Physician’s First Watch


Antibiotic, Nasal Steroid Not Effective for Treating Acute Sinusitis

Fitness Strongly Predicts Mortality Risk in the Elderly, Regardless of Adiposity

FDA: Desmopressin Increases Risk for Hyponatremia

Antibiotic, Nasal Steroid Not Effective for Treating Acute Sinusitis

Amoxicillin or budesonide, either alone or in combination, doesn’t improve symptoms of acute sinusitis, according to a randomized, double-blind trial in JAMA.

The study included some 200 patients over age 15, from 58 family practices in the U.K., who met clinical criteria for acute sinusitis (at least two of the following: unilateral or bilateral purulent nasal discharge, unilateral pain, and intranasal pus). The patients were assigned to receive the antibiotic amoxicillin, the topical nasal steroid budesonide, both, or placebos. Patients with recurrent sinusitis were excluded.

The proportion of patients with symptoms lasting 10 days or more did not differ among the four groups. Overall, 40% of patients were cured at 1 week, with no differences among groups.

An editorialist notes that certain subgroups of patients may benefit from antibiotics or topical steroids, but until such subgroups are identified, “cautious use of antibiotics in the general practice setting for patients with sinusitis is warranted.”

JAMA article (Free)

JAMA editorial (Subscription required)

Fitness Strongly Predicts Mortality Risk in the Elderly, Regardless of Adiposity

Maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness may be at least as important as avoiding obesity in reducing mortality among the aged, researchers report in JAMA.

A cohort of some 2600 adults aged 60 or older underwent a baseline health exam and exercise testing. After a mean follow-up of 12 years, the authors write, “both fitness and BMI were strong and independent predictors of all-cause mortality,” regardless of other measures of adiposity, such as body-fat percentage. They also found that people who were fit and obese had a lower risk for all-cause death than did people who were unfit and normal weight or lean.

They conclude: “It may be possible to reduce all-cause death rates among older adults, including those who are obese, by promoting regular physical activity, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week.”

JAMA article (Free abstract; full text requires subscription)

FDA: Desmopressin Increases Risk for Hyponatremia

The antidiuretic drug desmopressin acetate increases the risk for severe hyponatremia in some patients, the FDA said on Tuesday.

The agency has reviewed some 60 incidents of hyponatremia-related seizures linked to desmopressin. Two-thirds of the cases were in patients who had a disease or were taking drugs also associated with hyponatremia or seizures; over half were associated with the intranasal formulation.

The FDA recommends that:

  • children with primary nocturnal enuresis not be given the intranasal formulation, and that physicians “should consider other options”;
  • patients taking desmopressin tablets stop treatment during periods of fluid and electrolyte imbalance (e.g., fever, recurrent diarrhea or vomiting, intense exercise, or other conditions associated with increased water intake);
  • all formulations be used cautiously in patients “with habitual or psychogenic polydipsia or in patients who are taking drugs that may cause them to drink more fluids, such as tricyclic antidepressants and [SSRIs].”

FDA alert (Free)

Physician's First Watch


Antibiotic, Nasal Steroid Not Effective for Treating Acute Sinusitis

Fitness Strongly Predicts Mortality Risk in the Elderly, Regardless of Adiposity

FDA: Desmopressin Increases Risk for Hyponatremia

Antibiotic, Nasal Steroid Not Effective for Treating Acute Sinusitis

Amoxicillin or budesonide, either alone or in combination, doesn’t improve symptoms of acute sinusitis, according to a randomized, double-blind trial in JAMA.

The study included some 200 patients over age 15, from 58 family practices in the U.K., who met clinical criteria for acute sinusitis (at least two of the following: unilateral or bilateral purulent nasal discharge, unilateral pain, and intranasal pus). The patients were assigned to receive the antibiotic amoxicillin, the topical nasal steroid budesonide, both, or placebos. Patients with recurrent sinusitis were excluded.

The proportion of patients with symptoms lasting 10 days or more did not differ among the four groups. Overall, 40% of patients were cured at 1 week, with no differences among groups.

