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1.  Calcium channel blockers and cancer: a risk analysis using the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) 
BMJ Open  2016;6(1):e009147.
The evidence of an association between calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and cancer is conflicting. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the risk of cancer (all, breast, prostate and colon cancers) in association with exposure to CCB.
This is a population-based cohort study in patients exposed to CCBs from across the UK, using two comparison cohorts: (1) patients with no exposure to CCB (non-CCB) matched on age and gender and (2) unmatched patients unexposed to CCB and at least one other antihypertensive (AHT) prescription. Cancer incidence rates computed in the exposed and the two unexposed groups were compared using HRs and 95% CIs obtained from multivariate Cox regression analyses.
Overall, 150 750, 557 931 and 156 966 patients were included, respectively, in the CCB, non-CCB and AHT cohorts. Crude cancer incidence rates per 1000 person-years were 16.51, 15.75 and 10.62 for the three cohorts, respectively. Adjusted HRs (CI) for all cancers comparing CCB, non-CCB and AHT cohorts were 0.88 (0.86 to 0.89) and 1.01 (0.98 to 1.04), respectively. Compared to the AHT cohort, adjusted HRs (CI) for breast, prostate and colon cancer for the CCB cohort were 0.95 (0.87 to 1.04), 1.07 (0.98 to 1.16) and 0.89 (0.81 to 0.98), respectively. Analyses by duration of exposure to CCB did not show excess risk.
This large population-based study provides strong evidence that CCB use is not associated with an increased risk of cancer. The analyses yielded robust results across all types of cancer and different durations of exposure to CCBs.
PMCID: PMC4716173  PMID: 26747033
2.  Management of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by Different Medical Practices, Including Homeopathy, and Consumption of Antibiotics in Primary Care: The EPI3 Cohort Study in France 2007–2008 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e89990.
Prescribing of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) varies substantially in primary care.
To describe and compare antibiotic and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs use, URTI symptoms' resolution and occurrence of potentially-associated infections in patients seeking care from general practitioners (GPs) who exclusively prescribe conventional medications (GP-CM), regularly prescribe homeopathy within a mixed practice (GP-Mx), or are certified homeopathic GPs (GP-Ho).
The EPI3 survey was a nationwide population-based study of a representative sample of 825 GPs and their patients in France (2007–2008). GP recruitment was stratified by self-declared homeopathic prescribing preferences. Adults and children with confirmed URTI were asked to participate in a standardized telephone interview at inclusion, one-, three- and twelve-month follow up. Study outcomes included medication consumption, URTI symptoms' resolution and potentially-associated infections (sinusitis or otitis media/externa) as reported by patients. Analyses included calibration to account for non-respondents and groups were compared using multivate analyses adjusting for baseline differences with a propensity score.
518 adults and children with URTI (79.3% rhinopharyngitis) were included (36.9% response rate comparable between groups). As opposed to GP-CM patients, patients in the GP-Ho group showed significantly lower consumption of antibiotics (Odds ratio (OR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.27–0.68) and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs (OR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.38–0.76) with similar evolution in related symptoms (OR = 1.16, 95% CI: 0.64–2.10). An excess of potentially-associated infections (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 0.90–3.20) was observed in the GP-Ho group (not statistically significant). No difference was found between GP-CM and GP-Mx patients.
Patients who chose to consult GPs certified in homeopathy used less antibiotics and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs for URTI than those seen by GPs prescribing conventional medications. No difference was observed in patients consulting GPs within mixed-practice. A non-statistically significant excess was estimated through modelling for associated infections in the GP-Ho group and needs to be further studied.
PMCID: PMC3960096  PMID: 24646513
3.  Who seeks primary care for sleep, anxiety and depressive disorders from physicians prescribing homeopathic and other complementary medicine? Results from the EPI3 population survey 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001498.
To describe and compare patients seeking treatment for sleep, anxiety and depressive disorders (SADD) from physicians in general practice (GPs) with three different practice preferences: strictly conventional medicine (GP-CM), mixed complementary and conventional medicine (GP-Mx) and certified homeopathic physicians (GP-Ho).
