Lege Artis Medicinae

[Development of anticoagulation in the past two decades]

SAS Géza

MAY 20, 2011

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2011;21(05)

[In the past two decades we have witnessed a gradually increasing significance of both prophylactic and therapeutic anticoagulation. The importance of thromboprophylaxis has become widely accepted in the course of surgical interventions and in various other fields of medicine, too. The introduction of low molecular weight heparins was a milestone in this respect. The need for long-term anticoagulation has become a common problem. The various recent aspects and topics of anticoagulation have been described in the current Hungarian medical literature, therefore, I focus on two general problems of medicine of our days from the aspects of our subject. The evaluation of information on the new, direct-acting inhibitors (anti-IIa and anti- Xa),and their high price present great difficulies, especially in the case of long-term anticoagulation therapy. Clinical data and experiences have been collected from patients who are greatly different from the majority of patients in the real world. The lack of antidote may also be a serious problem in case of these new drugs, as urgent neutralization might be necessary, for example in case of serious bleeding, accidents etc. Today, cost-effectiveness of medical interventions and drugs has become a major aspect, therefore, the high price of new anticoagulants might prevent their use in the clinical practice. Despite the optimistic expectations regarding new anticoagulants, at present we have to strive to treat our patients with the currently available, effective but affordable drugs, widening and improving their use.]



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[The modern disciplines of diagnosing and treating back pain]


[The author presents the recommendations of international guidelines in the modern diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. Regarding diagnosis, it is very important to differentiate between “specific” and “aspecific” or “nonspecific” low back pain. The term “specific low back pain” includes all diseases and pathologies with well-defined aetiology and pathological process, including bacterial spondylitis, rheumatic spondylarthropathies, primary or secondary tumours, malignancies, myelon- or cauda equine compression, paresis, metabolic base diseases, pathological or nonpathological fractures are suspected. The presence of so called “red flags” indicate“specific” low back pain. This type of low back pain requires quick and precise diagnosis and specific treatment. All other kinds of low back pain, even those with very painful radiculopathy, and without paresis, cauda- or myelon compression can be considered as aspecific, even if caused by a herniated disc, because there is no absolute indication of discectomy. In case of aspecific low back pain, there is no need of any diagnostic imaging methods, because they would not influence treatment. The main points of treatment are to keep the patient active, quick mobilisation with appropriate analgesia and antiinflammatory treatment following no more than 2-3 days of bed rest, and return to work as soon as possible, with easier work conditions if needed. The longer the patient is on sick leave, the higher the risk he or she will never return to work. If initial active treatment is not is effective enough, the patient's case should be reassessed in 3-6 weeks. If a herniated disc is suspected, the necessary imaging methods should be performed, and the patient should be operated if necessary. With this method, chronic, disabling low back pain can be avoided in many cases. The danger of developing chronic low back pain are indicated by the so called “yellow flags”: dissatisfaction with work, allowance claim, insufficient and even false ideas about the causes and consequences of low back pain, fear, anxiety, depression. These problems can be alleviated by the positive athmosphere of the workplace, appropriate patient education, activity, anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs, activity and regular exercise.]

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[Efficiency of osteoporosis treatment in Hungary - An analysis of the Hungarian National Insurance Company’s data]

LAKATOS Péter, TÓTH Emese, SZEKERES László, POÓR Gyula, HÉJJ Gábor, TAKÁCS István

[The treatment of osteoporosis and its consequences place a significant burden on the health care of developed countries. Modern therapeutical approaches are able to efficiently decrease the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures. However, we do not know whether the interventions introduced in the past 15 years have significantly reduced the number of osteoporotic fractures in real life, and if they have, how cost-effective this effect was. To answer these questions, we have analysed data of the Hungarian National Insurance Company collected between 2004-2010. During these 7 years, the number of bone fractures among patients treated for osteoporosis continuously decreased. This was also observed in the incidence of hip fractures. Interestingly, the mortality of osteoporotic patients was significantly lower than that of the same age group in the average population. Besides the efficient treatment of osteoporosis, this finding is also due to the outstanding general care provided by the specialised osteoporosis centers of the country. As a consequence of the reduction in fractures, 3.4 billion HUF was saved per year by the insurance company, which is approximately equal to the 3.5 billion HUF spent on the reimbursement of medicines used for the treatment of osteoporosis, which means that the investments show a return. The calculation of the quality- adjusted life years, which is the internationally accepted method of the WHO for the study of cost-effectiveness, shows that the above results were achieved in a remarkably cost-efficient way. At the same time, it is noteworthy and calls for caution that the decrease in reimbursement by the insurance company in 2007 resulted in a 51% drop in the number of patients receiving treatment, which radically reduced the observed efficiency.]

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[The choice of antibiotic therapy from the viewpoint of an economist]

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[OBJECTIVES - Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in various bacterial infections is a growing problem in everyday clinical practice. The development of resistance is related to the clinical use of antibiotics, which substantially influences the efficiency of antimicrobial therapy. Inappropriately chosen therapy may increase the cost of treatment because of reduced efficacy and potential unwanted outcomes, adverse effects. Prolonged duration of treatment and increased use of diagnostic and therapeutic resources (including all medication expenses) contribute to the increased costs of treatment. The aim of our study was to demonstrate the differences in the total cost of therapy during hospitalization in certain patient groups, depending on the efficiency of the chosen antibiotic therapy. METHODS - We examined acute abdominal episodes, which represent one of the most typical surgical diseases. We analysed 59 hospital in-patient episodes that occurred in a six-month period, using aggregated hospital data. On the basis of the first choice of antibiotic we compared the average duration of antibiotic therapy and hospital stay, the incidence of medical complications and the cost of all these factors. RESULTS - The available results of our pilot study show that the length of hospital stay and the total cost of treatment may substantially increase even in the short term as a result of an inadequate choice of antibiotic, as the total cost of treatment is affected not only by the daily cost of antibiotic therapy, but also by its efficiency. In the long term, the risk of potentially developing resistance also necessitates an accurate choice of therapy, which requires institutional infection control and the prescription and implementation of protocols. These must be supported by cost-effectiveness analyses that include costs as well as results.]

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[The treatment of chronic hepatitis C with peginterferon - Peginterferon alfa-2a or alfa-2b?]


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