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1.  The association between drospirenone and hyperkalemia: a comparative-safety study 
Background
Drospirenone/ethinyl-estradiol is an oral contraceptive (OC) that possesses unique antimineralocorticoid activity. It is conjectured that drospirenone, taken alone or concomitantly with spironolactone, may be associated with an increased risk of hyperkalemia.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted evaluating women between 18-46 years of age in the Lifelink™ Health Plan Claims Database. The study was restricted to new users of OCs between 1997-2009. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the time to first occurrence of hyperkalemia diagnosis. The main analysis compared OCs containing drospirenone with OCs containing levonorgestrel, a second generation OC not known to impact potassium homeostasis. Logistic regression evaluated concomitant prescribing of drospirenone and spironolactone
Results
The cohort included 1,148,183 women, averaging 28.8 years of age and 280 days of OC therapy. 2325 cases of hyperkalemia were identified. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for hyperkalemia with drospirenone compared to levonorgestrel was 1.10 (95%CI 0.95-1.26). There was an increased risk of hyperkalemia with norethindrone HR 1.15 (95%CI: 1.00-1.33) and norgestimate HR 1.27 (95%CI: 1.11-1.46). Other OCs were unassociated with hyperkalemia. The odds of receiving spironolactone while taking drospirenone were 2.66 (95%CI 2.53-2.80) times higher than the odds of receiving spironolactone and levonorgestrel. Only 6.5% of patients taking drospirenone and spironolactone had a serum potassium assay within 180 days of starting concomitant therapy.
Conclusions
A clinically significant signal for hyperkalemia with drospirenone was not demonstrated in the current study. Despite the bolded warning for hyperkalemia with joint drospirenone and spironolactone administration, physicians are actually using them together preferentially, and are not following the recommended potassium monitoring requirements in the package insert.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-23
PMCID: PMC3265420  PMID: 22208934
2.  Etomidate and mortality in cirrhotic patients with septic shock 
Background
Clinical effects and outcomes of a single dose etomidate prior to intubation in the intensive care setting is controversial. The aim of this study is to evaluate the association of a single dose effect of etomidate prior to intubation on the mortality of septic cirrhotic patients and the impact of the subsequent use of low dose hydrocortisone.
Methods
This is a nested-cohort study within a randomized double blind placebo controlled study evaluating the use of low dose hydrocortisone in cirrhotic septic patients. Cirrhotic septic patients ≥ 18 years were included in the study. Patients who received etomidate prior to intubation were compared to those who did not receive etomidate for all cause 28-day mortality as a primary outcome.
Results
Sixty two intubated patients out of the 75 patients randomized in the initial trial were eligible for this study. Twenty three of the 62 intubated patients received etomidate dose prior to intubation. Etomidate use was not associated with all cause 28-day mortality or hospital mortality but was associated with significantly higher ICU mortality (91% vs. 64% for etomidate and controls groups, respectively; p = 0.02). Etomidate patients who received subsequent doses of hydrocortisone required lower doses of vasopressors and had more vasopressor-free days but no improvement in mortality.
Conclusions
In this group of septic cirrhotic patients with very high mortality, etomidate increased ICU mortality. Subsequent use of hydrocortisone appears to have no benefit beyond decreasing vasopressor requirements. The lowest mortality was observed in patients who did not receive etomidate but received hydrocortisone.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-22
PMCID: PMC3295685  PMID: 22208901
3.  Use of antipsychotic and antidepressant within the Psychiatric Disease Centre, Regional Health Service of Ferrara 
Background
This study aimed at describing the type and dosage of psychopharmaceuticals dispensed to patients with psychiatric disorders and to assess the percentage of patients treated with antipsychotics and antidepressants, the associated therapies, treatment adherence, and dosages used in individuals registered at the Psychiatric Disease Center (PDC), Regional Health Service of Ferrara.
Methods
The analysis focused on therapeutic programmes presented to the Department of Pharmacy of the University Hospital of Ferrara of 892 patients treated by the PDC (catchment area of 134605 inhabitants). All diagnoses were made according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9). The analysis focused on prescriptions from September 2007 to June 2009. Data on adherence to prescribed therapy have were processed by analysis of variance.
Results
Among the patients 63% were treated with antipsychotics and 40% with antidepressants. Among patients receiving antipsychotics 92% used second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) whereas the remaining 8% used first generation antipsychotics (FGAs). Antipsychotic doses were lower than Daily Defined Dose (DDDs), and SGAs were often given with anticholinergics to decrease side effects. Mean adherence to antipsychotic therapy was 64%. Among antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were the most often prescribed, 55%. Dosages of these were within the limits indicated by the technical datasheet but higher than DDDs. Only 26% of patients underwent monotherapy. In antidepressants polytherapy, medication was associated with another antidepressant, 6% or with an antipsychotic, 51%. Mean adherence to the antidepressant therapy was 64%.