Design and setting
The EPI3 survey was a nationwide, observational study of a representative sample of GPs and their patients, conducted in France between March 2007 and July 2008.
1572 patients diagnosed with SADD.
Primary and secondary outcomes
The patients’ attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine; psychotropic drug utilisation.
Compared to patients attending GP-CM, GP-Ho patients had healthier lifestyles while GP-Mx patients showed similar profiles. Psychotropic drugs were more likely to be prescribed by GP-CM (64%) than GP-Mx (55.4%) and GP-Ho (31.2%). The three groups of patients shared similar SADD severity.
Our results showed that patients with SADD, while differing principally in their sociodemographic profiles and conventional psychotropic prescriptions, were actually rather similar regarding the severity of SADD in terms of comorbidities and quality of life. This information may help to better plan resource allocation and management of these common health problems in primary care.
PMCID: PMC3532988  PMID: 23180389
4.  Benchmarking the burden of 100 diseases: results of a nationwide representative survey within general practices 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000215.
To assess the burden of diseases and quality of life (QOL) of patients for a large variety of diseases within general practice.
In a representative nationwide cross-sectional study, a total of 825 general practitioners (GPs) were randomly selected from across France. Independent investigators recruited 8559 patients attending the GPs' practices. Data on QOL (12-Item Short Form questionnaire) and other individual characteristics were documented by the independent investigators for all participants in the waiting room. Medical information was recorded by GPs. Sampling was calibrated to national standards using the CALMAR (CALage sur MARges) weighting procedure. Associations of lower scores (ie, below vs above the first quartile) of physical and mental component scores (physical component summary score (PCS) and mental component summary score (MCS), respectively) with main diseases and patients characteristics were estimated using multivariate logistic regression. Weighted morbidity rates, PCS and MCS were computed for 100 diagnoses using the International Classification of Diseases (9th version).
Overall mental impairment was observed among patients in primary care with an average MCS of 41.5 (SD 8.6), ranging from 33.0 for depressive disorders to 45.3 for patients exhibiting fractures or sprains. Musculoskeletal diseases were found to have the most pronounced effect on impaired physical health (OR=2.31; 95% CI 2.08 to 2.57) with the lowest PCS (45.6 (SD 8.8)) and ranked first (29.0%) among main diagnoses experienced by patients followed by cardiovascular diseases (26.7%) and psychological disorders (22.0%). When combining both prevalence and QOL, musculoskeletal diseases represented the heaviest burden in general practice.
Etude épidémiologique de l'Impact de santé public sur 3 groupes de pathologies (EPI3) is the first study to provide reference figures for burden of disease in general practice across a wide range of morbidities, particularly valuable for health-economics and healthcare-system evaluation.
Article summary
Article focus
The impact of diseases on quality of life (QOL) in general practice has been assessed among selected samples of patients, usually from studies including a limited number of medical practices and/or focusing mainly on chronic conditions.
There is a clear need for more data on QOL of patients in primary care; the aim of the Etude épidémiologique de l'Impact de santé public sur 3 groupes de pathologies (EPI3) survey was to provide reference figures for disease burden in this setting.
Key messages
The EPI3 study was a cross-sectional survey combining unique data from patients and general practitioners (GPs), and allowed provision of reference figures for the vast majority of diseases encountered in primary care for a large number of patients.
The study highlighted the burden of musculoskeletal and psychological disorders, experienced by more than half the patients.
Although social and medical determinants of patients' QOL were somewhat similar than those found in previous studies in primary care, the EPI3 survey showed more pronounced mental impairment in French patients.
Strengths and limitations of this study
No nationwide study on burden of disease combining both prevalence measures and QOL assessment has been conducted to date, addressing such a large variety of diseases in general practice.
On-site selection and recruitment by an independent investigator limited the possibility of selection bias among patients, and the participation of physicians added high specificity to medical data collection.
A study design providing a high specificity in data collection led to a relatively low response rate from GPs. However, stratified recruitment phases and sample sizes from both GPs and patients highly representative of national standards ensured the strong external validity of the results.
Home consultations, which are common among GPs in France, were not surveyed which could have led to an underestimation of the burden of disease.
