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estrogen women woman note

Take Note – August 2007


Good news for younger women taking estrogen    
Estrogen therapy may have cardioprotective effects for women who start taking it in their 50s. A study from the Women’s Health Initiative found these women were significantly less likely to have calcified plaque in their coronary arteries than those receiving placebos.

New drug approved for treatment of PAH    
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Letairis (ambrisentan) for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). An endothelin-receptor antagonist, Letairis will be available only through a restricted distribution program designed to help patients learn about its risks, including hepatic damage.


FDA approves computerized pillbox for home use  
The FDA has approved a computerized device that stores and dispenses prescription drugs for patients’ use at home. The device can manage up to a month’s worth of 10 drugs and alerts the patient when a dose should be taken. It’s expected to decrease drug identification and dosing errors. Using the Web, healthcare professionals can monitor the patient’s medication use and adjust treatment regimens as needed.

Half of healthcare workers would sit out a pandemic    
A survey suggests only about 50% of U.S. healthcare personnel would be willing to work on the front lines during an outbreak of bird flu or another infectious disease. The rest would stay at home for fear their hospitals wouldn’t take adequate measures to protect their health. About 44% of nurses, 73% of physicians, and 33% of ancillary hospital workers said they’d report to work. Men were more likely than women to say they’d show up on the job.

First drug for fibromyalgia wins FDA approval    
The FDA has approved pregabalin (Lyrica) for use in fibromyalgia after studies showed it decreased pain and improved daily functions in some patients. (Lyrica was previously approved for use in diabetic peripheral neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia.)

HIV rapid screening kits prove worthwhile in emergency departments     
Rapid screening kits for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) proved to be cost-effective in Washington, D.C. emergency departments. A study found that the cost per preliminary positive HIV result was about $1,700 and about $4,900 per confirmed case of HIV infection. (Other early-detection methods may cost more than $17,000 per case.) Of the 4,000 patients who were offered the screening, 60% accepted.

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