Conclusions
Patients treated with antipsychotics tend to use doses lower than DDDs. The opposite tendency was noted in patients treated with antidepressants. Only a small percentage of patients (14%) modified their neuroleptic therapy by increasing the dosage. On the contrary, patients treated with antidepressants mainly tended to reduce the doses of their drugs. This study highlights the tendency to follow combination therapies, prescribing SGAs together with anticholinergics in order to minimize extrapyramidal side effects or by combining two antidepressants. The study showed low adherence for both pharmaceutical therapies, which is typical in the setting of the analyzed diseases.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-21
PMCID: PMC3293025  PMID: 22185397
4.  Price, familiarity, and availability determine the choice of drug - a population-based survey five years after generic substitution was introduced in Finland 
Background
Mandatory generic substitution (GS) was introduced in Finland at the beginning of April 2003. However, individual patients or physicians may forbid the substitution. GS was a significant change for Finnish medicine users. It was thought it would confuse people when the names, colors, packages, etc., changed. The purpose of this study was to explore what medicine-related factors influence people's choice of prescription drugs five years after generic substitution was introduced in Finland.
Methods
A population survey was carried out during the autumn of 2008. A random sample was drawn from five mainland counties. A questionnaire was mailed to 3000 people at least 18 years old and living in Finland. The questionnaire consisted of both structured and open-ended questions. Factors that influenced the subjects' choice of medicines were asked with a structured question containing 11 propositions. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed.
Results
In total, 1844 questionnaires were returned (response rate, 62%). The percentage of female respondents was 55%. Price, availability, and familiarity were the three most important factors that influenced the choice of medicines. For the people who had refused GS, the familiarity of the medicine was the most important factor. For the subjects who had allowed GS and for those who had both refused and allowed GS, price was the most important factor.
Conclusions
The present study shows that price, familiarity, and availability were important factors in the choice of prescription medicines. The external characteristics of the medicines, for instance the color and shape of the tablet/capsule or the appearance of the package, were not significant characteristics for people.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-20
PMCID: PMC3262749  PMID: 22171800
5.  Public perception on the role of community pharmacists in self-medication and self-care in Hong Kong 
Background
The choices for self-medication in Hong Kong are much diversified, including western and Chinese medicines and food supplements. This study was to examine Hong Kong public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding self-medication, self-care and the role of pharmacists in self-care.
Methods
A cross-sectional phone survey was conducted, inviting people aged 18 or older to complete a 37-item questionnaire that was developed based on the Thematic Household surveys in Hong Kong, findings of the health prorfessional focus group discussions on pharmacist-led patient self management and literature. Telephone numbers were randomly selected from residential phone directories. Trained interviewers invited eligible persons to participate using the "last birthday method". Associations of demographic characteristics with knowledge, attitudes and beliefs on self-medication, self-care and role of pharmacists, and spending on over-the-counter (OTC) products were analysed statistically.
Results
A total of 1, 560 phone calls were successfully made and 1, 104 respondents completed the survey which indicated a response rate of 70.8%. 63.1% had adequate knowledge on using OTC products. Those who had no formal education/had attended primary education (OR = 3.19, 95%CI 1.78-5.72; p < 0.001), had attended secondary education (OR = 1.50, 95%CI 1.03-2.19; p = 0.035), and aged ≥60 years (OR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.02-3.26; p = 0.042) were more likely to have inadequate knowledge on self-medication. People with chronic disease also tended to spend more than HKD100 on western (OR = 3.58, 95%CI 1.58-8.09; p = 0.002) and Chinese OTC products (OR = 2.94, 95%CI 1.08-7.95; p = 0.034). 94.6% believed that patients with chronic illnesses should self-manage their diseases. 68% agreed that they would consult a pharmacist before using OTC product but only 45% agreed that pharmacists could play a leading role in self-care. Most common reasons against pharmacist consultation on self-medication and self-care were uncertainty over the role of pharmacists and low acceptance level of pharmacists.
Conclusions
The majority of respondents supported patients with chronic illness to self-manage their diseases but less than half agreed to use a pharmacist-led approach in self-care. The government should consider developing doctors-pharmacists partnership programs in the community, enhancing the role of pharmacists in primary care and providing education to patients to improve their awareness on the role of pharmacists in self-medication and self-care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-19
PMCID: PMC3252282  PMID: 22118309
6.  Knowledge, attitudes and practice survey about antimicrobial resistance and prescribing among physicians in a hospital setting in Lima, Peru 
Background
Misuse of antimicrobials (AMs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are global concerns. The present study evaluated knowledge, attitudes and practices about AMR and AM prescribing among medical doctors in two large public hospitals in Lima, Peru, a middle-income country.
Methods
Cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire
Results
A total of 256 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate 82%). Theoretical knowledge was good (mean score of 6 ± 1.3 on 7 questions) in contrast to poor awareness (< 33%) of local AMR rates of key-pathogens. Participants strongly agreed that AMR is a problem worldwide (70%) and in Peru (65%), but less in their own practice (22%). AM overuse was perceived both for the community (96%) and the hospital settings (90%). Patients' pressure to prescribing AMs was considered as contributing to AM overuse in the community (72%) more than in the hospital setting (50%). Confidence among AM prescribing was higher among attending physicians (82%) compared to residents (30%, p < 0.001%). Sources of information considered as very useful/useful included pocket-based AM prescribing guidelines (69%) and internet sources (62%). Fifty seven percent of participants regarded AMs in their hospitals to be of poor quality. Participants requested more AM prescribing educational programs (96%) and local AM guidelines (92%).
