New drug goes after major cause of asthma — eosinophils

New drug goes after major cause of asthma — eosinophils

Maybe you’ve seen the ads on TV lately for Fasenra, also known as Benralizumab, a new monoclonal antibody to help treat asthma. Fasenra blocks the proliferation of asthma-causing bad guys called eosinophils. The decreasing of these white blood cells helps prevent asthmatic inflammation. The new Fasenra antibody is “selective for interleukin-5 (IL-5),” counteracting this chemical mediator that causes the proliferation of eosinophils — the major cause of asthma. It is indicated for severe asthmatics 12 years old or older. Clinical…

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Causes clearer for this eczema than relief

Causes clearer for this eczema than relief

Dyshidrotic eczema is a common condition that is still poorly understood. In fact, there is as much confusion with its name(s) as with its etiology. The condition is a type of eczema that is characterized by pruritic vesicles (itchy, tiny blisters) that erupt in the fingers, palms and sometimes feet. It affects both children and adults, and can range from a rare, self-limiting problem to a chronic, severe and sometimes debilitating one. Unfortunately, it also tends to be resistant to…

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Diabetes med Metformin quite a multi-tasker

Diabetes med Metformin quite a multi-tasker

Dear Dr. Sasha K: I read that the Metformin I take for my Type II diabetes has an anti-cancer benefit. Is this true? In a word: yes. Metformin is an old drug that keeps making itself new. Metformin’s origins go back to medieval Europe where the French lilac plant was used to treat diabetes. The lilac contains biguanide, the main component of Metformin. This drug works for diabetes by reducing the amount of glucose the liver makes by decreasing the…

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Pharma companies give free meds for school adrenalin emergencies

Pharma companies give free meds for school adrenalin emergencies

The two pharmaceutical companies that produce the two available forms of auto-injector adrenalin to deal with anaphylactic (allergic) shock are offering a program of free epinephrine doses to schools. The companies are Mylan, which makes the EpiPen, and Kaléo, maker of Auvi-Q. Epinephrine, as many know, must be on hand to treat food allergy and insect sting emergencies. Even with insurance coverage, these drugs have become very expensive. For some families this expense limits the purchase of the adrenalin to…

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Q – Tips: itchy skin

Q – Tips: itchy skin

Dry skin leads to itchy skin. For people experiencing this combination it might be time to switch to a non-drying soap such as one based on shea-butter. And maybe to stop applying soap to the entire skin surface. A safer but still hygienic approach is to use soap in the key areas: armpits, groin, feet, and let water clean the rest.

Q – Tips: Pets in childhood

Q – Tips: Pets in childhood

A recently published German study about pet exposure in childhood has not only confirmed that there is less allergy in children in pet households, but a new finding shows when these children become adults they are less buffeted by life’s stresses, and less likely to develop anxiety or depression.

Q – Tips: Chlortrimeton

Q – Tips: Chlortrimeton

A new application for an old drug has been found. Chlortrimeton (chlorpheniramine maleate), one of the oldest OTC antihistamines still in use, has been found to be very effective in suppressing a chronic “tickle” cough known as hyperactive cough syndrome.

Allergic conjunctivitis — all kinds of misery

Allergic conjunctivitis — all kinds of misery

Dear Dr. K: My brother has vernal conjunctivitis and I have perennial allergic conjunctivitis. We both use the same eye drops but I seem to do a lot better than he does. What gives? What gives is that you have a less severe condition than your brother. Let me explain. Allergic eye problems fall into four general types: seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC), allergic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC) and vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC). IgE (the allergic protein), plays a role…

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… And now the cat story

… And now the cat story

“Spoiler” alert! Between 5 and 10% of the human population has an allergy to cat. The major cat allergen is a protein called “Fel-D-1,” which is a protein in the cat’s saliva, sebaceous glands and genitourinary tract. Dried skin particles (dander) contain the protein, even though the protein is not part of the coat itself. Female cats produce less Fel-D-1 than male cats. Light-colored cats make less than dark-colored cats. Long-haired cats give off less allergen into the environment than…

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Child in crisis — Epi-Hug more than affection

Child in crisis — Epi-Hug more than affection

Because of the burgeoning of allergic disorders, more and more children are requiring auto- injectors of epinephrine. These devices are used to stop severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis. If the device is required it is obviously at a time of crisis for both the child and the parent, which makes it more likely for mis-adventures to occur. Because it is life-critical that the medication be properly administered, it usually requires some form of child restraint. Thus has evolved the concept…

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