Lege Artis Medicinae

[Off-label drug prescription in crossfire]

BÖLCS Ágnes

JULY 27, 2009

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2009;19(06-07)

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[Melatonin, sleep and the circadian rhythm: theoretical considerations and their chronopharmacological applications ]

BÓDIZS Róbert

[The predictive homeostasis of living organisms is an anticipatory adaptation to rhythmical environmental changes. A good example for this is the circadian rhythm preparing the organism for the alternation of day and night. The circadian rhythm of melatonin production anticipates the timing and duration of nocturnal sleep of human subjects. It also induces a sleep-like stimulusprocessing mode of the brain and - in case of adequate environmental circumstances - a soporific and in part, a sleep-inducing effect. Specificities of melatonin effects on sleep are the reduction of slow-wave EEG activity, as well as the increase in seep EEG spindling and REM sleep time. Like other substances with hypnotic properties, melatonin decreases core body temperature, but has also a strong chronobiotic effect that is expressed as rapid and strong phase shifts of the circadian rhythm, depending on the time of day of melatonin administration. Because light acutely suppresses melatonin production, adequately timed light exposition, containing also low wavelength components, together with exogenous melatonin, could be useful in treating jet-lag syndrome and other circadian rhythm disorders.]

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[Original and generic drugs: Research, efficacy, utilization, and financing ]

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[Starting from the definition of medicinal drugs, this paper covers the terms of original, active principles, original and generic drugs, and their distinctive and identical properties. It also surveys the fundamentals of drug-marketing authorization, criteria of therapeutic and bioequivalence, pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic equivalence, and development possibilities of generic drugs.]

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[Thiazide- or thiazide-like diuretics should be used in the treatment of patients with hypertension? Particularities of the situation in Hungary]

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[Diuretics have remained the cornerstone of the antihypertensive treatment since their widespreading in the 1960s. According to the 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension, in the absence of evidence from direct comparator trials and recognizing that many of the approved single-pill combinations are based on hydrochlorothiazide, this drug and thiazide-like indapamide can be considered suitable antihypertensive agents. In the 2018 Hungarian guidelines indapamide is named as the most efficacious diuretic in the treatment of patients with hypertension. The aim of the publication is redefining thiazide- and thiazide-like diuretic use in the treatment of hypertensive patients, with particular attention to presently available hydrochlorothia­zide and indapamide, and their combination drugs in Hungary.]

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[Health status and costs of ambulatory patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary]

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[Background and purpose - Data on disease burden of multiple sclerosis from Eastern-Central Europe are very limited. Our aim was to explore the quality of life, resource utilisation and costs of ambulating patients with multiple sclerosis in Hungary. Methods - Cross-sectional questionnaire survey was performed in two outpatient neurology centres in 2009. Clinical history, health care utilisation in the past 12 months were surveyed, the Expanded Disability Status Scale and the EQ-5D questionnaires were applied. Cost calculation was conducted from the societal perspective. Results - Sixty-eight patients (female 70.6%) aged 38.0 (SD 9.1) with disease duration of 7.8 (SD 6.7) years were involved. Fifty-five (80.9%) had relapsing-remitting form and 52 (76.5%) were taking immunomodulatory drug. The average scores were: Expanded Disability Status Scale 1.9 (SD 1.7), EQ-5D 0.67 (SD 0.28). Mean total cost amounted to 10 902 Euros/patient/year (direct medical 67%, direct nonmedical 13%, indirect costs 20%). Drugs, disability pension and informal care were the highest cost items. Costs of mild (Expanded Disability Status Scale 0-3.5) and moderate (Expanded Disability Status Scale 4.0-6.5) disease were 9 218 and 17 634 Euros/patient/year respectively (p<0.01), that is lower than results from Western European countries. Conclusion - Our study provides current inputs for policy making and contributes to understanding variation of costof- illness of multiple sclerosis in Europe.]