Conclusions
This survey revealed topics to address during future AM prescribing interventions such as dissemination of information about local AMR rates, promoting confidence in the quality of locally available AMs, redaction and dissemination of local AM guidelines and addressing the general public, and exploring the possibilities of internet-based training.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-18
PMCID: PMC3231801  PMID: 22085536
Antimicrobial resistance - Antimicrobial use - Knowledge; attitude and practice survey
7.  Immunogenicity of panitumumab in combination chemotherapy clinical trials 
Background
Panitumumab is a fully human antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor that is indicated for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) after disease progression on standard chemotherapy. The purpose of this analysis was to examine the immunogenicity of panitumumab and to evaluate the effect of anti-panitumumab antibodies on pharmacokinetic and safety profiles in patients with mCRC receiving panitumumab in combination with oxaliplatin- or irinotecan-based chemotherapies.
Methods
Three validated assays (two screening immunoassays and a neutralizing antibody bioassay) were used to detect the presence of anti-panitumumab antibodies in serum samples collected from patients enrolled in four panitumumab combination chemotherapy clinical trials. The impact of anti-panitumumab antibodies on pharmacokinetic and safety profiles was analyzed using population pharmacokinetic analysis and descriptive statistics, respectively.
Results
Of 1124 patients treated with panitumumab in combination with oxaliplatin- or irinotecan-based chemotherapy with postbaseline samples available for testing, 20 (1.8%) patients developed binding antibodies and 2 (0.2%) developed neutralizing antibodies. The incidence of anti-panitumumab antibodies was similar in patients with tumors expressing wild-type or mutant KRAS and in patients receiving oxaliplatin- or irinotecan-based chemotherapies. No evidence of an altered pharmacokinetic or safety profile was found in patients who tested positive for anti-panitumumab antibodies.
Conclusions
The immunogenicity of panitumumab in the combination chemotherapy setting was infrequent and similar to the immunogenicity observed in the monotherapy setting. Panitumumab immunogenicity did not appear to alter pharmacokinetic or safety profiles. This low rate of immunogenicity may be attributed to the fully human nature of panitumumab.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00339183 (study 20050181), NCT00411450 (study 20060277), NCT00332163 (study 20050184), and NCT00364013 (study 20050203).
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-17
PMCID: PMC3231982  PMID: 22070868
8.  What can we learn from consumer reports on psychiatric adverse drug reactions with antidepressant medication? Experiences from reports to a consumer association 
Background
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the cost of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in the general population is high and under-reporting by health professionals is a well-recognized problem. Another way to increase ADR reporting is to let the consumers themselves report directly to the authorities. In Sweden it is mandatory for prescribers to report serious ADRs to the Medical Products Agency (MPA), but there are no such regulations for consumers. The non-profit and independent organization Consumer Association for Medicines and Health, KILEN has launched the possibility for consumers to report their perceptions and experiences from their use of medicines in order to strengthen consumer rights within the health care sector. This study aimed to analyze these consumer reports.
Methods
All reports submitted from January 2002 to April 2009 to an open web site in Sweden where anyone could report their experience with the use of pharmaceuticals were analyzed with focus on common psychiatric side effects related to antidepressant usage. More than one ADR for a specific drug could be reported.
Results
In total 665 reports were made during the period. 442 reports concerned antidepressant medications and the individual antidepressant reports represented 2392 ADRs and 878 (37%) of these were psychiatric ADRs. 75% of the individual reports concerned serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the rest serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Women reported more antidepressant psychiatric ADRs (71%) compared to men (24%). More potentially serious psychiatric ADRs were frequently reported to KILEN and withdrawal symptoms during discontinuation were also reported as a common issue.
Conclusions
The present study indicates that consumer reports may contribute with important information regarding more serious psychiatric ADRs following antidepressant treatment. Consumer reporting may be considered a complement to traditional ADR reporting.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-16
PMCID: PMC3215951  PMID: 22026961
9.  Gastrointestinal adverse effects of varenicline at maintenance dose: a meta-analysis 
Background
Tobacco smoking remains the leading modifiable health hazard and varenicline is amongst the most popular pharmacological options for smoking cessation. The purpose of this study is to critically evaluate the extent of gastrointestinal adverse effects of varenicline when used at maintenance dose (1 mg twice a day) for smoking cessation.
Methods
We conducted a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials published in PUBMED and EMBASE according to the PRISMA guidelines. Selected studies satisfied the following criteria: (i) duration of at least 6 weeks, (ii) titrated dose of varenicline for 7 days then a maintenance dose of 1 mg twice-per-day, (iii) randomized placebo-controlled design, (iv) extractable data on adverse event - nausea, constipation or flatulence. Data was synthesized into pooled odd ratios (OR) basing on random effects model. Quality of studies was also rated as per Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment. Number need to harm (NNH) was calculated for each adverse effect.
Results
98 potentially relevant studies were identified, 12 of which met the final inclusion criteria (n = 5114). All 12 studies reported adverse events on nausea, which led to an OR of 4.45 (95% CI = 3.79-5.23, p < 0.001; I2 = 0.06%, CI = 0%-58.34%) and a NNH of 5. Eight studies (n = 3539) contain data on constipation pooled into an OR of 2.45 (95% CI = 1.61-3.72, p < 0.001; I2 = 34.09%, CI = 0%-70.81%) with a NNH of 24. Finally, five studies (n = 2516) reported adverse events of flatulence, which pooled an OR of 1.74 (95% CI = 1.23-2.48, p = 0.002; I2 = 0%, CI = 0%- 79.2%) with a NNH of 35.
