Calcium urolithiasis is often associated with increased intestinal absorption and urine excretion of calcium, and has been suggested to result from increased vitamin D production. The role of the enzyme 1 alpha-hydroxylase, the rate-limiting step in active vitamin D production, was evaluated in 36 families, including 28 sibships with at least a pair of affected sibs, using qualitative and quantitative trait linkage analyses. Sibs with a verified calcium urolithiasis passage (n = 117) had higher 24-h calciuria (P = 0.03), oxaluria (P = 0.02), fasting and postcalcium loading urine calcium/creatinine (Ca/cr) ratios (P = 0.008 and P = 0.002, respectively), and serum 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D levels (P = 0.02) compared with nonstone-forming sibs (n = 120). Markers from a 9-centiMorgan interval encompassing the VDD1 locus on chromosome 12q13-14 (putative 1 alpha-hydroxylase) were analyzed in 28 sibships (146 sib pairs) of single and recurrent stone formers and in 14 sibships (65 sib pairs) with recurrent-only (> or = 3 episodes) stone-forming sibs. Two-point and multipoint analyses did not reveal excess in alleles shared among affected sibs at the VDD1 locus. Linkage of stone formation to the VDD1 locus could be excluded, respectively, with a lambda d of 2.0 (single and recurrent stone formers) and 3.25 (recurrent stone formers). Quantitative trait analyses revealed no evidence for linkage to 24-h calciuria and oxaluria, serum 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D levels, and Ca/cr ratios. This study shows absence of linkage of the putative 1 alpha-hydroxylase locus to calcium stone formation or to quantitative traits associated with idiopathic hypercalciuria. In addition, there is coaggregation of calciuric and oxaluric phenotypes with stone formation.
To evaluate the costs, consequences, effectiveness, and safety of ciprofloxacin vs standard antibiotic care in patients with an initial acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (AECB) as well as recurrent AECBs over a 1-year period.
A total of 240 patients, 18 years or older with chronic bronchitis, with a history of frequent exacerbations (three or more in the past year) presenting with a type 1 or 2 AECB (two or more of increased dyspnea, increased sputum volume, or sputum purulence).
The assessment included AECB symptoms, antibiotics prescribed, concomitant medications, adverse events, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, outpatient resources such as diagnostic tests, procedures, and patient and caregiver out-of-pocket expenses. Patients completed the Nottingham Health Profile, St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire, and the Health Utilities Index. The parameters were recorded with each AECB and at regular quarterly intervals for 1 year. These variables were compared between the ciprofloxacin-treated group and the usual-care-treated group.
Patients receiving ciprofloxacin experienced a median of two AECBs per patient compared to a median of three AECBs per patient receiving usual care. The mean annualized total number of AECB-symptom days was 42.9+/-2.8 in the ciprofloxacin arm compared to 45.6+/-3.0 days in the usual-care arm (p=0.50). The overall duration of the average AECB was 15.2+/-0.6 days for the ciprofloxacin arm compared to 16.3+/-0.6 days for the usual-care arm. Treatment with ciprofloxacin tended to accelerate the resolution of all AECBs compared to usual care (relative risk=1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91 to 1.58; p=0.19). Treatment assignment did not affect the interexacerbation period but a history of severe bronchitis, prolonged chronic bronchitis, and an increased number of AECBs in the past year were associated with shorter exacerbations-free periods. There was a slight, but not statistically significant, improvement in all quality of life measures with ciprofloxacin over usual care. The only factors predictive of hospitalization were duration of chronic bronchitis (odds ratio=4.6; 95% CI, 1.6, 13.0) and severity of chronic bronchitis (odds ratio=4.3; 95% CI, 0.8, 24.6). The incremental cost difference of $578 Canadian in favor of usual care was not significant (95% CI, -$778, $1,932). The cost for the ciprofloxacin arm over the usual care arm was $18,588 Canadian per quality-adjusted life year gained. When the simple base case analysis was expanded to examine the effect of risk stratification, the presence of moderate or severe bronchitis and at least four AECBs in the previous year changed the economic and clinical analysis to one favorable to ciprofloxacin with the ciprofloxacin-treated group having a better clinical outcome at lower cost ("win-win" scenario).
Treatment with ciprofloxacin tended to accelerate the resolution of all AECBs compared to usual care; however, the difference was not statistically significant. Further, usual care was found to be more reflective of best available care rather than usual first-line agents such as amoxicillin, tetracycline, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole as originally expected. Despite the similar antimicrobial activities and broad-spectrum coverage of both ciprofloxacin and usual care, the trends in clinical outcomes and all quality of life measurements favor ciprofloxacin. In patients suffering from an AECB with a history of moderate to severe chronic bronchitis and at least four AECBs in the previous year, ciprofloxacin treatment offered substantial clinical and economic benefits. In these patients, ciprofloxacin may be the preferred first antimicrobial choice.