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TLR4 (Toll-like receptor-4) expression and frontal-cingulate volumes in schizophrenia

LI Hua, KÉRI Szabolcs

Evidence suggests that pathogen-associated pattern recognition receptors (Toll-like receptors, TLRs) are implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. TLRs are important in both peripheral immune responses and neuronal plasticity. However, the relationship between peripheral TLR expression and regional brain volumes is unknown in schizophrenia. We therefore assessed 30 drug-naïve, first-episode patients with schizophrenia. TLR4+/TLR1+ monocytes were measured using flow-cytometry. High resolution magnetic resonance images (T1 MRI) were obtained and analyzed with FreeSurfer. Results revealed significant negative correlations between the percentage of TLR4+ monocytes, mean fluorescent intensities, and brain volumes in frontal and anterior cingulate regions. The measures of TLR1+ monocytes did not show significant relationships with regional brain volumes. These results raise the possibility that abnormal TLR-activation is associated with decreased brain volumes in schizophrenia.

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Effects of valproate, carbamazepine and levetiracetam on Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratio

YASAR Altun, ERDOGAN Yasar

Aim - To evaluate P-wave dispersion before and after antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment as well as to investigate the risk of ventricular repolarization using the Tpeak-Tend (Tp-e) interval and Tp-e/QT ratio in patients with epileptic disorder. Methods - A total of 63 patients receiving AED therapy and 35 healthy adults were included. ECG recordings were obtained before and 3 months after anti-epileptic treatment among patients with epilepsy. For both groups, Tp-e and Tp-e/QT ratio were measured using a 12-lead ECG device. Results - Tp-e interval, Tpe/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratios were found to be higher in the patient group than in the control group (p<0.05, for all), while QTmax ratio was significantly lower in the patient group. After 3 months of AED therapy, significant increases in QT max, QTc max, QTcd, Tp-e, Tp-e/QT, and Tp-e/QTc were found among the patients (p<0.05). When the arrhythmic effects of the drugs before and after treatment were compared, especially in the valproic acid group, there were significant increases in Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc values after three months of treatment (p<0.05). Carbamazepine and levetiracetam groups were not statistically significant in terms of pre- and post-treatment values. Conclusions - It was concluded that an arrhythmogenic environment may be associated with the disease, and patients who received AED monotherapy may need to be followed up more closely for arrhythmia.

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[Zonisamide: one of the first-line antiepileptic drugs in focal epilepsy ]

JANSZKY József, HORVÁTH Réka, KOMOLY Sámuel

[Chronic administration of antiepileptic drugs without history of unprovoked epileptic seizures are not recommended for epilepsy prophylaxis. Conversely, if the patient suffered the first unprovoked seizure, then the presence of epileptiform discharges on the EEG, focal neurological signs, and the presence of epileptogenic lesion on the MRI are risk factors for a second seizure (such as for the development of epilepsy). Without these risk factors, the chance of a second seizure is about 25-30%, while the presence of these risk factors (for example signs of previous stroke, neurotrauma, or encephalitis on the MRI) can predict >70% seizure recurrence. Thus the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) re-defined the term ’epilepsy’ which can be diagnosed even after the first seizure, if the risk of seizure recurrence is high. According to this definition, we can start antiepileptic drug therapy after a single unprovoked seizure. There are four antiepileptic drugs which has the highest evidence (level „A”) as first-line initial monotherapy for treating newly diagnosed epilepsy. These are: carbamazepine, phenytoin, levetiracetam, and zonisamide (ZNS). The present review focuses on the ZNS. Beacuse ZNS can be administrated once a day, it is an optimal drug for maintaining patient’s compliance and for those patients who have a high risk for developing a non-compliance (for example teenagers and young adults). Due to the low interaction potential, ZNS treatment is safe and effective in treating epilepsy of elderly people. ZNS is an ideal drug in epilepsy accompanied by obesity, because ZNS has a weight loss effect, especially in obese patients.]