Conclusions
Use of varenicline at maintenance dose of 1 mg twice a day for longer than 6 weeks is associated with adverse gastrointestinal effects. In realistic terms, for every 5 treated subjects, there will be an event of nausea, and for every 24 and 35 treated subjects, we will expect an event of constipation and flatulence respectively. Family physicians should counsel patients of such risks accordingly during their maintenance therapy with varenicline.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-15
PMCID: PMC3192741  PMID: 21955317
10.  Impact of information letters on the reporting rate of adverse drug reactions and the quality of the reports: a randomized controlled study 
Background
Spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) is an important method for pharmacovigilance, but under-reporting and poor quality of reports are major limitations. The aim of this study was to evaluate if repeated one-page ADR information letters affect (i) the reporting rate of ADRs and (ii) the quality of the ADR reports.
Methods
All 151 primary healthcare units in the Region Västra Götaland, Sweden, were randomly allocated (1:1) to an intervention (n = 77) or a control group (n = 74). The intervention consisted of one-page ADR information letters administered at three occasions during 2008 to all physicians and nurses in the intervention units. The number of ADR reports received from the 151 units was registered, as was the quality of the reports, which was defined as high if the ADR was to be reported according to Swedish regulations, that is, if the ADR was (i) serious, (ii) unexpected, and/or (iii) related to the use of new drugs and not labelled as common in the Summary of Product Characteristics. A questionnaire was administered to evaluate if the ADR information letter had reached the intended recipient.
Results
Before the intervention, no significant differences in reporting rate or number of high quality reports could be detected between the randomization groups. In 2008, 79 reports were sent from 37 intervention units and 52 reports from 30 control units (mean number of reports per unit ± standard deviation: 1.0 ± 2.5 vs. 0.7 ± 1.2, P = 0.34). The number of high quality reports was higher in intervention units than in control units (37 vs. 15 reports, 0.5 ± 0.9 vs. 0.2 ± 0.6, P = 0.048). According to the returned questionnaires (n = 1,292, response rate 57%), more persons in the intervention than in the control group had received (29% vs. 19%, P < 0.0001) and read (31% vs. 26%, P < 0.0001) an ADR information letter.
Conclusions
This study suggests that repeated ADR information letters to physicians and nurses do not increase the ADR reporting rate, but may increase the number of high quality reports.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-14
PMCID: PMC3182972  PMID: 21899766
11.  Cognitive functioning in opioid-dependent patients treated with buprenorphine, methadone, and other psychoactive medications: stability and correlates 
Background
In many but not in all neuropsychological studies buprenorphine-treated opioid-dependent patients have shown fewer cognitive deficits than patients treated with methadone. In order to examine if hypothesized cognitive advantage of buprenorphine in relation to methadone is seen in clinical patients we did a neuropsychological follow-up study in unselected sample of buprenorphine- vs. methadone-treated patients.
Methods
In part I of the study fourteen buprenorphine-treated and 12 methadone-treated patients were tested by cognitive tests within two months (T1), 6-9 months (T2), and 12 - 17 months (T3) from the start of opioid substitution treatment. Fourteen healthy controls were examined at similar intervals. Benzodiazepine and other psychoactive comedications were common among the patients. Test results were analyzed with repeated measures analysis of variance and planned contrasts. In part II of the study the patient sample was extended to include 36 patients at T2 and T3. Correlations between cognitive functioning and medication, substance abuse, or demographic variables were then analyzed.
Results
In part I methadone patients were inferior to healthy controls tests in all tests measuring attention, working memory, or verbal memory. Buprenorphine patients were inferior to healthy controls in the first working memory task, the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task and verbal memory. In the second working memory task, the Letter-Number Sequencing, their performance improved between T2 and T3. In part II only group membership (buprenorphine vs. methadone) correlated significantly with attention performance and improvement in the Letter-Number Sequencing. High frequency of substance abuse in the past month was associated with poor performance in the Letter-Number Sequencing.
Conclusions
The results underline the differences between non-randomized and randomized studies comparing cognitive performance in opioid substitution treated patients (fewer deficits in buprenorphine patients vs. no difference between buprenorphine and methadone patients, respectively). Possible reasons for this are discussed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-13
PMCID: PMC3176473  PMID: 21854644
12.  Association between statin therapy and outcomes in critically ill patients: a nested cohort study 
Background
The effect of statin therapy on mortality in critically ill patients is controversial, with some studies suggesting a benefit and others suggesting no benefit or even potential harm. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between statin therapy during intensive care unit (ICU) admission and all-cause mortality in critically ill patients.
Methods
This was a nested cohort study within two randomised controlled trials conducted in a tertiary care ICU. All 763 patients who participated in the two trials were included in this study. Of these, 107 patients (14%) received statins during their ICU stay. The primary endpoint was all-cause ICU and hospital mortality. Secondary endpoints included the development of sepsis and severe sepsis during the ICU stay, the ICU length of stay, the hospital length of stay, and the duration of mechanical ventilation. Multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for clinically and statistically relevant variables.
Results
Statin therapy was associated with a reduction in hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36-0.99). Statin therapy was associated with lower hospital mortality in the following groups: patients >58 years of age (aOR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.97), those with an acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE II) score >22 (aOR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.31-0.96), diabetic patients (aOR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.30-0.90), patients on vasopressor therapy (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.29-0.97), those admitted with severe sepsis (aOR = 0.22, 95% CI 0.07-0.66), patients with creatinine ≤100 μmol/L (aOR = 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.51), and patients with GCS ≤9 (aOR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.17-0.71). When stratified by statin dose, the mortality reduction was mainly observed with statin equipotent doses ≥40 mg of simvastatin (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.28-1.00). Mortality reduction was observed with simvastatin (aOR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.17-0.81) but not with atorvastatin (aOR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.84-1.46). Statin therapy was not associated with a difference in any of the secondary outcomes.
