of paracetamol for LBP at any dose or dose regimen. This study aims to determine whether 4 g of paracetamol daily (in divided doses) results in a more rapid recovery from acute LBP than placebo. A secondary aim is to determine if ingesting paracetamol in a time-contingent manner is more effective than paracetamol taken when required (PRN) for recovery from acute LBP.
Methods/Design
The study is a randomised double dummy placebo controlled trial. 1650 care seeking people with significant acute LBP will be recruited. All participants will receive advice to stay active and will be randomised to 1 of 3 treatment groups: time-contingent paracetamol dose regimen (plus placebo PRN paracetamol), PRN paracetamol (plus placebo time-contingent paracetamol) or a double placebo study arm. The primary outcome will be time (days) to recovery from pain recorded in a daily pain diary. Other outcomes will be pain intensity, disability, function, global perceived effect and sleep quality, captured at baseline and at weeks 1, 2, 4 and 12 by an assessor blind to treatment allocation. An economic analysis will be conducted to determine the cost-effectiveness of treatment from the health sector and societal perspectives.
Discussion
The successful completion of the trial will provide the first high quality evidence on the effectiveness of the use of paracetamol, a guideline endorsed treatment for acute LBP.
Trail registration
ACTRN12609000966291.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-169
PMCID: PMC2918542  PMID: 20650012
18.  Population Pharmacokinetics of Liposomal Amphotericin B in Pediatric Patients with Malignant Diseases 
A population pharmacokinetic model of liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) in pediatric patients with malignant diseases was developed and evaluated. Blood samples were collected from 39 pediatric oncology patients who received multiple doses of L-AmB with a dose range from 0.8 to 5.9 mg/kg of body weight/day. The patient cohort had an average age of 7 years (range, 0.2 to 17 years) and weighed an average of 28.8 ± 19.8 kg. Population pharmacokinetic analyses were performed with NONMEM software. Pharmacokinetic parameters, interindividual variability (IIV), between-occasion variability (BOV), and intraindividual variability were estimated. The influence of patient characteristics on the pharmacokinetics of L-AmB was explored. The final population pharmacokinetic model was evaluated by using a bootstrap sampling technique. The L-AmB plasma concentration-time data was described by a two-compartment pharmacokinetic model with zero-order input and first-order elimination. The population mean estimates of clearance (CL) and volume of distribution in the central compartment (V1) were 0.44 liters/h and 3.12 liters, respectively, and exhibited IIV (CL, 10%) and significant BOV (CL, 46% and V1, 56%). The covariate models were CL (liters/h) = 0.44 · e0.0152 ·(WT − 21) and V1 (liters) = 3.12 · e0.0241 · (WT − 21), where WT is the patient's body weight (kg) centered on the study population cohort median of 21 kg. Model evaluation by the bootstrap procedure indicated that the full pharmacokinetic model was robust and parameter estimates were accurate. In conclusion, the pharmacokinetics of L-AmB in pediatric oncology patients were adequately described by the developed population model. The model has been evaluated and can be used in the design of rational dosing strategies for L-AmB antifungal therapy in this special population.
doi:10.1128/AAC.50.3.935-942.2006
PMCID: PMC1426421  PMID: 16495254
19.  Community pharmacy services to optimise the use of medications for mental illness: a systematic review 
The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the impact of pharmacist delivered community-based services to optimise the use of medications for mental illness. Twenty-two controlled (randomised and non-randomised) studies of pharmacists' interventions in community and residential aged care settings identified in international scientific literature were included for review. Papers were assessed for study design, service recipient, country of origin, intervention type, number of participating pharmacists, methodological quality and outcome measurement. Three studies showed that pharmacists' medication counselling and treatment monitoring can improve adherence to antidepressant medications among those commencing treatment when calculated using an intention-to-treat analysis. Four trials demonstrated that pharmacist conducted medication reviews may reduce the number of potentially inappropriate medications prescribed to those at high risk of medication misadventure. The results of this review provide some evidence that pharmacists can contribute to optimising the use of medications for mental illness in the community setting. However, more well designed studies are needed to assess the impact of pharmacists as members of community mental health teams and as providers of comprehensive medicines information to people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-2-29
PMCID: PMC1345690  PMID: 16336646
20.  Manipulative therapy and/or NSAIDs for acute low back pain: design of a randomized controlled trial [ACTRN012605000036617] 
Background
Acute low back pain is a common condition resulting in pain and disability. Current national and international guidelines advocate general practitioner care including advice and paracetamol (4 g daily in otherwise well adults) as the first line of care for people with acute low back pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) are advocated in many guidelines as second line management options for patients with acute low back pain who are not recovering. No studies have explored the role of NSAIDs and/or SMT in addition to first line management for acute low back pain. The primary aim of this study is to investigate if NSAIDs and/or SMT in addition to general practitioner advice and paracetamol results in shorter recovery times for patients with acute low back pain. The secondary aims of the study are to evaluate whether the addition of SMT and/or NSAIDs influences pain, disability and global perceived effect at 1, 2, 4 and 12 weeks after onset of therapy for patients with significant acute low back pain.
