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  • Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of adjuvant treatment to levodopa therapy in Parkinson s disease patients with motor complications.

    20 August 2018

    BACKGROUND: One of the complications of long-term treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) with levodopa is the development of motor complications. Generally, when motor complications develop, clinicians add in an additional drug (to the levodopa regimen) from one of three other classes of anti-Parkinsonian treatments (dopamine agonists, catechol-O-methyl transferase inhibitors (COMTIs) or monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors (MAOBIs)). However, despite trials having shown that these drugs are beneficial compared to placebo, it remains unclear as to the best way to treat patients experiencing motor complications and whether one class of drug is more effective than another. OBJECTIVES: This meta-analysis aims to assess more reliably the benefits and risks of the three classes of drugs (dopamine agonists, COMTIs and MAOBIs) currently used as adjuvant treatment to levodopa in PD patients suffering from motor complications. The three drug classes were compared with the aim of determining whether one class of drug provides better symptomatic control than another. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library), MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, LILACS and Web of Science, plus major journals in the field, abstract books, conference proceedings and reference lists of retrieved publications. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised trials comparing an orally administered dopamine agonist, COMTI or MAOBI versus placebo, both on a background of levodopa therapy, in PD patients experiencing motor complications. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently extracted data on off-time, levodopa dose, motor complications, side-effects, treatment concordance, clinician-rated disability, mortality, quality of life and health economic data. MAIN RESULTS: Forty-four eligible trials, involving 8436 participants were identified. Compared to placebo, adjuvant therapy significantly reduced off-time (-1.05 hours/day, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.19 to -0.90; P<0.00001), the required levodopa dose (-55.65 mg/day, CI -62.67 to -48.62; P<0.00001) and improved UPDRS scores (UPDRS ADL score: -1.31 points, CI -1.62 to -0.99; P<0.00001; UPDRS motor score: -2.84 points, CI -3.36 to -2.32; P<0.00001; UPDRS total score: -3.26 points, CI -4.52 to -2.00; P<0.00001). However, dyskinesia (odds ratio (OR) 2.50, CI 2.21 to 2.84; P<0.00001) and side-effects including constipation (OR 3.19, CI 2.17 to 4.68; P<0.00001), dizziness (OR 1.57, CI 1.30 to 1.90; P<0.00001), dry mouth (OR 2.33, CI 1.22 to 4.47; P=0.01), hallucinations (OR 2.16, CI 1.70 to 2.74; P<0.00001), hypotension (OR 1.47, CI 1.18 to 1.83; P=0.0007), insomnia (OR 1.38, CI 1.09 to 1.74; P=0.007), nausea (OR 1.78, CI 1.53 to 2.07; P<0.00001), somnolence (OR 1.87, CI 1.40 to 2.51; P<0.0001) and vomiting (OR 2.56, CI 1.67 to 3.93; P<0.0001) were all increased with adjuvant therapy.Indirect comparisons of the three drug classes suggested that dopamine agonists were more efficacious in reducing off-time (dopamine agonist: -1.54 hours/day; COMTI: -0.83 hours/day; MAOBI: -0.93 hours/day; test for heterogeneity between drug classes P=0.0003) and levodopa dose (dopamine agonist: -116 mg/day; COMTI: -52 mg/day; MAOBI: -29 mg/day; test for heterogeneity between drug classes P<0.00001). UPDRS scores also improved more with dopamine agonists than with COMTI or MAOBI (UPDRS total scores - dopamine agonist: -10.01 points versus COMTI: -1.46 points versus MAOBI: -2.20 points; test for heterogeneity between drug classes P<0.00001), although more dyskinesia were seen with dopamine agonists (OR 2.70) and COMTI (OR 2.50) than with MAOBI (OR 0.94) (test for heterogeneity between drug classes P=0.009). Although the increase in the overall incidence of side-effects was generally more marked with dopamine agonists (OR 1.52) and COMTI (OR 2.0) than with MAOBI (OR 1.32), heterogeneity between drug classes was only of borderline significance (P=0.07). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Compared to placebo, adjuvant therapy reduces off-time, levodopa dose, and improves UPDRS scores in PD patients who develop motor complications on levodopa therapy. However, this is at the expense of increased dyskinesia and numerous other side-effects. Indirect comparisons suggest that dopamine agonist therapy may be more effective than COMTI and MAOBI therapy, which have comparable efficacy. However, as indirect comparisons should be interpreted with caution, direct head-to-head randomised trials assessing the impact of these different drug classes on overall patient-rated quality of life are needed.

  • How would British stroke physicians diagnose and treat hypoxia in patients with acute stroke?

    20 August 2018

    There is no evidence from randomised controlled trials to guide oxygen treatment after stroke. This survey aims to establish a snapshot of views of clinicians on best current practice relating to the management of hypoxia early after acute stroke. A postal questionnaire was sent to all 231 members of the British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP). For 88% of the 130 respondents the decision to give oxygen was guided by the oxygen saturation, and for 67% it was guided by clinical criteria. The mean cut-off for oxygen supplementation suggested was ≤ 93% SD 2 (range 85-98%). Sixty-seven respondents would give oxygen by nasal cannulae and 74 via face mask. The oxygen concentration selected was 24% (n=17), 28% (n=31), 35% (n=15), 40% (n=3) and 100% (n=3). This shows there is wide variation amongst stroke physicians about when to start oxygen, how much to give and by which route. There is a need for a randomised clinical trial to guide oxygen therapy after acute stroke.

  • Severe adverse impact on sexual functioning and fertility of bone marrow transplantation, either allogeneic or autologous, compared with consolidation chemotherapy alone: Analysis of the MRC AML 10 trial

    20 August 2018

    BACKGROUND. Data relating to the impact of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) on sexual functioning are equivocal; some studies have shown no major impact whereas others demonstrate a significant adverse effect on sexual health in patients treated with BMT. Further clarification is required to facilitate treatment choices and follow-up management of patients. METHODS. A cross-sectional study of sexual health and infertility was conducted in 479 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first complete remission (CR) who were entered into the UK MRC AML 10 trial comparing allogeneic BMT (Allo- BMT), autologous BMT (A-BMT), and intensive consolidation chemotherapy (CCT). Assessment was made by patient questionnaire via the treating centers for completion and returned directly to the coordinating center. RESULTS. Both Allo-BMT and A-BMT were observed to have severe, highly significant adverse effects on the patients' sexual health. Significantly more BMT patients than CCT patients reported a decrease in interest in sex (48% vs. 24%), sexual activity (53% vs. 35%), pleasure from sex (36% vs. 18%), and ability to have sex (38% vs. 18%) (P < 0.001 in each case). Hormonal disorders and infertility also were more common in BMT patients than in CCT patients. These differences were more apparent in women and remained after adjustment for age. CONCLUSIONS. These results indicate a need to consider quality of life parameters when reviewing treatment options and to instigate effective proactive management strategies for dealing with sexual health problems in leukemia survivors.