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Recruitment crisis in Wales set to deepen

High doses of atypical antipsychotics can raise the risk of parkinsonism, a study reports.

US researchers studied 25,769 patients over 66 who had been prescribed antipsychotics. Over 11,573 person-years, 449 parkinsonism events were reported.

Patients on the newer, atypical

antipsychotics were overall 30 per cent less likely to develop parkinsonism than those on typical agents, but those on high doses were at equal risk.

Patients exposed to no antipsychotic were

60 per cent less likely to develop parkinsonism than those who took either typical or atypical drugs.

Archives of Internal Medicine 2005;

165:1882-8

Steroid link to smaller babies

Pregnant women who take systemic steroids for asthma have slightly smaller babies than those taking other drugs or none at all, a US study finds.

Researchers assessed fetal growth and birth weight in 654 babies born to asthmatic mothers and 303 non-asthmatic controls.

Babies born to mothers being treated with systemic steroids weighed an average of 3,373g, compared with 3,552g in babies born of mothers taking ?2-agonists and 3,524 in those born to users of inhaled steroids.

Babies born to controls weighed an average of 3,540g.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2005; 116:503-9

Switching triptans may help in migraine

Patients with migraine who respond poorly to one triptan may get significant pain relief from another, a German study reports.

Researchers studied 302 patients who had previously failed to respond to sumatriptan 50mg, randomising them to either almotriptan or placebo.

Some 47.5 per cent of patients treated with almotriptan experienced effective pain relief within two hours compared with just 23.2 per cent of those treated with placebo.

Headache 2005; 45: 874-82

New antidepressants equally effective

There is little difference between second-generation antidepressants in their effectiveness for treating major depressive disorder, a US study finds.

Researchers conducted a systematic

review of 46 randomised trials comparing

one second-generation antidepressant with another.

In 88 per cent of the comparative studies, there was no significant difference in efficacy between antidepressants.

The types of adverse events associated with different drugs varied, although the total incidence of events was similar.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2005;

143:415-26

Soy may reduce women's fracture risk

Soy consumption appears to reduce the risk of fracture in post-menopausal women, a Chinese study shows.

The study used validated food frequency questionnaires to stratify 24,403 post-menopausal women by soy consumption.

Over the next four-and-a-half years, there

were 1,770 incidents of fracture among the women.

As soy intake increased, it had a progressively greater protective effect on fracture risk.

Women in the highest quintile for soy intake had a 37 per cent reduction in risk.

Archives of Internal Medicine 2005;

165:1890-15

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