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Medication for the treatment of high cholesterol levels

High cholesterol levels could mean an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Certain medications that reduce cholesterol levels can prevent related health problems and increase life expectancy. Whether or not it is worth taking these medications will depend on what other risk factors you have.If the risk of cardiovascular disease cannot be reduced enough through general measures, treatment with medication can be considered. Whether or not it is worth taking medication will vary from person to person, depending on what other risk factors for cardiovascular disease they have and how important the advantages and disadvantages are to them.People’s individual approach to health will play a role too. If someone has unfavorable cholesterol levels but they do not have any other risk factors, or only a few, then they might prefer not to take medication. People who have several other risk factors might be more concerned so they might be more willing to take medication.When deciding whether or not to have a certain treatment, it can help to know what advantages and disadvantages the treatment has. Various groups of drugs can reduce cholesterol levels. But only one group of drugs, known as statins, has been well studied for the treatment of people who have never had a heart attack, stroke or other type of cardiovascular disease. Statins lower the risk of vascular disease by about 20% in these people. The health impact of this risk reduction will vary from person to person, though, mostly depending on their individual risk of cardiovascular disease. A doctor can help you determine your personal risk.Aready having cardiovascular poblems such as coronary artery disease is one major factor. If that is the case, it greatly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Medication can be used to reduce this risk very effectively.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: August 29, 2013

Reducing the Risk of Bone Fracture: A Review of the Research for Adults With Low Bone Density

This summary explains how low bone density can increase the risk of breaking a bone and what research has found about different treatments to lower the risk. It can help you talk with your doctor about which treatment might be right for you.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: March 2013

Managing Pain From a Broken Hip: A Guide for Adults and Their Caregivers

You or the person you care for is an older adult (more than 50 years old) who is in a hospital because of a hip fracture (a broken hip that occurs suddenly from an event like a fall).

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: May 17, 2011

Parkinson's: Overview

Parkinson's is a disease of the nervous system that mostly affects older people. The disease can be very hard to live with because it severely restricts mobility and as a result makes daily activities increasingly difficult. Our topic provides you with information about symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and life with the disease.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: April 8, 2015

Varicose veins: Overview

We tell you about common surgical and non-surgical treatment options and help you understand when varicose veins and swollen legs can be signs of serious health problems. You can also learn who has a hightened risk of varicose veins - and what you can do yourself to relieve pain in your legs.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: May 14, 2013

Chinese herbal medicines for hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive or low thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones which are important for many functions of the body (metabolism). In adults hypothyroidism may cause fatigue and sluggishness, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, pale and dry skin, brittle fingernails and hair, a puffy face, hoarse voice, unexplained weight gain, muscle aches, tenderness, stiffness and weakness, pain, stiffness or swelling in the joints, heavier than normal menstrual periods, and depression. Hypothyroidism in infants and teenagers may result in poor growth and mental development as well as delayed development of permanent teeth and puberty.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Heated, humidified air for the common cold

The common cold is the most common infection in humans. Considered trivial, it does not cause complications but leads to significant work absenteeism due to discomfort caused by the symptoms.The common cold is diagnosed according to the symptoms and treatments are mainly symptomatic. New information, especially regarding the effects of cytokines in human beings, now helps to explain some of the symptoms of colds and influenza, such as fever, loss of appetite, malaise, chilliness, headache, and muscle aches and pains. Many of these signs and symptoms are common and are attributed to congestion arising from swelling of the membranes and thickened mucus inside the nose.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Statins for delaying the onset and progression of age‐related macular degeneration

Age‐related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease of the macula (area in the back of the eye affecting central vision). AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years in industrialized countries. Studies have shown that some of the factors that may lead to heart disease and strokes are the same as those which may lead to AMD. Statins are a type of drug that aims to lower blood cholesterol levels. Statins are very effective in preventing strokes, so it is possible that they are also protective for AMD.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in children

Influenza (true 'flu) is an infection of the airways caused by the Influenza group of viruses. Influenza occurs most commonly during winter months and can result in symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. These are usually self limiting but may persist for one to two weeks. The most common complications of influenza are secondary bacterial infections including otitis media (ear infections) and pneumonia. Influenza infection is also highly contagious and is spread from person‐to‐person by droplets produced when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Treating Chronic Hepatitis C: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will discuss treatment options for chronic hepatitis C. It will tell you about research on how well medicines for chronic hepatitis C work. It will also tell you about research on the side effects of these medicines. It does not discuss screening and diagnosis of hepatitis C. This summary can help you talk with your doctor about which treatment might be best for you.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: November 27, 2012

Gonzalez Regimen (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the Gonzalez regimen as a treatment for people with cancer. Note: The information in this summary is no longer being updated and is provided for reference purposes only.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: March 24, 2015

Tryptophan and 5‐Hydroxytryptophan for depression

5‐HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) and tryptophan have been examined to see whether these treatments are effective, safe and acceptable in treating unipolar depression in adults. The researchers reported that the symptoms of depression decreased when 5‐HTP and tryptophan were compared to a placebo (non‐drug). However, side effects had occurred (dizziness, nausea and diarrhoea). They also reported that tryptophan has been associated with the development of a fatal condition. More evidence is needed to assess efficacy and safety, before any strong and meaningful conclusions can be made. Until then, the reviewers propose that the use of antidepressants which have no known life threatening side effects remain more attractive. The review sets out the required methodology for effectively studying these substances in proper controlled studies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Comparing Fingolimod with other MS Drugs

How does fingolimod compare in multiple sclerosis?

