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Newer Anti-inflammatory Drugs may increase the risk of Full Blown TB

Aug 06, 2004

TNF-alpha antagonists are a relatively new class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat severe conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease. Drugs in this class include Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade. It seems that if a person has a latent tuberculosis infection, these drugs allow the TB to become a full-blown lung infection. As of January 2004, FDA's adverse-event reporting system had received several hundred reports of active TB disease in patients receiving TNF-alpha antagonists. Some of these patients have died from the disease. The report is published in the August 6th issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Anti-Anxiety Medication Increases the Risk of Hip Fracture in the Elderly

In a study of 125,203 New Jersey residents, it was found that benzodiazepine drugs increase the risk of hip fracture, especially in the first two weeks of use. Benzodiazepines include Ativan, Librium, Valium and Xanax, drugs commonly used for anxiety. These drugs cause sleepiness, dizziness, and chemical dependence. The New Jersey Medicaid recipients had a reported 2312 hip fractures over a three-and one-half year period. After adjusting the risk of hip fracture for age, sex, use of other medications, a diagnosis of epilepsy or dementia, and other factors it was found that using benzodiazepines increased the risk of hip fracture by 27%. The increased risk was even much higher than this level for the first two weeks with over a 100% increased risk. The study is published in the July 26th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.