Remicade, which is the brand name for the drug Infliximab, was recently approved for use in children by the FDA & a recent study shows positive outcomes can come from it’s use. However trustworthiness, warnings & lawsuits suggests that there are serious risks.

A recent study published in Gastroengology came to the conclusion that those taking Remicade treatments showed better outcomes & had less chances of needing surgery later, than those taking placebo. While this appears to be good news the trustworthiness of the study might come into question because many of researchers involved disclosed ties to pharmaceutical companies, including the manufacturer of Remicade which was also involved in funding the study. Continue reading “Remicade Can Improve Outcomes For Ulcerative Colitis But There Are Risks” »

Tranzyme’s TZP-102 is a Ghrelin receptor agonist designed for treatment of Gastroparesis in diabetic patients. Phase IIb trials are currently underway to further test it’s efficacy.

Ghrelin is a hormone that is generated within the walls of the stomach. It’s mainly responsible for the feeling of hunger along with helping to gear up the digestive system for food intake. Leptin is another digestive hormone that is almost the opposite of  Ghrelin in that it promotes feelings of satiety & lowers appetite. Those with Gastroparesis often have problems with loss of appetite & early feelings of fullness along with nausea & vomiting. While it’s known that usually a loss of digestive motility is the reason for these symptoms, it is not often known where the loss of motility came from. In some cases motility is not an issue, yet symptoms remain.  It is possible that those suffering from Gastroparesis may be dealing with an underproduction of Ghrelin or an overproduction of Leptin. It is also possible that these hormone levels are fine but some other issue exists like nerve or muscle damage. Regardless of the cause, increasing production of Ghrelin may be beneficial to those dealing with Gastroparesis as it may allow the digestive system to regain some lost motility while improving appetite & reducing feelings of fullness. Continue reading “Tranzyme’s TZP-102 Gastroparesis Treatment Starts Phase IIb Trials” »

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals is seeking approval from the European Medicines Agency for their Irritable Bowel Syndrome drug Linaclotide.

Almirall is the licensee of Linaclotide for European markets. They along with Linaclotide manufacturer, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, submitted a Marketing Authorization Application to the European Medicines Agency in a bid to gain access to European markets. Along with the application they submitted the results of their Phase III trials showcasing the benefits they feel Linaclotide provides patients who are dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If approved the drug would be sold under the brand name of Constella. Continue reading “Ironwood’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome Constipation Drug Seeking European Approval” »

After relatively successful Phase III trials Ironwood Pharmaceuticals’ has applied for final FDA approval of their flagship drug, Linaclotide, which is for the treatment of constipation & pain related Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

Continue reading “Ironwood Pharmaceuticals’ Linaclotide IBS Drug Looking For Final FDA Approval” »

Those trying to improve their health may actually be making it worse or even risking severe injury by taking colon cleansing products which are often costly & have dubious benefit.

A few months ago I wrote about my negative thoughts on colon cleansing products & how I felt they weren’t healthy, safe or cost effective treatment for digestive system problems. Of all the bogus health products out there colon cleansing is probably at the top of the list for deceiving people about it’s potential benefits. Continue reading “Colon Cleansing Offers Little Benefit & Dangerous For Some” »

In a 5-4 ruling today the Supreme Court ruled that generic drug manufactures can not be held liable for failing to properly warn about known adverse reactions to their generic versions of brand name drugs.

The ruling was prompted by a lawsuit from two women (Gladys Mensing and Julie Demahy) who developed tardive dyskinesia after taking a generic form of Reglan(metoclopramide). Tardive dyskinesia is a severe neurological disorder that causes degradation of motor skills & tremors. The symptoms are similar to those found in Parkinson’s Disease. Reglan is a motility drug that goes beyond the blood brain barrier & is used in the USA for treatment of things like Gastroparesis & acid reflux. While safer alternatives are available outside the USA, such as Domperidone, there aren’t really any viable alternatives in the USA besides the herbal Iberogast or Erythromycin(which has it’s own risks). Continue reading “Supreme Court’s Reglan Ruling Detrimental To Patient’s Rights” »

Plecanatide & Linaclotide are two drugs made by two different companies but both target Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a similar way.

