This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

How are PCTs coping with the new contract?

St John's wort matches paroxetine

An extract of St John's wort is at least as effective in treating depression as paroxetine, a German study concludes.

The randomised, double-blind trial compared the use of extract WS 5570 with paroxetine in treating 251 patients with moderate or severe depression.

After six weeks of treatment, 50 per cent of patients treated with the St John's wort extract had experienced remission from symptoms compared with 35 per cent of those on paroxetine. A total of 172 adverse effects were recorded with the extract and 269 with paroxetine.

BMJ 2004 early online publication

February 11

Cancer sufferers get more VTEs

Having cancer increases the risk of venous thromboembolism seven-fold, according to a Dutch study.

Researchers used questionaires to assess potential risk factors in 3,220 patients aged 18 to 70 with deep vein thrombosis of the lower limb or pulmonary embolism. They compared the results with those from 2,131 controls.

The risk of venous thromboembolism was 6.7 times higher than controls in patients with any malignancy, 22 times higher in those with lung cancer and 28 times higher in those with haematological cancers.

Journal of the American Medical Association 2005;283:715722

Depo-Provera bone loss reversible

The bone loss associated with use of Depo-Provera may not be permanent, a new study suggests.

Researchers compared 80 adolescent women on Depo-Provera and 90 controls.

Users of Depo-Provera experienced reductions in bone mineral density of 1.81 per cent a year from their hips and 0.97 per cent a year from their spine, compared with a loss of 0.19 per cent and gain of 1.32 per cent respectively in controls.

But women who discontinued Depo-Provera had significant increases in bone mineral density of 1.34 per cent a year in their hips and 2.86 per cent in their spine.

Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2005;159:139-144

More fractures in coeliac patients

Coeliac disease is associated with an increased risk of fracture, new UK research finds.

Researchers investigated non-spine fractures in women over 50, by questioning 383 coeliac patients and 445 controls.

All fracture prevalence was 50 per cent higher in coeliac patients than in controls. Coeliac patients were more than twice as likely to have a fracture after age 50 and nearly three times more likely to have multiple fractures.

Osteoporosis International 2005,

early online publication February 4

H. pylori may raise stroke risk

Infection with Helicobacter pylori may increase the risk of ischaemic stroke.

Japanese researchers explored the relationship in 62 patients admitted to hospital with a first ischaemic stroke and 143 controls with hyperlipidemia but no cardiovascular disease or recorded infection. All patients were screened for H. pylori using the 13C-urea breath test. Patients with H. pylori infection were over twice as likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke as those not infected.

Atherosclerosis 2005;178:303-309

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say