E-cigarette use linked to heart trouble: study

The rate of heart attacks among those who vape was 34 percent higher than among those who do not, the study said. (AFP)
Updated 07 March 2019
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E-cigarette use linked to heart trouble: study

  • The rate of heart attacks among those who vape was 34 percent higher than among those who do not
  • ‘These data are a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes’

WASHINGTON: People who use e-cigarettes are more likely to have heart problems than those who don’t, says a study released on Thursday in the US.
The rate of heart attacks among those who vape was 34 percent higher than among those who don’t, once corrections were made for risk factors such as age, gender, body mass index, cholesterol level, blood pressure and tobacco use.
E-cigarette users were 25 percent more likely to have coronary artery disease and 55 percent more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, the study says.
“Until now, little has been known about cardiovascular events relative to e-cigarette use,” said Mohinder Vindhyal, assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.
“These data are a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.”
The report does not however identify a cause and effect relationship for this observation.
Studies of people who vape are relatively new because the devices only came onto the US market in the last decade or so.
US health authorities are alarmed by the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes, battery-powered devices which enable users to inhale nicotine liquids that are often fruit flavored.
Among US teens, use of vaping devices rose 78 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year.
E-cigarettes do not contain the cancer-causing products found in tobacco.
But beside the well-known addictive consequences of consuming nicotine, public health experts are focusing on the effect of heating the liquid nicotine cartridges to high temperatures.
For the study, which will be presented next week at the American College of Cardiology, researchers examined the responses of nearly 100,000 people in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
This kind of study is a preliminary one that does not go so far as to say vaping causes heart trouble, or suggest a biological mechanism as to how this might happen.
Longer-term studies of people who vape are needed to reach any such conclusion.


Jazz Pharma’s sleep disorder treatment gets US FDA nod

Updated 21 March 2019
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Jazz Pharma’s sleep disorder treatment gets US FDA nod

  • The drug, solriamfetol, will treat excessive sleepiness in adult patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea
  • The patent of Jazz's narcolepsy drug, Xyrem, were declared invalid by a US appeals court in July
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc’s treatment for patients with a form of sleep disorder, the company said on Wednesday.
The drug, solriamfetol, will treat excessive sleepiness in adult patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Solriamfetol is expected to be commercially available in the United States following the final scheduling decision by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Jazz said in a statement.
The approval comes as Jazz is trying to reduce its reliance on its blockbuster narcolepsy drug, Xyrem, whose patents were declared invalid by a US appeals court in July.
Xyrem is an approved treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. It brought in sales of $1.4 billion in 2018 and accounted for about 70 percent of company’s revenue.
“Jazz is trying to reduce its reliance on Xyrem, and solriamfetol will be one of the drugs it plans to launch to do that,” Mizuho Securities USA analyst Irina Koffler said ahead of the agency’s decision.
“Solriamfetol is expected to be an important driver of both diversification and growth,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky said in a note ahead of the approval.
Solriamfetol is expected to bring in revenue of $314 million by 2024, Stanicky said.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder with overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep, while obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that can cause breathing to repeatedly stop and start.
“Narcolepsy is very disabling to people as they often get diagnosed young and stop their education and drop out of high school or college,” Koffler said.
“Sleep apnea is a different problem in the sense that a lot of people don’t know they have it, have trouble breathing at night and they even fall asleep during the day.”