Research Roundup

Debbie Rigby rounds up the latest in research news

Balancing the Risks and Benefits of Benzodiazepines

This article is a viewpoint on the risks and benefits of benzodiazepines, showing risk of overdose deaths when combined with opioids. Prolonged benzodiazepine use may also lead to abuse, dependence, and tolerance, leading to misuse, dose escalations, and withdrawal reactions. The paper also highlighted concerns on benzodiazepine misuse among adolescents.

JAMA 2021; Published online January 8, 2021.


Increased risk of incident dementia following use of anticholinergic agents

A systematic review and network meta-analysis has concluded that anticholinergic use for 3 or more months increased the risk of dementia on average by an estimated 46% versus non-use. In addition, use of bladder antimuscarinics increased risk of dementia by 21% to 65% with ≥3 months of use. The authors suggested that the risk of developing dementia should be carefully considered in the context of potential benefit before prescribing anticholinergics.

Neurourology and Urodynamics. 2021;40:28–37.


When to Use Initial Triple Therapy in COPD

Triple therapy (ICS/LABAs/LAMAs) may be considered as first-line treatment in patients experiencing more than 2 times moderate to severe AEs of COPD in the previous year and who have blood eosinophil counts ≥ 100 cells/μL, reduced lung function (FEV1 ≤ 42%), and more symptoms (CAT score ≥ 18).

International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2020;15:3375-84.


Management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a very common medical condition, driven by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, ultimately producing a severe chronic liver disease and increased cardiovascular risk. Treatment is generally limited to lifestyle intervention aimed at weight loss. Pioglitazone remains the drug of choice to reduce progression of fibrosis in people with diabetes.

BMJ 2021;372:m4747.

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