CVD presidential watch
President Obama visits Cleveland Clinic
The US President was scheduled to visit the renowned Cleveland Clinic on Thursday, July 23, together with Ohio governor Ted Strickland. The reason for the visit?
“I’m going to be visiting . . . the Cleveland Clinic to show . . . why their system works so well. And part of the reason it works well is because they’ve set up a system where patient care is the number-one concern, not bureaucracy.”
Cleveland Clinic is one of the best hospitals in the US and number one in terms of heart health care.
CVD drug safety watch
American Heart Association statement on FDA alert about Xolair
Earlier this month, the US FDA issued a safety alert regarding the injectable asthma drug omalizumab, marketed as Xolair. The warning was based on preliminary data from the ongoing study Evaluating the Clinical Effectiveness and Long-Term Safety in Patients with Moderate to Severe Asthma (EXCELS). The data suggest that Xolair increases the risk for cardiovascular events, especially coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, pulmonary hypertension, and cardiac failure. Xolair is approved for use by adults and adolescents (12 years of age and above) with moderate to severe persistent asthma who test positive for reactivity to a perennial airborne allergen, and whose symptoms are inadequately controlled with inhaled corticosteroids.
The warning does not mean that patients should stop taking Xolair but rather to increase awareness in both patients and doctors as to the possible side effects of the drug.
CVD clinical trial watch
Merck/Schering-Plough reach ezetimibe settlement
The manufaturers of Zetia ( ezetimibe) and Vytorin (ezetimibe plus simvastatin) have reached a settlement with 35 American states and the District of Columbia concerning the ENHANCE trial. The states accused the Merck and Schering-Plough for delaying the release of the trial results which basically showed that Vytorin does not slow down hypercholesterolemia. The settlement amounts to $5.4 million “to reimburse the states for attorney’s fees and other costs related to the investigations.”
CVD health food watch
Less than 2% of restaurants using trans fat in New York City
The ban on the use of trans-fats in restaurants in NYC is bearing fruit. According to the short-term report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, more than 98% of the city’s restaurants are no longer using artificial trans fat in oils, shortening, and spreads, leaving only less 2% which still have to comply. In comparison, only 50% of the restaurants were trans-fat free before the ban.
Trans-fatty acids or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in our diet are believed to be a major contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. The ban of these fats was amended into the NYC health code in 2006 and took effect 2007. The first phase was to switch to more heart-friendly fat for frying and spreads so that a serving would contain less than 0.5 g of trans fat with a deadline on July 2007. The second phase to eliminate trans fat from all other foods by July 2008. So far, the ban seems to be working, even including the fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. Non-compliance results in hefty fines.
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