An editorialist notes that certain subgroups of patients may benefit from antibiotics or topical steroids, but until such subgroups are identified, “cautious use of antibiotics in the general practice setting for patients with sinusitis is warranted.”

JAMA article (Free)

JAMA editorial (Subscription required)

Fitness Strongly Predicts Mortality Risk in the Elderly, Regardless of Adiposity

Maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness may be at least as important as avoiding obesity in reducing mortality among the aged, researchers report in JAMA.

A cohort of some 2600 adults aged 60 or older underwent a baseline health exam and exercise testing. After a mean follow-up of 12 years, the authors write, “both fitness and BMI were strong and independent predictors of all-cause mortality,” regardless of other measures of adiposity, such as body-fat percentage. They also found that people who were fit and obese had a lower risk for all-cause death than did people who were unfit and normal weight or lean.

They conclude: “It may be possible to reduce all-cause death rates among older adults, including those who are obese, by promoting regular physical activity, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week.”

JAMA article (Free abstract; full text requires subscription)

FDA: Desmopressin Increases Risk for Hyponatremia

The antidiuretic drug desmopressin acetate increases the risk for severe hyponatremia in some patients, the FDA said on Tuesday.

The agency has reviewed some 60 incidents of hyponatremia-related seizures linked to desmopressin. Two-thirds of the cases were in patients who had a disease or were taking drugs also associated with hyponatremia or seizures; over half were associated with the intranasal formulation.

The FDA recommends that:

  • children with primary nocturnal enuresis not be given the intranasal formulation, and that physicians “should consider other options”;
  • patients taking desmopressin tablets stop treatment during periods of fluid and electrolyte imbalance (e.g., fever, recurrent diarrhea or vomiting, intense exercise, or other conditions associated with increased water intake);
  • all formulations be used cautiously in patients “with habitual or psychogenic polydipsia or in patients who are taking drugs that may cause them to drink more fluids, such as tricyclic antidepressants and [SSRIs].”

FDA alert (Free)

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Vitamin D Not Associated with Overall Cancer Mortality

Serum vitamin D levels are not associated with overall cancer mortality, although high levels may be linked to reduced mortality from colorectal cancer in particular, reports the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Using data from NHANES III, researchers examined the association between baseline levels of serum 25(OH)D and cancer mortality during a median follow-up of about 9 years. Nearly 17,000 people aged 17 or older were included.

After multivariable adjustment, vitamin D was not associated with overall cancer mortality — a finding that held true in analyses stratified by sex and ethnicity. However, when site-specific cancers were evaluated, colorectal cancer mortality decreased significantly as vitamin D level increased.

Editorialists conclude: “While vitamin D may well have multiple benefits beyond bone, health professionals and the public should not in a rush to judgment assume that vitamin D is a magic bullet and consume high amounts of vitamin D.”

JNCI article (Free abstract; full text requires subscription)

JNCI editorial (Free)

Related Journal Watch link(s):

Physician’s First Watch coverage of a study showing a link between vitamin D supplementation and reduced all-cause mortality (Free)

                   
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Washing Surfaces in Hospitals Reduces Spread of MRSA

Basic hospital cleaning should take a higher priority if infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus are to be brought under control, concludes a review published online in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The author, looking back on studies examining the epidemiology of MRSA and other staph infections, finds the organisms to be long-lived, even when not colonizing patients or their caregivers. She points to the profusion of electronic gear at the bedside, all offering hand-touch sites from which MRSA can spread. Infection-control recommendations, including those from the CDC, stress visible cleanliness as a performance criterion, even though less than half of the “visibly clean” wards were microbiologically clean.

Recommending more spending for cleaning, she concludes: “We do not yet know exactly what impact cleaning could have on control, but this ignorance should not be used as an excuse for doing nothing.”

Lancet Infectious Diseases article (Free abstract; full text requires subscription)

CDC report on managing multidrug-resistant organisms in healthcare settings (Free PDF)