US Pharm.2008;33(12):HS-18.

Methadone Effective Against Leukemia
In what may be a breakthrough study, Claudia Friesen and colleagues of the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University of Ulm in Germany said study data support the finding that methadone, a drug generally used by drug addicts as a substitute for heroin and other opioid drugs, appears to be a potent killer of resistant leukemia cells. Their findings are published in Cancer Research.

According to the researchers, methadone activates the mitochondrial pathway inside leukemia cells, which switches on enzymes called caspases. These prompt a cell into apoptosis, or a programmed cell death.

Diabetes Risk and Vitamin C–Rich Diet
A 12-year study conducted at Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, England, uncovered that increased blood levels of vitamin C may reduce the risk of developing diabetes by as much as 62%.

According to lead author Anne-Helen Harding, "The strong independent association observed in this prospective study, together with biological plausibility, provides persuasive evidence of a beneficial effect of vitamin C and fruit and vegetable intake on diabetes risk." The findings are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Schizophrenia Symptoms Improve With Estrogen Patch
Adding estrogen patches to conventional antipsychotic therapies significantly reduces symptoms in women with schizophrenia. According to a study done by Jayashri Kulkarni, MBBS, MPM, PhD, and colleagues of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, women given 100 mcg/day of estrogen by patch plus standard drug therapy showed reductions in positive schizophrenia symptoms, general psychopathological symptoms, and overall scores on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scales. The investigators' results are published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

FDA Warns Against Heart Drugs Combination
The FDA warned the public that combining simvastatin with the antiarrhythmia drug amiodarone could result in rhabdomyolysis, a rare muscle injury that can lead to kidney failure or death. According to the FDA, while all classes of statin medications carry a potential risk of causing rhabdomyolysis, the risk seems to be "more pronounced" when simvastatin is given with amiodarone.

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