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Warfarin alternative ‘prevents more strokes’; Geographical variation in pollen-related allergies; Varenicline effective even in failed smoking quitters

By Lilian Anekwe

Our update on the latest research being presented at medical conferences.

Warfarin alternative better at stopping strokes

An alternative treatment to warfarin has been found to prevent more recurrent strokes.

In a study of 200 patients with atrial fibrillation and prior stroke or transient ischaemic attack, dabigatran 150 mg was significantly superior at preventing both ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Dabigatran 110 was non-inferior to warfarin at preventing strokes.

Haemorrhagic stroke occurred in 45 patients on warfarin, 14 patients on dabigatran 110 mg and 12 on dabigatran 150 mg. Ischaemic stroke occurred in 18 patients on warfarin, two patients on dabigatran 110 mg and five on dabigatran 150 mg.

International Stroke Conference 2010

Geographical variation in pollen-related allergies

There is a huge geographical variation in the prevalence of pollen-related oral allergies, say UK researchers who surveyed 3,590 patients in general practices across the country.

The highest population prevalence was in an urban practice Croydon at 4.1% – the lowest in an urban practice in Aberdeen at 0.8%.

Overall the UK prevalence was 2%, slightly lower than previous estimates- based on the UK prevalence of hay fever being 2.5% to 3.5% and up to 90% of them having a food related oral allergy syndrome.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2010

Varenicline effective even in failed smoking quitters

Varenicline is an effective aid for smoking cessation in a primary care setting, even in those who have already attempted to quit previously.

In a questionnaire of nearly 200 patients, researchers found patients who received varenicline for nine to 12 weeks were 11 times more likely to stop smoking, compared with those who completed less than two weeks of treatment.

Of the cohort, 90% had tried to quit smoking before, with over 87% using nicotine replacement therapy.

Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco annual meeting 2010