Pharmacologist tip sheet: Migraine patches, nicotine therapies, allergy medication interference...

March 06, 2001

Tip Sheet

Pharmacologists and researchers from 15 countries will present more than 400 presentations during the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT) annual meeting March 6-10 at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel.

Never-before published, peer-reviewed findings will include the following:

Nicotine Helps The Brain Stay Alert
Nicotine can stimulate parts of the brain that play a role in helping people pay attention. Edward Domino, MD of the Pharmacology Department at the University of Michigan and his colleagues, report that when small amounts of nicotine are sprayed into the nose, blood flow and glucose metabolism in the cerebral cortex and visual cortex are increased. These results are objective measures of the findings of studies looking at the impact of nicotine on behavior. (Poster PI-110)

Lidocaine Cream Can Help With Migraine Pain
Preliminary research with 40 subjects shows that lidocaine cream on the forehead can significantly reduce the pain of a migraine. Frederick Freitag, DO, of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, found that compared to a placebo, lidocaine cream significantly reduced migraine pain. After eight hours, eight patients were completely free of pain compared to none given placebos. Lidocaine is an anesthetic typically used locally. Freitag said lidocaine apparently works to stop the migraine by carrying pain-killing messages from the peripheral nerves back to the areas in the brain where migraines are believed to start. There were no significant adverse side effects. Larger studies are planned. Epicept Corp. of Englewood, N.J. is developing a patch of lidocaine cream to treat migraines. (Poster PI-3)

Juices Interfere With Popular Allergy Medicine
A glass of grapefruit, orange or apple juice is healthful and tasty, but researchers report that these juices can interfere with a specific protein's ability to take drugs from the intestine into the bloodstream. George Dresser, MD of the University of Western Ontario, and colleagues report in studies with mice and human volunteers, that these juices interfered with the ability of this protein, known as OATP(organic anion transport protein) to take up fexofenadine (the generic name for the drug Allegra). This information does not appear on the information accompanying the drug. This means, said Dr. Dresser, people taking fexofenadine with citrus juices may not be getting its full effect. On a broader scale, grapefruit, orange and apple juices may inhibit the absorption of a broad range of drugs by inhibiting OATP which would represent a new mechanism of food-drug interaction [Poster PI-82,89]

Tracking Adherence AIDS Medication Regimes
Physicians concerned about whether their AIDS patients are adhering to the difficult regimens of medications which control the disease and prolong life must look beyond the first month of therapy to determine if their patients are going to have adherence problems. Robert Gross, M.D. M.S.C.E. and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania find that virtually all patients are adhering to their regimens for the first month--what he calls the "New Year's Resolution" phenomenon. But, by the second and third months many patients have stopped taking the drugs regularly, with a concomitant increase in the amount of virus in their blood and seriousness of the illness. Gross is working toward developing tools to detect patients who are likely to poorly adhere to the regimens and find ways to get patients to continue following them. (Poster P III-76)
To view full abstracts go to:

Founded in 1900, the ASCPT consists of over 2200 professionals whose primary interest is to promote and advance the science of human pharmacology and therapeutics. The Society is the largest scientific organization serving the discipline of Clinical Pharmacology.

K-M Communications

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