A new study, of women who reported being exposed to at least 2 months of antibiotics in their mid-50s, showed lower average scores on a standard cognitive assessment 7 years later. Meanwhile, ten batches of three oral drugs shipped to hospitals, nursing homes and clinics across the country have been recalled.
CIDRAP: Mid-life antibiotic use linked to lower cognitive test scores
A new study suggests a link between antibiotic use in midlife and small decreases in cognitive test scores later in life. The study, led by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Rush Medical College, found that women who reported at least 2 months of antibiotic exposure in their mid-50s had lower average scores during a standard cognitive assessment 7 years later compared to those who were not. t exposed to antibiotics. The relationship persisted after adjusting for other lifestyle risk factors. (Dall, 3/25)
The Conversation: Long-term use of antibiotics by middle-aged women may affect cognitive function – New study
Antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world. They are used to treat many different bacterial infections. While most people only take a course of antibiotics for a week or two at a time, some may take antibiotics for a longer period to treat certain chronic conditions, such as pneumonia or acne. Although antibiotics can save lives, their long-term use can lead to several side effects, not the least of which is the risk of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics. And now, a recent study has also linked long-term antibiotic use by middle-aged women to an increased risk of cognitive decline. (Barker, 3/25)
Medical News Today: Antibiotics and cognitive decline: Is there a connection?
The gut microbiome is made up of all the microbes and their genetic material living in our gastrointestinal tract. These microbes include bacteria, fungi and viruses. The intestinal microbiota is essential to regulate our internal environment and the functioning of the immune system. There is a two-way communication between the central nervous system and the gut, called the gut-brain axis. Scientists believe that the gut-brain axis allows our gut bacteria to influence the brain. The gut microbiome modulates brain development and function throughout our lives. There is some evidence that changes in the gut microbiome may play a role in the development of psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as depression, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease. (Uildriks, 3/23)
In other pharma news —
Miami Herald: Recall: Major Pharmaceuticals Milk of Magnesia, Pain Reliever
Ten lots of three oral medications shipped to hospitals, nursing homes and clinics nationwide were recalled for “microbial contamination and failure to properly investigate failed microbial tests.” It’s in the recall alert issued by the FDA from Plastikon Healthcare, maker of Major Pharmaceuticals brand drugs. Here’s what you need to know. (Neal, 3/27)
The New York Times: The FDA rushed a drug for premature births. Did this set the speed on science?
By the time Brittany Bonds gave birth to her third son in the back of an ambulance 10 weeks before her due date, she no longer trusted the drug Makena. The drug was intended to prevent premature births and improve the health of a baby. But it didn’t work out for Ms Bonds, whose son Phoenix ended up in NICU for 83 days. At 2 years old, he still has a host of health problems. (Jewett, 3/25)
The New York Times: When will men get birth control pills? Your questions, answers
A buzzing new animal study offers another contender in the search for a male form of birth control. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a birth control pill for male mice that has been shown to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The contraceptive targets a protein in the body that receives a form of vitamin A, which is involved in sperm production and fertility. The researchers gave this compound, called YCT529, to male mice for four weeks; animals showed significantly lower sperm counts. Four to six weeks after ceasing to receive the contraceptive, the mice could again impregnate a female mouse. (Blum, 03/25)
Modern healthcare: Hospitals worried as more drugmakers limit $340 billion rebates
UW Medicine worries about the future of its 340B rebates as more drugmakers limit rebates for drugs dispensed from contract pharmacies. “We are seeing our economies eroding significantly,” said Sumona DasGupta, associate director of pharmacy audit and compliance. UW Medicine, which operates two 340B hospitals, lost about two-thirds of its contract pharmacy savings, she said. Safety net providers across the country expect more lost savings due to drugmaker restrictions on 340B discounts to contract pharmacies, as sixteen drugmakers announced plans to limit discounts since the summer of 2020, despite ongoing lawsuits. (Goldman, 3/25)
KHN: Big Pharma bets on bigger political ambitions for Senator Tim Scott
Sen. Tim Scott, a popular Republican Party rising star in his home state of South Carolina, is awash in drug money before facing voters this fall. Scott was the top recipient of pharmaceutical campaign cash in Congress in the second half of 2021, receiving $99,000, according to KHN’s Pharma Cash to Congress database, becoming a new industry favorite. Although Scott has been a perennial recipient since joining Congress in 2011, the latest amount is nearly twice his previous record high. (Pradhan and Knight, 3/28)
KHN: KHN: Pharma Cash To Congress Campaign Contribution Tracker
Every year, pharmaceutical companies pay millions of dollars to U.S. senators and representatives in a multi-pronged effort to influence law-making and healthcare spending priorities. Use this tool to explore the important role drugmakers play in the campaign finance system, where many industries seek to influence Congress. (Lucas and KHN Staff, 3/23)
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