Lege Artis Medicinae

[THE ROLE OF THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM]

JÁRAI Zoltán

DECEMBER 16, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(12)

[Cannabinoid research in the last two decades became one of the most important fields in medical science, mainly because of the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and the understanding of the close connections between this system and several important diseases and pathological states. The endocannabinoid system has been shown to be present and active in many tissues and organs including the central nervous, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems, liver, lungs and bones. Its role in eye function, malignant diseases, pain and inflammation has also been studied. This review gives a summary of all these results with special attention to the role of the endocannabinoid system in energy metabolism and cardiovascular regulation.]

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[The 48. Congress of the Hungarian Society of Gastroenterology - 17-21. June 2006. Szeged]

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[I’ll Visit the Minister!]

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[TREATMENT OF HYPERTENSION - RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PRACTICE]

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[Hypertension is one of the most common diseases with a prevalence of over 25%. Despite of the availability of modern therapeutic options, the proportion of well-controlled patients is low. Before starting the treatment of patients with hypertension, it is essential to assess cardiovascular risk factors, co-morbidities and damages to target organs, in addition to repeated blood pressure measurements. The author first reviews the non-pharmacological treatment options of hypertension, then summarizes the most important characteristics of first-line antihypertensive agents (diuretics, beta-receptor blockers, calcium channel antagonists, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers). Considering the complex pathomechanism of essential hypertension, the author details the advantages and options of combined antihypertensive therapy, touching on the combinations recommended in special conditions. The metabolic effects and side-effects of antihypertensive agents, which have recently gained increased significance, are also discussed. Modern hypertension care is aimed at maximally decreasing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and improving the patient's quality of life. Maximum decrease of cardiovascular risk not only involves proper blood pressure control, but also aggressive fight against other risk factors (e.g., diabetes, dyslipidaemia, smoking) and treatment of target organ damages and comorbidities.]

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[CLINICAL ASPECTS OF NOCTURNAL GASTRO-OESOPHAGEAL REFLUX]

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[Gastro-oesophageal reflux that occur at night has special clinical features and thus require extra attention. During sleep most anti-reflux mechanisms diminish, which results in prolonged contact between gastric acid and oesophageal mucosa compared to reflux during the day. Nighttime reflux symptoms adversely affect quality of life, vitality, physical and mental health. A further important consequence is the potential exacerbation of respiratory disorders such as asthma and sleep apnea. There is increasing interest in the association between nocturnal reflux and certain extra-oesophageal symptoms, including reflux laryngitis and chronic cough. An increased risk of erosive damage and adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus are also observed among patients who report nocturnal reflux symptoms. The primary goal of treatment is to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications by decreasing the time of acid contact with oesophageal mucosa. Nighttime reflux symptoms are much more difficult to control than daytime symptoms. Treatment guidelines generally recommend lifestyle changes as the initial approach in managing nocturnal symptoms, however, this is successful in only a small proportion of patients. Evidence-based reviews and meta-analyses favour the use of proton pump inhibitors in the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and reflux-oesophagitis. Proton pump inhibitors are the most efficient acid-suppressing agents and thus diminish the harmful effect of acidic gastric reflux on the oesophageal mucosa. In addition, by decreasing the volume of gastric acid, they reduce the tendency to reflux.]

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[There have been attempts to treat obesity with medicines for nearly 100 years, since the discovery of ephedrine. For decades amphetamine derivates and agents stimulating or inhibiting the release of noradrenaline and dopamine have been applied. However, most of theses drugs had to be gradually withdrawn, due to their adverse effects on the cardiovascular and central nervous system or their sympaticotonic effect. Dexfenfluramine (Isolipan), which was introduced in the 90s, did not have such side effects, but it turned out to potentially cause valvular heart disease. Finally, sibutramin (Reductil) was introduced, which again had to be withdrawn in 2010 due to its hypertensive and cardiovascular side effects. After all, we were left without any appetite-suppressant drugs. Orlistat therapy, (Xenical 120 mg, alli 60 mg - OTC), which inhibits the absorption of fat, can eliminate only 30% of the consumed food’s fat content, at the price of gastrointestinal side effects. The latest result of research carried out wordwide is that in 2012 the FDA approved commercial distribution of the selective 5HT2/c serotonin agonist lorcaserin (Belviq), which enhances satiety, in the USA. Unfortunately, in 2013 the EMEA temporarily postponed the lauch of this drug, until certain adverse effects are excluded. For diabetic patients, the GLP-1 agonist exenatid and the GLP-analog liraglutid, which can also reduce body weight, are available in the form of injections.]

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