US Pharm. 2007;32(3):14.

Napping Can Do Your Heart Good
A study in the February 12 Archives of Internal Medicine suggests an association between taking a midday nap and a reduced risk of heart disease. Androniki Naska, PhD, of the University of Athens Medical School in Greece, and colleagues studied Greek men and women ages 20 to 86 who did not have a history of heart disease or any other severe condition. At the beginning of the study participants were asked if they took midday naps, and if so, how often and for how long. The resear­ chers also noted the participants' level of physical activity and dietary habits over the previous year.

After six years, the researchers followed up with the 23,681 participants. They noted that 792 had died, including 133 who died from heart disease. After factoring in other cardiovascular risk factors, individuals who took naps of any frequency and duration had a 34% lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who did not take midday naps. Those who took naps for 30 minutes or more at least three times a week had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death. Among all participants, working men had the best outcomes. Working men who took midday naps had a 64% lower risk of death from heart disease than those who did not nap; non-working men who napped had a 36% reduction in risk.

Low-Dose Aspirin May Lower Chances of Developing Asthma
The Physicians' Health Study, a large, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, revealed that healthy male physicians taking low-dose aspirin every other day had a 22% lower risk of receiving an initial asthma diagnosis.

The study was published in the January 15 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, of the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Massachusetts, and colleagues assessed physicians ages 40 to 84 over a period of 4.9 years. Among the 11,037 patients who took aspirin, 113 were newly diagnosed with asthma, compared with 145 of those taking placebo.

According to Dr. Kurth, the results "suggest that aspirin may reduce the development of asthma in adults. They do not imply that aspirin improves symptoms in patients with asthma."

Infant Deaths Linked to Cold Remedies
A recently published article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report cautions clinicians that prescribing cough and cold medications to children younger than 2 years could have serious consequences. The article also strongly suggests that clinicians ask caregivers about their use of OTC combination cough and cold medications "to avoid overdose in children from multiple medications that contain the same ingredient."

Release of the article follows a CDC report that some prescription and OTC cough and cold remedies have been linked to three infant deaths. According to lead author Arjun Srinivasan, MD, at autopsy, all three of the children were found to have blood levels of the nasal decongestant pseudoephedrine that were nine to 14 times higher than those resulting from the recommended doses of the decongestant in children ages 2 to 12. The investigators also reported that two of the children had detectable blood levels of the cough suppressant dextro­ meth­ orphan, as well as the analgesic acetaminophen.

NSAIDs Use May Delay Onset of BPH
A study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota revealed that men who take daily doses of non­ steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a decreased risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). According to the study, authored by epidemiologist Jennifer L. St. Sauver, PhD, and colleagues and published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, men who took any type of NSAID, especially aspirin, were 35% less likely to develop urinary symptoms of BPH.

The positive effect that NSAIDs have on BPH was an unintended benefit for men who already take a daily NSAID for heart disease prevention or arthritis, said the investigators. Daily NSAID users were half as likely to have decreased urinary flow, large prostate volume, and an elevated PSA. The investigators concluded that as a group, the NSAID users needed 20% less treatment for BPH. It was also noted that while there was little dosing information collected during the study, using a higher dose of aspirin was somewhat better than using a low dose of aspirin.

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