US Pharm. 2007:32(7):8.

ED Drugs May Have Other Benefits
Studies recently presented at the American Urological Association meeting point to the fact that type 5 phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitors used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) may be effective against benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and lower urinary tract symptoms.

According to researchers in the U.S. and Germany who worked on the studies, the commonality between ED, BPH, and lower urinary tract symptoms (and possibly overactive bladder) may be that they share a common etiologic pathway.

Oxycodone Has Unfair Reputation
If used properly, oxycodone is a useful and relatively safe opioid for pain management. That is the conclusion of a peer-reviewed guidance paper that can be found at, a Web site that deals with evidence-based clinical news, information, research, and education on the causes and effective treatment of many types of pain conditions.

According to Lee A. Kral, PharmD, when prescribed properly oxycodone is a versatile oral opioid effective in treating many types of cancer and other serious pain symptoms.

Using Antipsychotics to Treat Dementia Could Be Fatal
Researchers at Queen's University and St. Mary's of the Lake Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, discovered that the use of antipsychotics to treat dementia sharply increased the risk of death within a month of starting the drugs. The study was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to author Sudeep Gill, MD, the mortality rate was higher with the older "conventional" medications, such as haloperidol and chlorpromazine, than with the newer "atypical" antipsychotics, such as olanzapine and risperidone. He said that his research reinforces warnings issued two years ago by both the FDA and Health Canada. The study showed that new use of atypical antipsychotics in the community was associated with a 31% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality 30 days after starting the prescription, compared to dementia patients not using the drugs. The use of atypical antipsychotics in long-term care facilities was associated with a 55% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality.

Statins Get Positive Review
A report published online in Lancet said that statin drugs, when used correctly, are generally safe. Jane Armitage, MD, of the Clinical Trial Service Unit at the University of Oxford, England, conducted a review of published studies relating to statin usage. She found that at commonly prescribed dosages, adverse events such as rhabdomyolysis and myopathy are rare and elevated liver function tests are uncommon.

Dr. Armitage's review focused on six statins: lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, fluvastatin, atorvastatin, and rosuvastatin. She specifically looked at whether each agent can safely achieve and maintain low levels of both total cholesterol and LDL, and at the safety of each agent at different doses. She concluded that "reducing cholesterol and maintaining low cholesterol levels for at least five years is not only safe but beneficial." She added that there was no "increased risk of the types of nonvascular death suggested by the observational data."

Long-term Aspirin Use Linked to Reduced Heart-Related Deaths in Women
Some might classify aspirin as a miracle drug, because it seems that every day new uses are discovered. Now, findings from a large observational study have confirmed that long-term use of aspirin could reduce heart-related deaths in women. Healthy women who took low to moderate doses of aspirin for at least five years had a reduced risk of death from any cause, but especially cardiovascular disease.

According to Andrew Chan, MD, of Harvard Medical School and colleagues, women who reported using aspirin had a 25% lower risk of all-cause death compared with those who never used aspirin regularly. According to Dr. Chan the findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, were more dramatic in women taking aspirin for five years; that resulted in a 38% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Another plus was that after 10 years, the cancer death risk dropped by 12%. The researchers concluded that the apparent benefit was largely confined to low to moderate doses of aspirin (one to 14 standard tablets a week), whereas higher doses (more than 14 tablets) were not beneficial. They also said that the lower risk of cancer deaths was statistically significant for death from colorectal cancer.

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