Conclusion
Statin therapy during ICU stay was associated with a reduction in all-cause hospital mortality. This association was especially noted in high-risk subgroups. This potential benefit needs to be validated in a randomised, controlled trial.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-12
PMCID: PMC3199769  PMID: 21819615
13.  An evaluation of ciprofloxacin pharmacokinetics in critically ill patients undergoing continuous veno-venous haemodiafiltration 
Background
The study aimed to investigate the pharmacokinetics of intravenous ciprofloxacin and the adequacy of 400 mg every 12 hours in critically ill Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients on continuous veno-venous haemodiafiltration (CVVHDF) with particular reference to the effect of achieved flow rates on drug clearance.
Methods
This was an open prospective study conducted in the intensive care unit and research unit of a university teaching hospital. The study population was seven critically ill patients with sepsis requiring CVVHDF.
Blood and ultrafiltrate samples were collected and assayed for ciprofloxacin by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to calculate the model independent pharmacokinetic parameters; total body clearance (TBC), half-life (t1/2) and volume of distribution (Vd). CVVHDF was performed at prescribed dialysate rates of 1 or 2 L/hr and ultrafiltration rate of 2 L/hr. The blood flow rate was 200 ml/min, achieved using a Gambro blood pump and Hospal AN69HF haemofilter.
Results
Seventeen profiles were obtained. CVVHDF resulted in a median ciprofloxacin t1/2 of 13.8 (range 5.15-39.4) hr, median TBC of 9.90 (range 3.10-13.2) L/hr, a median Vdss of 125 (range 79.5-554) L, a CVVHDF clearance of 2.47+/-0.29 L/hr and a clearance of creatinine (Clcr) of 2.66+/-0.25 L/hr. Thus CVVHDF, at an average flow rate of ~3.5 L/hr, was responsible for removing 26% of ciprofloxacin cleared. At the dose rate of 400 mg every 12 hr, the median estimated Cpmax/MIC and AUC0-24/MIC ratios were 10.3 and 161 respectively (for a MIC of 0.5 mg/L) and exceed the proposed criteria of >10 for Cpmax/MIC and > 100 for AUC0-24/MIC. There was a suggestion towards increased ciprofloxacin clearance by CVVHDF with increasing effluent flow rate.
Conclusions
Given the growing microbial resistance to ciprofloxacin our results suggest that a dose rate of 400 mg every 12 hr, may be necessary to achieve the desired pharmacokinetic - pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) goals in patients on CVVHDF, however an extended interval may be required if there is concomitant hepatic impairment. A correlation between ciprofloxacin clearance due to CVVHDF and creatinine clearance by the filter was observed (r2 = 0.76), providing a useful clinical surrogate marker for ciprofloxacin clearance within the range studied.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN52722850
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-11
PMCID: PMC3161942  PMID: 21816053
14.  The effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in alcohol dependence treatment - a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study 
Background
The lipid fraction of cell membranes consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS), and chronic alcohol use alters it, modifying its permeability, what might contribute for the dysfunctional metabolism observed in the central nervous system of alcohol dependent patients. Therefore, the supplementation of PUFAS can be an important adjuvant in alcoholism treatment.
Methods
This was a placebo controlled, double blind, randomized study where, 80 alcohol dependent patients, according to DSM-IV, were allocated in four groups with 20 patient each: 'PUFAS', 'Naltrexone', 'Naltrexone + PUFAS' and 'Placebo'. Those substances were administered for 90 days and scales were applied to assess patients craving (OCDS) and alcohol dependence severity (SADD) at baseline and after 90 days. PUFAS serum levels were assessed before and after treatment by high performance liquid chromatography assay.
Results
Forty-three patients completed the trial. There was a significant improvement over time on drinking days, SADD and OCDS scores in all groups (p < 0.001). The drinking days comparison between groups did not show statistical significant difference. The same effect was observed for compulsion (OCDS) and severity of dependence scale (SADD). The serum levels of PUFAS increased in all the supplemented groups after treatment, although not significantly.
Conclusions
The oral supplementation of 2 g PUFAS for 3 months did not significantly differ from placebo in reducing the amount of alcohol ingestion, or OCDS and SADD scores in a group of alcohol dependent patient.
Trial registration
NCT01211769
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-10
PMCID: PMC3162484  PMID: 21787433
15.  Comparative in vitro study of the antimicrobial activities of different commercial antibiotic products of vancomycin 
Background
One of the most critical problems about antimicrobial therapy is the increasing resistance to antibiotics. Previous studies have shown that there is a direct relation between erroneous prescription, dosage, route, duration of the therapy and the antibiotics resistance. Other important point is the uncertainty about the quality of the prescribed medicines. Some physicians believe that generic drugs are not as effective as innovator ones, so it is very important to have evidence that shows that all commercialized drugs are suitable for therapeutic use.
Methods
Microbial assays were used to establish the potency, the Minimal Inhibitory Concentrations (MICs), the Minimal Bactericidal Concentration (MBCs), the critical concentrations, and the production of spontaneous mutants that are resistant to vancomycin.