Methods/design
This paper presents the rationale and design of a randomised controlled trial examining the addition of NSAIDs and/or SMT in 240 people who present to their general practitioner with significant acute low back pain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-57
PMCID: PMC1298305  PMID: 16280089
21.  Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Model for Terbinafine in Rats and Humans 
The aim of this study was to develop a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PB-PK) model capable of describing and predicting terbinafine concentrations in plasma and tissues in rats and humans. A PB-PK model consisting of 12 tissue and 2 blood compartments was developed using concentration-time data for tissues from rats (n = 33) after intravenous bolus administration of terbinafine (6 mg/kg of body weight). It was assumed that all tissues except skin and testis tissues were well-stirred compartments with perfusion rate limitations. The uptake of terbinafine into skin and testis tissues was described by a PB-PK model which incorporates a membrane permeability rate limitation. The concentration-time data for terbinafine in human plasma and tissues were predicted by use of a scaled-up PB-PK model, which took oral absorption into consideration. The predictions obtained from the global PB-PK model for the concentration-time profile of terbinafine in human plasma and tissues were in close agreement with the observed concentration data for rats. The scaled-up PB-PK model provided an excellent prediction of published terbinafine concentration-time data obtained after the administration of single and multiple oral doses in humans. The estimated volume of distribution at steady state (Vss) obtained from the PB-PK model agreed with the reported value of 11 liters/kg. The apparent volume of distribution of terbinafine in skin and adipose tissues accounted for 41 and 52%, respectively, of the Vss for humans, indicating that uptake into and redistribution from these tissues dominate the pharmacokinetic profile of terbinafine. The PB-PK model developed in this study was capable of accurately predicting the plasma and tissue terbinafine concentrations in both rats and humans and provides insight into the physiological factors that determine terbinafine disposition.
doi:10.1128/AAC.46.7.2219-2228.2002
PMCID: PMC127287  PMID: 12069977
22.  Pharmacokinetics of Ciprofloxacin in the Human Eye: a Clinical Study and Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis 
Ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic active against a wide variety of bacteria, is one of a few antibiotics which enters the human eye after oral administration. However, little is known about its pharmacokinetics in the human eye. One or two oral doses of 750 mg of ciprofloxacin (at a 12-h interval) were administered to 48 patients at various times prior to ocular surgery. Clotted blood, aqueous, and vitreous were collected at surgery, and the concentrations of ciprofloxacin were assayed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Our data were combined with those of others, and a population pharmacokinetic analysis was conducted. The concentrations of ciprofloxacin in both aqueous and vitreous were lower than those in serum and peaked at a later time. The pharmacokinetics of ciprofloxacin in aqueous and vitreous were fitted to a compartmental model in which the antibiotic was transferred into and out of the two compartments (aqueous and vitreous) by first-order processes. Population pharmacokinetic software, P-Pharm, was used to calculate the mean half-lives of the loss of ciprofloxacin from aqueous and vitreous, which were 3.5 and 5.3 h, respectively. At steady state, the mean ratios of then concentrations in aqueous and vitreous to the concentrations in serum were 23 and 17%, respectively. After the administration of one or two doses of 750 mg of ciprofloxacin, the concentrations in both aqueous and vitreous in a number of patients were lower than the MICs at which 90% of isolates are inhibited (0.5 mg/liter) for common intraocular bacterial pathogens. Simulations of concentrations in the eye after the administration of higher doses (1,500 mg of ciprofloxacin as a single dose, two doses of 750 mg 2 h apart, and 750 mg every 6 h) indicated that in approximately 20% of patients the concentrations would still be below 0.5 mg/liter. Although oral ciprofloxacin may be a beneficial adjunctive therapy, the use of oral ciprofloxacin alone may not be adequate for perioperative prophylaxis or for treatment of bacterial endophthalmitis.