PubMed Clinical Q&A [Internet] - National Center for Biotechnology Information (US).

Version: November 30, 2011

Non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs for the common cold

The common cold is the most common and widespread illness known to humans. Non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for example, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, have analgesic (pain reducing), antipyretic (fever reducing) and, in higher doses, anti‐inflammatory effects. NSAIDs have been widely used for over a century for the treatment of pain and fever associated with the common cold and so it important to assess the efficacy of using NSAIDs for treating pain or fever associated with the common cold.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Clinical symptoms and signs for the diagnosis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in children and adolescents with community‐acquired pneumonia

Background: Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) is a significant cause of community‐acquired pneumonia in children and adolescents. Treatment with macrolide antibiotics is recommended. However, M. pneumoniae is difficult to diagnose based on clinical symptoms and signs. Diagnostic uncertainty can lead to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, which may worsen clinical prognosis and increase antibiotic resistance.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Chinese medicinal herbs for influenza

Influenza is a viral respiratory infection that causes an acute febrile illness with myalgia, headache and cough, and can result in high morbidity and mortality rates during an epidemic. Annual epidemics are thought to result in between three and five million cases of severe influenza and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths worldwide. Currently, annual vaccination is the primary strategy for preventing influenza, and four influenza antiviral agents (amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir and oseltamivir) have been approved for treatment of influenza. However, high levels of drug resistance have been recorded. Many Chinese medicinal herbs are used to treat and prevent this condition.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Statins for non‐alcoholic steatohepatitis

Non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non‐alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in patients with no or very little alcohol consumption is characterised by hepatic histological changes similar to those associated with alcohol‐induced liver injury. A range of histological changes can be seen. Some patients have fat accumulation in hepatocytes without significant inflammation or fibrosis (simple hepatic steatosis or NAFLD), but others have hepatic steatosis with prominent necro‐inflammatory changes with or without associated fibrosis (this is NASH). Although NAFLD and NASH are common conditions, no effective medical treatment is available to correct the abnormal liver enzymes and adverse outcomes associated with them. This systematic review identified two randomised clinical trials with very small numbers of participants. One of the trials was a pilot trial and compared simvastatin with placebo, and the other trial assessed atorvastatin versus fenofibrate versus a combination of the two. The small pilot trial (n = 16 patients) assessing simvastatin versus placebo in NASH patients did not show significant effects on liver enzyme activities or liver histology. No adverse events were reported. The other trial compared atorvastatin versus fenofibrate versus a group receiving both interventions in 186 patients with NAFLD. There were no statistically significant differences between any of the three intervention groups regarding the 54 week mean activities of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, gamma‐glutamyl transpeptidase, or alkaline phosphatases (liver enzymes) in the blood. The triglyceride levels seemed higher in the fenofibrate group compared with the atorvastatin group. Liver histology was not assessed in this trial. The presence of biochemical and ultrasonographic evidence of NAFLD seemed higher in the fenofibrate group compared with the other two intervention groups. Three patients discontinued treatment due to myalgia and elevated serum creatine kinase activity, one from the atorvastatin group and two from the combination group. Another patient from the atorvastatin group discontinued treatment due to raised alanine aminotransferase activity, over three times the upper normal limit. Both trials were at high risk of bias (that is, overestimation of benefits and underestimation of harms). Furthermore, the groups were small raising the risks of random errors (that is, play of chance). Accordingly, we did not find evidence to support or refute the use of statins for patients with NAFLD or NASH. Further unbiased trials with larger numbers of patients looking explicitly at patient‐related outcomes of interest (for example, quality of life, development of cirrhosis, and mortality) are needed to assess the effects of statins on NAFLD or NASH.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors for erectile dysfunction in patients with diabetes mellitus

Erectile dysfunction is a common multi‐factorial complication of diabetes mellitus. Newer medications, like the so‐called PDE‐5 inhibitors result in enhancement of penile erection. The introduction of sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis), have altered the management of erectile dysfunction. In this review we assessed the effect of these agents on erectile dysfunction in diabetic people. Eight studies with 976 men randomised to PDE‐5 inhibitor therapy and a duration of mainly 12 weeks were evaluated. Compared to placebo treatment, these agents showed favourable effects in scores estimating sexual life, with an increased rate of adverse effects like headache and flushing after PDE‐inhibitor therapy. Mortality was not reported in any of the included trials. Quality of life, with the exception of scores for sexual life, was not relevantly affected. If taken as prescribed, PDE‐5 inhibitors comprise a valuable treatment option for erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Methadone at tapered doses for the management of opioid withdrawal

Abuse of opioid drugs and dependence on them causes major health and social issues that include transmission of HIV and hepatitis C with injection, increased crime and costs for health care and law enforcement, family disruption and lost productivity. Addicts, particularly those aged 15 to 34 years, are also at higher risk of death. Managed withdrawal (or detoxification) is used as the first step in treatment. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, chills, muscle pain (myalgia) and weakness, tremor, lethargy and drowsiness, restlessness and irritability, nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea. Persisting sleep disturbances and drug craving can continue for weeks and months after detoxification and often lead to a return to opioid use. The number of addicts who complete detoxification tends to be low, and rates of relapse are high.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Flu: Overview

People often use the terms “flu” and “cold” interchangeably. The course of these two types of infections is very different, though.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: December 18, 2013

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