Results
The microbial assay was validated in order to determine the Vancomycin potency of the tasted samples. All the products showed that have potency values between 90 - 115% (USP requirement). The products behave similarly because the MICs, The MBCs, the critical concentrations, the critical concentrations ratios between standard and samples, and the production of spontaneous mutants don't have significant differences.
Conclusions
All products analyzed by microbiological tests, show that both trademarks and generics do not have statistical variability and the answer of antimicrobial activity Show also that they are pharmaceutical equivalents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-9
PMCID: PMC3158544  PMID: 21777438
16.  Comparison of renal effects of ibuprofen versus indomethacin during treatment of patent ductus arteriosus in contiguous historical cohorts 
Background
Ibuprofen treatment of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) has been shown to be as effective as indomethacin in small randomized controlled trials, with possibly fewer adverse effects. However, adverse renal effects of ibuprofen have been noted in some trials and suspected in our practice.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether ibuprofen and indomethacin treatment of PDA have comparable effects on renal function as evidenced by urine output and serum creatinine.
Methods
Retrospective chart review of 350 patients. Serum creatinine and urine output were recorded prior to start of treatment, during each course and after the last course of treatment. Pre-treatment mean creatinine and urine output values were compared to treatment and post treatment means using 2-factor repeated measures ANOVA.
Results
165 patients were treated with indomethacin (2005-2006) and 185 received ibuprofen (2007-2008). There was no difference between treatment groups in demographics or baseline renal function. For both groups, the number of treatment courses was inversely correlated with birth weight and gestational age. Analysis of the first course including all patients, revealed significant increase in creatinine and decrease in urine output with both drugs, with a more pronounced effect of indomethacin on creatinine. In the subgroup of 219 patients who received only one treatment course, there was a significant increase in creatinine after indomethacin, but not after ibuprofen. In the 131 who received 2 or more courses, the decrease in urine output and increase in creatinine were not different between drugs. There were significant decreases in urine output observed in the second and third courses of ibuprofen treatment (both by 0.9 mL/kg/hr).
Conclusion
Both drugs have a similar short-term effect on renal function. Indomethacin had a more prominent initial effect, while ibuprofen decreased renal function during the second and third courses similarly to indomethacin. The changes in renal function seen with ibuprofen treatment should be considered in fluid and electrolyte management, especially if treatment beyond one course is required.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-8
PMCID: PMC3150255  PMID: 21718490
17.  No relevant cardiac, pharmacokinetic or safety interactions between roflumilast and inhaled formoterol in healthy subjects: an open-label, randomised, actively controlled study 
Background
Roflumilast is an oral, selective phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor with anti-inflammatory effects in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The addition of roflumilast to long-acting bronchodilators improves lung function in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD. The present study investigated drug-drug interaction effects between inhaled formoterol and oral roflumilast.
Methods
This was a single-centre (investigational clinic), open, randomised, multiple-dose, parallel-group study. In Regimen A, healthy men were treated with roflumilast (500 μg tablet once daily; Day 2-18) and concomitant formoterol (24 μg twice daily; Day 12-18). In Regimen B, healthy men were treated with formoterol (24 μg twice daily; Day 2-18) and concomitant roflumilast (500 μg once daily; Day 9-18). Steady-state plasma pharmacokinetics of roflumilast, roflumilast N-oxide and/or formoterol (Cmax and AUC0-τ) as well as pharmacodynamics - blood pressure, transthoracic impedance cardiography (ZCG), 12-lead digital electrocardiography, peripheral blood eosinophils, and serum glucose and potassium concentrations - were evaluated through Day 1 (baseline), Day 8 (Regimen B: formoterol alone) or Day 11 (Regimen A: roflumilast alone), and Day 18 (Regimen A and B: roflumilast plus formoterol). Blood and urine samples were taken for safety assessment at screening, pharmacokinetic profiling days and Day 19. Adverse events were monitored throughout the study.
Results
Of the 27 subjects enrolled, 24 were evaluable (12 in each regimen). No relevant pharmacokinetic interactions occurred. Neither roflumilast nor formoterol were associated with significant changes in cardiovascular parameters as measured by ZCG, and these parameters were not affected during concomitant administration. Formoterol was associated with a slight increase in heart rate and a corresponding shortening of the QT interval, without changes in the heart rate-corrected QTc interval. There were small effects on the other pharmacodynamic assessments when roflumilast and formoterol were administered individually, but no interactions or safety concerns were seen after concomitant administration. No severe or serious adverse events were reported, and no adverse events led to premature study discontinuation.
Conclusions
No clinically relevant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions were found when oral roflumilast was administered concomitantly with inhaled formoterol, including no effect on cardiac repolarisation. Roflumilast was well tolerated.
Trial Registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00940329
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-7
PMCID: PMC3127977  PMID: 21631929
18.  The future of pharmaceutical care in France: a survey of final-year pharmacy students' opinions 
Background
In the last decades, the provision of pharmaceutical care by community pharmacists has developed in OECD countries. These developments involved significant changes in professional practices and organization of primary care. In France, they have recently been encouraged by a new legal framework and favored by an increasing demand for health care (increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases) and reductions in services being offered (reduction in the number of general practitioners and huge regional disparities).
