New research has found that some women who treat their high blood pressure with a class of drugs that relaxes the blood vessels were more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who use other hypertension medications. In a study of 145,551 postmenopausal women, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was more than twice as high for those who took a short-acting calcium channel blocker for more than three years. That class of drug includes nifedipine (Adalat and Procardia), nicardipine (Cardene), isradipine (DynaCirc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia and Dilacor) and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin and Verelan). After adjusting for factors that contribute to pancreatic cancer risk, the researchers judged that those taking the short-acting calcium channel blocker increased their risk of developing the malignancy by 107 percent over those who took other hypertension drugs.

Painkiller works like opioid without addition

A researcher from the University of Michigan Medical School said he has found a way to create narcotic pain medications that blunt pain without many of their negative side effects like addiction. Tomas Joaquin Fernandez described a process for designing opioid-like drugs that would act on pain receptors in the brain while blocking the receptors responsible for fostering dependence and building tolerance. He and his colleagues developed a library of “peptidomimetics,” agents small enough to get into the brain but that work differently with opioid receptors. When they tested one such compound in mice, they found that it not only relieved pain, it also induced less buildup of tolerance and less physical dependence than morphine. In other words, it was less addictive.

News services