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Blood Pressure Meds and Cancer/Sports Drinks/Tai Chi

Monday, June 13, 2011 // Uncategorized

Here is a trio of recent newsworthy articles from Journal Watch.

There has been some concern in some recent studies about a possible link between a class of blood pressure medications and cancer.  ARB’s or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers are a well tolerated class of medications which are usually used as a substitute for patients who cannot tolerate another class of blood pressure medication, ACE inhibitors ( Angiotensin Converting Enzyme). due to side effects.  This recent statement by the FDA absolves ARB’s.

FDA: ARBs Don’t Cause Cancer
The FDA has absolved angiotensin-receptor blockers of suspicions that they can cause cancer.
The agency analyzed 31 randomized trials comprising some 150,000 patients after a somewhat smaller meta-analysis published in the Lancet Oncology in June 2010 showed a modestly increased risk.
The FDA announced that “any concern about a relationship between ARB use and development of cancer has been resolved” by its analysis.
FDA Drug Safety Communication: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm257516.htm

Pediatricians Should Ask About Patients’ Use of Sports and Energy Drinks
Caffeine-containing “energy” drinks should never be used by children and adolescents, and carbohydrate-rich “sports” drinks should be restricted or avoided completely, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics report in Pediatrics.
On reviewing recent literature, an AAP committee concludes the following:
At annual visits, clinicians should ask about patients’ use of sports (high-carbohydrate) and energy (high-caffeine) drinks, taking the opportunity to explain the differences between the two and the dangers they pose.
Plain water, not commercial drinks, is the best source of hydration.
Young athletes participating in vigorous, prolonged activities should be discouraged from using sports drinks outside of those activities because of their high caloric content.
Energy drinks should never be consumed in this age group because of their high stimulant content.
Low-fat milk is a good substitute for drinks purporting to replenish amino acids in muscle recovery.

For Which Conditions Is Tai Chi Effective?
Systematic review finds benefit only for falls prevention and psychological health.
Tai chi, a gentle exercise program that emphasizes controlled breathing and relaxation, has been evaluated as a potential therapy for many diseases and chronic conditions, but results are inconsistent (JW Gen Med May 3 2011 and JW Gen Med Aug 19 2010). Several recent systematic reviews have been conducted to resolve these inconsistencies, and this study is a “review of the reviews.” After a search of the English, Chinese, and Korean medical literature, researchers identified 35 systematic reviews of tai chi; at least 11 reviews were conducted by one of the authors of this meta-review.
The 35 reviews addressed the value of tai chi in more than 15 diseases and chronic conditions, including cancer, Parkinson disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Of the four reviews that addressed falls prevention, three showed positive benefit, and one was equivocal. Of the five reviews that addressed psychological health, four were positive, and one was equivocal. The remaining reviews showed no consistent benefit for any other condition.
Comment: Given the nature of tai chi — which is gentle, rhythmic, and nonspecific — its lack of specific benefit for metabolic and cardiovascular conditions is not surprising. However, its benefits in preventing falls and improving psychological health are clear, and it can be recommended for these specific purposes, especially in older people.
— Thomas L. Schwenk, MD
Published in Journal Watch General Medicine May 26, 2011
Citation(s):
Lee MS and Ernst E. Systematic reviews of t’ai chi: An overview. Br J Sports Med 2011 May 16; [e-pub ahead of print]. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2010.080622)

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