PMCID: PMC89931  PMID: 10817727
23.  Amphotericin B in Children with Malignant Disease: a Comparison of the Toxicities and Pharmacokinetics of Amphotericin B Administered in Dextrose versus Lipid Emulsion 
In a prospective, randomized clinical trial, the toxicity of 1 mg of amphotericin B (AmB) per kg of body weight per day infused in 5% dextrose was compared with that of AmB infused in lipid emulsion in children with malignant disease. In an analysis of 82 children who received a full course of 6 days or more of AmB (117 courses), it was shown that there were significant increases in plasma urea and creatinine concentrations and in potassium requirement after 6 days of therapy with both AmB infused in dextrose and AmB infused in lipid emulsion, with there being no difference between the two methods of AmB administration. An intent-to-treat comparison of the numbers of courses affected by acute toxicity (fever, rigors) and chronic toxicity (nephrotoxicity) also indicated that there was no significant difference between AmB infused in dextrose (78 courses) and AmB infused in lipid emulsion (84 courses). The pharmacokinetics of AmB were investigated in 20 children who received AmB in dextrose and 15 children who received AmB in lipid emulsion. Blood samples were collected up to 24 h after administration of the first dose, and the concentration of AmB in plasma was analyzed by a high-performance liquid chromatography assay. The clearance (CL) of AmB in dextrose (0.039 ± 0.016 liter · h−1 · kg−1) was significantly lower (P < 0.005) than the CL of AmB in lipid emulsion (0.062 ± 0.024 liter · h−1 · kg−1). The steady-state volume of distribution for AmB in dextrose (0.83 ± 0.33 liter · kg−1) was also significantly lower (P < 0.005) than that for AmB in lipid emulsion (1.47 ± 0.77 liter · kg−1). Although AmB in lipid emulsion is apparently cleared faster and distributes more widely than AmB in dextrose, this study did not reveal any significant advantage with respect to safety and tolerance in the administration of AmB in lipid emulsion compared to its administration in dextrose in children with malignant disease.
PMCID: PMC89289  PMID: 10348763
24.  Drugs for relief of pain in patients with sciatica: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Objective To investigate the efficacy and tolerability of analgesic and adjuvant pain drugs typically administered in primary care for the management of patients with sciatica.
Design Systematic review.
Data source International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, PsycINFO, Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials (CENTRAL), CINAHL, and LILACS.
Study selection Randomised controlled trials assessing the efficacy and tolerability of drugs versus placebo or other treatment for sciatica.
Data extraction Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed methodological quality using the PEDro scale. Pain and disability outcomes were converted to a common 0 to 100 scale. Data were pooled with a random effects model, and the GRADE approach was used in summary conclusions.
Results Twenty three published reports met the inclusion criteria. The evidence to judge the efficacy of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, and opioid analgesics ranged from moderate to low quality. Most of the pooled estimates did not favour the active treatment over placebo. The pooled results of two trials of corticosteroids (mean difference in overall and leg pain −12.2, 95% confidence interval −20.9 to −3.4) and a single trial of the anticonvulsant gabapentin for chronic sciatica (mean difference in overall pain relief −26.6, −38.3 to −14.9) showed some benefits but only in the short term. The median rate of adverse events was 17% (interquartile range 10-30%) for the active drugs and 11% (3-23%) for placebo. Trial limitations included failure to use validated outcome measures, lack of long term follow-up, and small sample size.
Conclusions As the existing evidence from clinical trials is of low quality, the efficacy and tolerability of drugs commonly prescribed for the management of sciatica in primary care is unclear.
doi:10.1136/bmj.e497
PMCID: PMC3278391  PMID: 22331277

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