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate final-year pharmacy students' opinions on 1/expanding the scope of pharmacists' practices and 2/the potential barriers for the implementation of pharmaceutical care. We discussed these in the light of the experiences of pharmacists in Quebec, and other countries in Europe (United Kingdom and the Netherlands).
Methods
All final-year students in pharmaceutical studies, preparing to become community pharmacists, at the University Paris-Descartes in Paris during 2010 (n = 146) were recruited. All of them were interviewed by means of a questionnaire describing nine "professional" practices by pharmacists, arranged in four dimensions: (1) screening and chronic disease management, (2) medication surveillance, (3) pharmacy-prescribed medication and (4) participation in health care networks. Respondents were asked (1) how positively they view the extension of their current practices, using a 5 point Likert scale and (2) their perception of potential professional, technical, organizational and/or financial obstacles to developing these practices.
Results
143 (97.9%) students completed the questionnaire. Most of practices studied received a greater than 80% approval rating, although only a third of respondents were in favor of the sales of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The most significant perceived barriers were working time, remuneration and organizational problems, specifically the need to create a physical location for consultations to respect patients' privacy within a pharmacy.
Conclusions
Despite remaining barriers to cross, this study showed that future French pharmacists were keen to develop their role in patient care, beyond the traditional role of dispensing. However, the willingness of doctors and patients to consent should be investigated and also rigorous studies to support or refute the positive impact of pharmaceutical care on the quality of care should be carried out.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-6
PMCID: PMC3115856  PMID: 21612642
19.  Drug safety of rosiglitazone and pioglitazone in France: a study using the French PharmacoVigilance database 
Background
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs), rosiglitazone (RGZ) and pioglitazone (PGZ) are widely used as hypoglycemic drugs in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The aim of our study was to investigate the profile of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) related to TZDs and to investigate potential risk factors of these ADRs.
Methods
Type 2 diabetic patients were identified from the French Database of PharmacoVigilance (FPVD) between 2002 and 2006. We investigated ADR related to TZD, focusing on 4 ADR: edema, heart failure, myocardial infarction and hepatitis corresponding to specific WHO-ART terms.
Results
Among a total of 99,284 adult patients in the FPVD, 2295 reports concerned type 2 diabetic patients (2.3% of the whole database), with 161 (7%) exposed to TZDs. The frequency of edema and cardiac failure was significantly higher with TZDs than in other patients (18% and 7.4% versus 0.8% and 0.1% respectively, p < 0.001) whereas the frequency of hepatitis was similar (5.9% versus 4%, NS). A multiple logistic regression model taking into account potential confounding factors (age, gender, drug exposure and co-morbidities) found that TZD exposure remained associated with heart failure and edema, but not with hepatitis or myocardial infarction.
Conclusions
Thiazolidinediones exposure is associated with an increased risk of edema and heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes even when recommendations for use are respected. In contrast, the risk of hepatic reactions and myocardial infarction with this class of drugs seems to be similar to other hypoglycemic agents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-5
PMCID: PMC3119167  PMID: 21609444
20.  Use, tolerability and compliance of spironolactone in the treatment of heart failure 
Background
Risk of morbidity and mortality in patients with severe heart failure (HF) is reduced by blockade of aldosterone receptors with spironolactone. However, benefits of spironolactone are potentially limited by treatment compliance and adverse events profile. The aim of this study was to estimate use of spironolactone by patients with HF, incidence of key adverse events, and patient compliance.
Methods
This study was performed using data from the Quebec provincial medical and drug plans (Régie de l'Assurance Maladie du Québec, RAMQ) for patients who had a diagnosis of HF. Relative incidence of gynecomastia and hyperkalemia was estimated for users and non-users of spironolactone. Treatment adherence was estimated for users of spironolactone and compared to adherence with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers (β-blockers), and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
Results
RAMQ data were obtained for a total of 82,018 patients with a diagnosis of HF. Of these patients, 59.9% used an ACE inhibitor, 59.5% used a beta-blocker, 28.4% used an ARB, and 15.1% (n = 12,344) used spironolactone. Despite underestimation due to limitation of the database, the documented incidence of hyperkalemia (3.3% versus 1.4%) and gynecomastia (1.8% versus 0.7%) was significantly higher in spironolactone users than non-users (p < 0.001). Treatment compliance was significantly lower with spironolactone compared to ACE inhibitors, β-blockers, and ARBs (45.6% versus 56.1%, 59.7%, and 57.0%, respectively; p < 0.001). Persistence to treatment over a one-year period was also lower with spironolactone compared to ACE inhibitors, β-blockers, and ARBs (50.7% versus 64.5%, 70.4%, and 66.3%, respectively; p < 0.001).
Conclusion
Use of spironolactone is associated with an incidence of adverse events, which may have an impact on treatment compliance.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-4
PMCID: PMC3121672  PMID: 21599961
21.  Pharmacokinetics and tolerability of zibotentan (ZD4054) in subjects with hepatic or renal impairment: two open-label comparative studies 
Background
Zibotentan (ZD4054) is a specific endothelin A (ETA) receptor antagonist being investigated for the treatment of prostate cancer. As zibotentan is eliminated by renal and metabolic routes, clearance may be reduced in patients with hepatic or renal impairment, leading to greater drug exposure.
