FDA Approves New Drug Krystexxa for Gout
About 3 million adults suffer from gout—a disorder that causes joint swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness—and nearly 100,000 of them do not benefit from the drugs that are available. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug for those who don't respond to existing medications, The New York Times reports. Krystexxa, administered every two weeks intravenously, is expected to become available later this year. The drug was OK'd after researchers found it helped roughly 40 percent of the more than 200 participants involved in two six-month clinical trials, who hadn't been helped by the usual drugs; some said it allowed them to walk again or regain use of their hands. Gout, a severe, painful form of arthritis, arises when uric acid accumulates in the blood and is deposited as needle-like crystals in the joints or soft tissue. Krystexxa lowers the amount of uric acid by converting it to a harmless chemical that is excreted in the urine.
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Cough Medicines Should Remain Over the Counter, FDA Panel Says
Over-the-counter cough medicines like Robitussin and NyQuil should continue to be sold without a physician's OK, federal experts recommended Tuesday, despite growing concerns that the drugs are used as a cheap way to get high. An FDA advisory panel nixed a proposal that would require a doctor's note to buy medicines that contain dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in more than 120 OTC drugs. The proposal dates back to 2007, when the federal Drug Enforcement Administration asked the FDA how the government could curb dextromethorphan abuse. The FDA does not have to follow the panel's advice but usually does, the Associated Press reports. In 2008, "robo-tripping"—street slang for swallowing large doses of Robitussin and other dextromethorphan-containing meds to get high—led to 8,000 emergency room visits, up more than 70 percent from 2004. Abusing cough medicine can cause blood pressure to spike, a rapid heart rate, fever, dizziness, and, in rare cases, death.
"Type D" Personality: How Distress Affects Your Health
If you're a socially awkward, glass-half-empty sort of person, take note: New research suggests having a "distressed" personality may jeopardize your health, U.S. News reports. A study published Tuesday in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes finds that those with this personality type, known as Type D, are at three times the risk for future heart problems, including peripheral artery disease, heart failure, and death, compared to more optimistic sorts.
Type D personality, first defined in the '90s, is characterized by feelings of negativity, depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and loneliness. Type D personalities sweat the small stuff and often expect the worst. They have trouble making friends and often have low self-esteem. They are tense, chronically angry, and overreact to stressful situations; they also tend to conceal their feelings from others out of fear of rejection. About 20 percent of healthy Americans are Type D's, as are up to half of people being treated for heart problems, says study author Johan Denollet, a psychologist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.
Denollet and his colleagues analyzed 49 previous studies involving more than 6,000 people and found that Type D spells trouble—especially for heart patients, who had a greater risk of dying if they had this personality type, compared to non-D's. "It really adds weight to the argument that this core, hostile personality is a concern—or ought to be a concern—for people who have it," says Barry Jacobs, a clinical psychologist and American Heart Association spokesman. "If you perceive things in a particularly skewed, negative way, your body will become more reactive over time, and there will be long-term health consequences." In previous research, Denollet studied nearly 300 heart patients in a cardiac rehabilitation program and found that 27 percent of those classified as Type D died within eight years (mostly of heart attacks and strokes), compared to 7 percent of the non-D's. [Read more: 'Type D' Personality: How Distress Affects Your Health.]
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