An open, randomized, parallel-group study was conducted to investigate whether asthmatic patients, considered adequately treated with a corticosteroid and/or short-acting beta 2-agonist via pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI), could be transferred to a corresponding nominal dose of budesonide and/or terbutaline via Turbuhaler, an inspiratory flow-driven multidose dry powder inhaler (Astra Draco; Lund, Sweden), without a decrease in the effect of treatment. One thousand four patients (555 women; mean age, 44 years; mean peak expiratory flow [PEF], 102% predicted normal value) were randomized and treated with either pMDI (current therapy) or Turbuhaler for 52 weeks. The variables studied were asthma-related events, morning PEF, and inhaler-induced clinical symptoms. Asthma-related events were defined in two ways: (1) sum of health-care contacts plus doublings or additions of steroids, and (2) number of 2 consecutive days with PEF less than 80% of baseline. Baseline was obtained from a 2-week run-in period while receiving previous therapy. No statistically significant difference was found in asthma-related events according to definition 1. According to definition 2, there was a statistically significant difference between the groups in favor of Turbuhaler (p = 0.008). The mean number of events was 1.7 with Turbuhaler and 2.2 with pMDI. The mean number of weeks per patient with a PEF less than 90% of baseline was 4.5 with Turbuhaler compared with 6.0 with pMDI (p = 0.002). The sum of inhaler-induced symptoms after 1 year of use was statistically significantly lower with Turbuhaler (0.40) than with pMDI (0.75) (p = 0.0001). In conclusion, budesonide and terbutaline in Turbuhaler offered a superior alternative to corticosteroids and bronchodilators delivered by pMDIs in the maintenance treatment of asthma.
TThe Syva MicroTrak Chlamydia enzyme immunoassay (EIA; Syva Company, San Jose, Calif.) with cytospin and direct fluorescent-antibody assay (DFA) confirmation was evaluated on 43,630 urogenital specimens over a 1-year period in the Provincial Laboratory in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. This was a two-phase study intended to define a testing algorithm for Chlamydia trachomatis that would be both highly accurate and cost-effective in our high-volume (> 3,000 tests per month) laboratory. The prevalence of C. trachomatis infection in our population is moderate (8 to 9%). In phase 1, we tested 6,022 male and female urogenital specimens by EIA. All specimens with optical densities above the cutoff value and those within 30% below the cutoff value were retested by DFA. This was 648 specimens (10.8% of the total). A total of 100% (211 of 211) of the specimens with optical densities equal to or greater than 1.00 absorbance unit (AU) above the cutoff value, 98.2% (175 of 178) of the specimens with optical densities of between 0.500 and 0.999 AU above the cutoff value, and 83% (167 of 201) of the specimens with optical densities within 0.499 AU above the cutoff value were confirmed to be positive. A total of 12% (7 of 58) of the specimens with optical densities within 30% below the cutoff value were positive by DFA. In phase 2, we tested 37,608 specimens (32,495 from females; 5,113 from males) by EIA. Only those specimens with optical densities of between 0.499 AU above and 30% below the cutoff value required confirmation on the basis of data from phase 1 of the study. This was 4.5% of all specimens tested. This decrease in the proportion of specimens requiring confirmation provides a significant cost savings to the laboratory. The testing algorithm gives us a 1-day turnaround time to the final confirmed test results. The MicroTrak EIA performed very well in both phases of the study, with a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 96.1, 99.1, 90.3, and 99.7%, respectively, in phase 2. We suggest that for laboratories that use EIA for Chlamydia testing, a study such as this one will identify an appropriate optical density range for confirmatory testing for samples from that particular population.
The prescription of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (analgesics) was studied using computerized patient records from a Finnish health centre with a population base of some 27,000 inhabitants. A random sample of every fifth patient visiting the health centre in 1986 was chosen. This study sample consisted of 4,577 patients with 17,021 physician contacts and altogether 14,035 prescriptions during the 1-year follow-up: of these analgesics comprised 14.8%. The proportion of the study population who received at least one analgesic prescription was 23 +/- 1.2% (95% CI). The use of physician contacts as a base revealed 10.7 +/- 0.5% (95% CI) of the contacts with an analgesic prescription. The exposure to analgesics among males increased with age from 17% for those aged 15-34 years to 34% for those aged 75 years or more. Among women, exposure to analgesics increased from 17% (15-34 years) to 41% (75 years or more). Most of patients who received analgesic prescriptions were incidental users (one or two analgesic prescriptions per year). Only 4% of women and 3% of men were categorized as heavy users of analgesics (seven or more analgesic prescriptions per year). The proportion of heavy users increased with age and was highest in the oldest age-group (75 years or more). In order to make informed policy judgements about drug use in society, we need routine sales statistics and patient-specific drug-use data such as those presented in this paper.
Thirty-one adult patients with asthma caused by house-dust mites (HDM) were included in this placebo-controlled, double-blind study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of specific immunotherapy (SIT) with biologically standardized extracts of HDM. The specific diagnosis was confirmed by skin prick tests, specific IgE, and bronchial provocation tests with HDM allergens. The patients were randomized to receive active treatment with extracts of either Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dpt) or D. farinae (Dfa) (Alutard SQ, ALK, Denmark) or placebo injections. Twenty-three patients completed the study. After 1 year of treatment, we found a clinically important and significant reduction in both asthma medicine consumption (inhaled steroids 38% and beta 2-agonists 46%) and symptom score (57%) in the actively treated group, but not the placebo group. These findings were confirmed by a significant decrease in skin and bronchial sensitivity to HDM in the active group. Additionally, there was a significant difference in the patients' scores for effect in favor of the actively treated group. Total IgE and specific IgE to HDM showed no significant changes before and after treatment for either group. Spirometric lung-function measurements showed a significant increase in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) from 85% before to 89% of predicted values after treatment for the actively treated group. Peak-flow measurements at home showed no significant changes during the study. It is concluded that allergen SIT is an effective treatment in adult patients suffering from asthma due to HDM.