PMCID: PMC3221295  PMID: 22102638
5.  Benchmarking clinical management of spinal and non-spinal disorders using quality of life: results from the EPI3-LASER survey in primary care 
European Spine Journal  2011;20(12):2210-2216.
Concerns have been raised regarding sub-optimal utilization of analgesics and psychotropic drugs in the treatment of patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and their associated co-morbidities. The objective of this study was to describe drug prescriptions for the management of spinal and non-spinal MSDs contrasted against a standardized measure of quality of life. A representative population sample of 1,756 MSDs patients [38.5% with spinal disorder (SD) and 61.5% with non-spinal MSDs (NS-MSD)] was drawn from the EPI3-LASER survey of 825 general practitioners (GPs) in France. Physicians recorded their diagnoses and prescriptions on that day. Patients provided information on socio-demographics, lifestyle and quality of life using the Short Form 12 (SF-12) questionnaire. Chronicity of MSDs was defined as more than 12 weeks duration of the current episode. Chronic SD and NS-MSD patients were prescribed less analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs than their non-chronic counterpart [odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), respectively: 0.4, 0.2–0.7 and 0.5, 0.3–0.6]. They also had more anxio-depressive co-morbidities reported by their physicians (SD: 16.1 vs.7.4%; NS-MSD: 21.6 vs. 9.5%) who prescribed more antidepressants and anxiolytics with a difference that was statistically significant only for spinal disorder patients (OR, 95% CI: 2.0, 1.1–3.6). Psychotropic drugs were more often prescribed in patients in the lower quartile of SF-12 mental score and prescriptions of analgesics in the lower quartile of SF-12 physical score (P < 0.001). In conclusion, anxiety and depressive disorders were commonly reported by GPs among chronic MSD patients. Their prescriptions of psychotropic and analgesic drugs were consistent with patients’ self-rated mental and physical health.
PMCID: PMC3229736  PMID: 21487774
Spinal disorders; Musculoskeletal disorders; Epidemiology; Population health
6.  Who seeks primary care for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) with physicians prescribing homeopathic and other complementary medicine? Results from the EPI3-LASER survey in France 
There is a paucity of information describing patients with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) using complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) and almost none distinguishing homeopathy from other CAMs. The objective of this study was to describe and compare patients with MSDs who consulted primary care physicians, either certified homeopaths (Ho) or regular prescribers of CAMs in a mixed practice (Mx), to those consulting physicians who strictly practice conventional medicine (CM), with regard to the severity of their MSD expressed as chronicity, co-morbidity and quality of life (QOL).
The EPI3-LASER study was a nationwide observational survey of a representative sample of general practitioners and their patients in France. The sampling strategy ensured a sufficient number of GPs in each of the three groups to allow comparison of their patients. Patients completed a questionnaire on socio-demographics, lifestyle and QOL using the Short Form 12 (SF-12) questionnaire. Chronicity of MSDs was defined as more than twelve weeks duration of the current episode. Diagnoses and co-morbidities were recorded by the physician.
A total of 825 GPs included 1,692 MSD patients (predominantly back pain and osteoarthritis) were included, 21.6% in the CM group, 32.4% Ho and 45.9% Mx. Patients in the Ho group had more often a chronic MSD (62.1%) than the CM (48.6%) or Mx (50.3%) groups, a result that was statistically significant after controlling for patients' characteristics (Odds ratio = 1.43; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07 - 1.89). Patients seen by homeopaths or mixed practice physicians who were not the regular treating physician, had more often a chronic MSD than those seen in conventional medicine (Odds ratios were1.75; 95% CI: 1.22 - 2.50 and 1.48; 95% CI: 1.06 - 2.12, respectively). Otherwise patients in the three groups did not differ for co-morbidities and QOL.
MSD patients consulting primary care physicians who prescribed homeopathy and CAMs differed from those seen in conventional medicine. Chronic MSD patients represented a greater proportion of the clientele in physicians offering alternatives to conventional medicine. In addition, these physicians treated chronic patients as consulting rather than regular treating physicians, with potentially important impacts upon professional health care practices and organisation.
PMCID: PMC3034723  PMID: 21247493

Results 1-6 (6)