Research Roundup

Debbie Rigby takes a look at the latest in research news

Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain

The American College of Physicians (ACP) have developed this guideline on non-pharmacologic therapies as first-line treatment for patients with acute or subacute low back pain (lasting 12 weeks or less). Superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation are recommended for acute and subacute low back pain; whereas exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, and mindfulness-based stress reduction are supported by moderate quality evidence for the treatment of chronic low back pain.

Ann Intern Med. 2017.


Quarter-dose quadruple combination therapy for initial treatment of hypertension

A small Australian study suggests that the benefits of quarter-dose therapy could be additive across classes and might confer a clinically important reduction in blood pressure. The quadpill used in the study contained four blood pressure-lowering drugs each at quarter-dose (irbesartan 37·5 mg, amlodipine 1·25 mg, hydrochlorothiazide 6·25 mg, and atenolol 12·5 mg). All 18 participants achieved office blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg, compared with six (33%) of 18 during placebo treatment.

The Lancet, Published: 09 February 2017.


Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials shows that Vitamin D supplementation protects against acute respiratory tract infection. Protective effects were stronger in those with low baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (<25 nmol/L). The number needed to treat (NNT) is 33. The authors conclude that the findings support the introduction of public health measures such as food fortification to improve vitamin D status, particularly in settings where profound vitamin D deficiency is common.

BMJ 2017;356:i6583.



Potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in older hospital in-patients

Amongst 534 older patients in an Australian tertiary teaching hospital, 54.8% (284) were on 1 or more potentially inappropriate medicines at admission. More than one-quarter (26.8%) were prescribed multiple potentially inappropriate medicines; and 60.8% were discharged on a potentially inappropriate medicine. The Screening Tool of Older Persons’ potentially inappropriate Prescriptions (STOPP) was used to identify potentially inappropriate medicines.

Australasian Journal of Medicine 2016;35(4):262–265.


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  1. Nicholas Logan

    Really enjoy this update! Looks like Vitamin D is no longer a complementary medicine again. Or is it?

  2. Michael Post

    Thanks Debbie. I agree with Nick.. I enjoy your updates.

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