Research Roundup

old bulbs with a smart bulb in middle

Debbie Rigby rounds up the latest in research news 

Adverse health effects and harms related to marijuana use

This overview review explores the harms associated with marijuana use. Harm was associated with most outcomes assessed including mental health, cancer, social effects, brain changes, neurocognitive changes and harms associated with use during pregnancy. There was no evidence of harm for arteritis or lung, head and neck cancers.

CMAJ Open 2018;6(3):E339-46.


Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder that presents with abdominal pain, related to defecation, accompanied by a change in stool frequency or form. A low-FODMAP diet is an effective therapy. Low-dose antidepressants improve symptoms but can be accompanied by adverse effects. Peppermint oil acts as an antispasmodic and significantly reduces symptoms compared with placebo. Probiotics possibly have a role in irritable bowel syndrome.

Aust Prescr 2018;41:145-9.


Dry eye disease: when to treat and when to refer

Dry eye disease affects one in five adults and can significantly impair quality of life. Ocular lubricants, preferably without preservatives, are indicated for mild dry disease. Blepharitis should be treated with lid wipes, rosacea management, eradication of infection. Meibomian gland dysfunction can be treated with warm compresses or warming eye masks. Drugs that may exacerbate eye symptoms should be reviewed.

Aust Prescr 2018;41:160-3.


Second steps in managing type 2 diabetes

Metformin is recommended as first-line drug treatment for type 2 diabetes. Sulfonylureas are appropriate as second-line drugs for many patients. If a combination of metformin and a sulfonylurea is not suitable, either a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor or sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor can be prescribed. The patient characteristics and the beneficial and adverse effects of the drug should be considered when selecting second-line therapy.

Aust Prescr 2018;41:141-4.


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