Plecanatide is being developed by Synergy Pharmaceuticals while Linaclotide is being developed by Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. These drugs are targeted towards those with constipation predominant IBS with associated IBS related abdominal pain. Continue reading “Plecanatide & Linaclotide, Similar Experimental Treatments For IBS” »

Implantable device may help regulate hunger those with severe obesity.

The company Intrapace has come out with a new gastric stimulator device called “abiliti” which is meant to do the opposite of what Medtronic’s Enterra device does. While the Medtronic Enterra device is designed to help reduce nausea & vomiting in those with Gastroparesis so that they can increase food intake, “abiliti” is meant for those who are looking to lose weight and not eat as much. “abiliti” works in a similar fashion but obviously the goal is not to cause patients to experience symptoms similar to Gastroparesis, but instead to stimulate the stomach which causes a feeling of satiety or provides a feeling that the patient interprets as a signal to stop eating. Continue reading “Gastric Pacemaker ‘abiliti’ May Help With Weight Loss” »

For Now, FDA Blocks Approval Of Xifaxan for Usage By Those With Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Salix Pharmaceuticals confirmed on Tuesday(March 8th, 2011) that approval of their drug Xifaxan(aka Rifaxamin) for use in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome was put on hold by the FDA for the time being. The FDA stated that they did not feel the drug was ready for approval in it’s current form & are requesting Salix provide them with additional information about the drug before they’ll reconsider. Salix’s stock price took an immediate hit on the news & has stayed down by about 25% since. Continue reading “FDA Puts Brakes On Approval Of Salix’s Xifaxan For Irritable Bowel Syndrome” »

Well the giant egg recall is big news right now as it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and unfortunately more and more people are getting ill from it. The day before this recall was issued I had made some french toast which used quite a bit of eggs in it. Luckily the carton of eggs I had in the fridge were not part of the recall since I got them about two weeks before the recall happened(I don’t use a lot of eggs). Needless to say, I will not be making french toast for awhile.

One thing I am wondering is why so many people are getting sick. Salmonella is a bacteria that does die when heated to 165F or above. I have a feeling that many people who are getting sick are possibly mishandling the eggs or not cooking their eggs thoroughly. There are also possibilities of accidental gross contamination say within a grocery bag or in the fridge. I always keep my eggs separate from all my other groceries in the bag and in the fridge. I just don’t have much luck what with developing IBS from swimming in a river and later feeling nauseated with diarrhea that night, then later in life getting a three month bout of Gastroparesis from a norrovirus or food poisoning. So I take food handling very seriously.

It seems like ever summer we have a big name food recall related to salmonella. Last year it was peanuts, the year before it was tomatoes(which is a recurring theme), now it’s eggs. Eggs are actually less shocking as salmonella has always been a risk with eggs. Things like peanuts or tomatoes are scary as you don’t assume those would be a risk and in many cases they’re eaten raw. Even on a local level we’re seeing salmonella recalls. Umpqua dairy had to recall milk, cream, half-n-half & even orange juice because the processing plant was contaminated with salmonella and many people have become ill.

It makes you wonder about where our food is coming from and the people or businesses that produce it. Because our food system is becoming more consolidated all the time, a small outbreak can quickly spread across the nation & while it would seem this consolidation would make it easier to track down where the outbreak started from, that’s rarely the case. For example the tomato recall last year, took a long time to track down and in the end some were even doubting if it was the tomatoes and not a batch of bad jalapeno peppers that were actually causing the illnesses.

Inspections of our food supply & enforcement should be a top priority, but time and time again businesses fly under the radar until people start getting sick or even dying. For example the company Cadbury Chocolates in 2006 was finally fined almost $2 million US dollars because it knowingly put tainted candy bars on store shelves in the UK and lowered it’s hygiene standards to save money. The Peanut Corporation of America had a sloppy history of health violations and when it finally caught up with them causing a major salmonella outbreak, sickening many people, they just closed up shop and filed bankruptcy.

Ultimately I think the public & the government should take a firmer stance to ensure the purity of our food. The FDA may need to be expanded and we also need to “beef-up” the USDA inspection power as well. There are also powerful food industry lobbyists corrupting Washington, would be nice to kick them out too.

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