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NIHR Signal Levetiracetam is a useful alternative to phenytoin in stopping prolonged epileptic seizures in children
Levetiracetam is as effective as phenytoin at stopping prolonged epileptic seizures in children. In this trial, levetiracetam stopped 70% of children convulsing compared with 64% for phenytoin within 35 to 45 minutes. Adverse events were similar. This combined with the fact levetiracetam may be easier to administer safely make it an important option. Most epileptic seizures stop by themselves within a few minutes, but sometimes they continue for much longer. If this happens emergency treatment ...
NIHR Signal Routine use of progesterone does not prevent miscarriage
Progesterone did not affect the chance of live birth among women presenting with vaginal bleeding in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Live birth rates were 72% with placebo and 75% with progesterone, which is not a clinically or statistically important difference. Progesterone has been prescribed for threatened miscarriage in some centres since the 1950s, but there has been poor evidence for its use. NICE recently highlighted this as a priority area for research asking for large, robust trials ...
NIHR Signal Using both nicotine patches and gum together improves the chances of quitting smoking
Using a nicotine patch together with a fast-acting type of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum or lozenges improves smoking cessation rates compared to using only a single type of NRT. Higher-dose nicotine patches are also more effective than lower dose ones, this NIHR-funded review suggests. A previous Cochrane systematic review found that NRT boosts people’s chances of successfully quitting smoking compared to none, but it was unclear which types, doses and schedules were mos...
NIHR Signal Antiretroviral treatment can reduce the risk of HIV transmission between male partners to ‘zero’
The risk of transmission of HIV between gay couples when the HIV-positive partner is taking antiretroviral treatment that successfully suppresses the viral load is ‘effectively zero.’ A study of men from 14 European countries, including the UK, found no cases of transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive partner taking antiretroviral therapy to an HIV-negative partner, as long as the viral load of the HIV-positive partner remained undetectable or very low. The study recorded an avera...
NIHR Signal Antimicrobial central venous catheters do not reduce infections in pre-term babies
Central venous catheters (CVCs) impregnated with antimicrobial agents are no better than standard CVCs for avoiding bloodstream infection in pre-term babies. This NIHR-funded trial compared peripherally inserted CVCs that had been impregnated with a combination of the antifungal miconazole and the broad-spectrum antibiotic rifampicin, against standard non-antimicrobial-impregnated CVCs for preterm babies in intensive care. Rates of bloodstream infections were similar in both groups, and no diff...
NIHR Signal Smartphones instead of direct supervision can improve adherence rates for TB treatment
People who need supervision take their medication for tuberculosis (TB) more reliably when using a smartphone to send video evidence instead of direct observations;for example, by attending a clinic appointment. Almost double the number of observations was completed in the video-supervised arm at six months than when people were directly observed. Ensuring the effectiveness of treatment is central to worldwide TB control. Directly-observed treatment, in which a healthcare professional supervise...
NIHR Signal Iron deficiency in people with chronic kidney disease can be managed with either oral or IV therapy
For people with chronic kidney disease who are also iron deficient, intravenous iron improves haemoglobin levels and iron stores faster than oral iron. However, the evidence is inconclusive about whether it influences survival, cardiovascular death, or quality of life. Adverse effects and such as allergic reactions or gastrointestinal side effects and other practicalities are likely to determine the choice of a route of administration. Chronic kidney disease is a long-term condition categorised...
NIHR Signal A laser eye procedure can be effective and safe if used early as treatment for glaucoma
Using a laser to improve drainage of fluid within the eye showed similar results to eye drops as a first-line treatment for adults with open angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension (raised pressure in the eye). It improved vision without increasing the risk of adverse events. It was preferred by patients and also associated with lower costs. Current guidelines recommend that eye drops are used first to lower the pressure in the eye and slow the progression of glaucoma. Many patients find eye drop...
NIHR Signal 5% fluorouracil cream is the best first-line treatment for actinic keratosis skin lesions
Comparison of four common treatment regimens for actinic keratosis found that twice daily 5% fluorouracil cream was the most effective and least expensive. It was also found to be convenient and well tolerated by patients. Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a scaly skin lesion that develops following long-term sun exposure. It is a common disease in older adults that very occasionally can develop into skin cancer. This Dutch study assessed 624 patients who had five or more ac...
NIHR Signal Decision support tools can help GPs reduce antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory conditions
A 12% reduction in GP antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory conditions was achieved through the use of electronic decision and training tools. This reduction did not increase the risk of serious infections compared to usual care. The low-cost intervention in this large NIHR-funded trial included a short training webinar for GPs and feedback on their practice’s prescribing rates. The decision support tool gave prompt access to NICE prescribing guidelines and printable patient informatio...
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