Methods
Open-label studies investigated the PK and tolerability of zibotentan in subjects with hepatic or renal impairment, compared with those with normal organ function. In the hepatic and renal studies, respectively, subjects were divided into categories using Child-Pugh classification or 24-hour urine creatinine clearance (mild, moderate, or severe impairment and normal function). Each subject received a single oral dose of zibotentan 10 mg and PK sampling was undertaken. Within the hepatic study, AUC and Cmax were expressed as the ratio of geometric means and 90% CI for each impairment group compared with the normal function group. The possibility that hepatic impairment had a clinically relevant effect on exposure was considered if the upper 90% CI for the ratio exceeded 2. In the renal study, AUC, Cmax and t1/2 were analyzed using linear regression fitting effects for creatinine clearance and age.
Results
In the hepatic and renal studies respectively, 32 subjects (eight per group) and 48 subjects received treatment (n = 18 normal, n = 12 mild, n = 9 moderate, n = 9 severe). Zibotentan Cmax was not significantly affected by hepatic or renal impairment. Compared with the normal function group, zibotentan AUC was 40% (1.40; 90% CI 0.91-2.17), 45% (1.45; 90% CI 0.94-2.24) and 190% (2.90; 90% CI 1.88-4.49) higher in subjects with mild, moderate and severe hepatic impairment, respectively, and 66% (1.66; 90% CI 1.38-1.99), 89% (1.89; 90% CI 1.50-2.39) and 117% (2.17; 90% CI 1.64-2.86) higher in subjects with mild, moderate and severe renal impairment, respectively. In both studies mean t1/2 increased and zibotentan clearance decreased with the degree of impairment. Headache was the most common AE in all groups.
Conclusions
Zibotentan absorption was unchanged, however, exposure was higher in subjects with hepatic or renal impairment due to slower clearance. This increased exposure did not result in differences in the range or severity of AEs observed.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00672581 and AstraZeneca study number D4320C00016 (renal trial; conducted in Germany).
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-3
PMCID: PMC3070638  PMID: 21414193
22.  Constipation and diarrhoea - common adverse drug reactions? A cross sectional study in the general population 
Background
Constipation and diarrhoea are common complaints and often reported as adverse drug reactions. This study aimed at finding associations between drugs and constipation and diarrhoea in a general population.
Methods
A selection of inhabitants in Oppland County, Norway participated in a cross-sectional survey. Information about demographics, diseases including gastrointestinal complaints classified according to the Rome II criteria and use of drugs were collected on questionnaires. Constipation was defined as functional constipation and constipation predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and diarrhoea as functional diarrhoea and diarrhoea predominant IBS. Associations between drugs and constipation and diarrhoea were examined with multivariable logistic regression models. Based on the multivariable model, the changes in prevalence (risk difference) of the abdominal complaints for non-users and users of drugs were calculated.
Results
In total 11078 subjects were invited, 4622 completed the questionnaires, 640 (13.8%) had constipation and 407 (8.8%) had diarrhoea. To start using drugs increased the prevalence of constipation and diarrhoea with 2.5% and 2.3% respectively. Polypharmacy was an additional risk factor for diarrhoea. Use of furosemide, levothyroxine sodium and ibuprofen was associated with constipation, and lithium and carbamazepine with diarrhoea. The excess drug related prevalence varied from 5.3% for the association between ibuprofen and constipation to 27.5% for the association between lithium and diarrhoea.
Conclusions
Use of drugs was associated with constipation and diarrhoea in the general population. The associations are most likely adverse drug reactions and show that drug-induced symptoms need to be considered in subjects with these complaints.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-2
PMCID: PMC3049147  PMID: 21332973
23.  Pharmacokinetics of phenoxodiol, a novel isoflavone, following intravenous administration to patients with advanced cancer 
Background
Phenoxodiol is a novel isoflavone currently being studied in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. This study reports the pharmacokinetics of phenoxodiol in patients with cancer.
Methods
The pharmacokinetics of phenoxodiol was studied following a single intravenous (iv) bolus dose and during a continuous intravenous infusion. Three men with prostate cancer and 3 women with breast cancer received IV bolus phenoxodiol (5 mg/kg) and plasma was sampled for free and total phenoxodiol levels. On a separate occasion 5 of the same patients received a continuous intravenous infusion of phenoxodiol (2 mg/kg/h) and plasma was again sampled for free and total phenoxodiol levels. Phenoxodiol was measured using gradient HPLC with ultraviolet detection.
Results
Following bolus injection, free and total phenoxodiol appeared to follow first order pharmacokinetics. The elimination half-lives for free and total phenoxodiol were 0.67 ± 0.53 h and 3.19 ± 1.93 h, respectively, while the total plasma clearance rates were 2.48 ± 2.33 L/h and 0.15 ± 0.08 L/h, respectively. The respective apparent volumes of distribution were 1.55 ± 0.69 L/kg and 0.64 ± 0.51 L/kg. During continuous intravenous infusion, free phenoxodiol accumulated rapidly to reach a mean concentration at steady state of 0.79 ± 0.14 μg/ml after 0.87 ± 0.18 h. The apparent accumulation half-life of free phenoxodiol was 0.17 ± 0.04 h while the plasma clearance during continuous infusion was 1.29 ± 0.23 L/h.
Conclusions
Phenoxodiol has a short plasma half-life, particularly in the free form, leading to a rapid attainment of steady state levels during continuous intravenous infusion.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12610000334000
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-1
PMCID: PMC3045896  PMID: 21291562

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