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Pharmaceutical Advances Offer Lower Risk And Reduced Infection

May 11, 2011

Health outcomes explored at DDW 2011

Research being presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) shows that patients taking a blood thinner (clopidogrel) after having polyps removed during colonoscopy were at relatively low risk of bleeding. Another study shows that a new drug that acts as a hormone, teduglutide, increases intestinal absorption for individuals with short bowel syndrome, which may decrease dependence on intravenous fluid and nutritional support in this at-risk population. A further study shows that a well-tolerated non-absorbable antibiotic (rifaximin) reduces the death rate in patients with advanced liver cirrhosis and fluid accumulation (ascites). DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the field of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

“Until now there has been uncertainty with regard to the safety of continuing blood thinners for colonoscopy patients, but at least for small polyps this now appears to be relatively safe. It is also very exciting to see the effectiveness of teduglitide in those who live with a life-threatening condition, short bowel syndrome. The benefit and apparent safety of rifaximin in advanced liver disease also holds real promise for our patients,” said moderator Nicholas J. Talley, MD, PhD, pro vice chancellor and dean of the faculty of health, and professor at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia.

The rate of post-polypectomy bleeding for patients on uninterrupted clopidogrel therapy during elective colonoscopy is acceptably low (Abstract #528)

A recent study examining the risk of bleeding after removing polyps during colonoscopy in patients taking blood thinners, specifically, clopidogrel (also known by the trade name Plavix) found that the risk of bleeding was relatively low. The risks and benefits of continuing or discontinuing blood thinners, like clopidogrel, prior to colonoscopy must be carefully weighed. Patients most commonly take clopidogrel to prevent the formation of blockages in coronary stents, a complication that would lead to a heart attack. However, the risk of bleeding after removing polyps while continuing to take clopidogrel is not clear.

Dr. Uddin will present these data on Sunday, May 8 at 2:15 p.m. CT in S103, McCormick Place.

Rifaximin prevents spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and improves transplant free survival in patients with liver cirrhosis (Abstract #729)

Rifaximin is an effective measure to prevent spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and improve transplant free survival in cirrhotic patients with ascites, according to new research from the Cleveland Clinic and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. SBP is a frequent, serious complication of liver cirrhosis associated with high mortality rates. Ascites, accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, is a common complication of liver cirrhosis in which ascitic fluid creates a favorable environment for growth of bacteria causing the SBP.

Dr. Ibrahim Hanouneh will present these data on Monday, May 9 at 2:15 p.m. CT in S106B, McCormick Place.

Teduglutide, a Novel Analogue of Glucagon-Like Peptide 2 (GLP-2), is Effective and Safe in Reducing Parenteral Support Volume in Short Bowel Syndrome-Intestinal Failure Subjects: Results from a 24-week, Placebo-Controlled Phase 3 Trial (STEPS) (Abstract #907)

The drug teduglutide increases intestinal absorption and decreases diarrhea, which for individuals with short bowel syndrome (SBS) may mean less dependence on life-sustaining intravenous fluid and nutritional support, an international study has found. The results hold promise for patients who have lost much of their small intestine and often part of their large bowel because of disease, injury or surgical complications. For them, SBS is a debilitating condition that decreases their ability to absorb fluids and nutrients and can result in dehydration and malnourishment.

Dr. Jeppesen will present these data on Tuesday, May 10, at 8:30 AM CT in S406B, McCormick Place.

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