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Briefs: Government shuts study of niacin's ability to prevent heart attacks, strokes

Cholesterol study of Niacin shut down

A drug that boosts good cholesterol didn't go on to prevent heart attacks or strokes, leading U.S. officials to abruptly halt a major study. The findings involve super-strength niacin, a B vitamin that many doctors already prescribe as heart protection. Researchers enrolled more than 3,400 statin users who had well-controlled LDL ("bad'' cholesterol) but were at risk because of low HDL ("good'' cholesterol) levels and high triglycerides. The failed study marks the latest setback in the quest to harness good cholesterol to fight the bad kind. The study tested Abbott Laboratories' Niaspan. If you're on high-dose niacin, talk to your doctor; don't stop the medication on your own.

Studies link clots to birth control pills

Several popular birth control pills will be reviewed by regulators after some studies suggested they may cause more blood clots than other pills. Two recent reports in the British Medical Journal found up to a threefold greater risk of blood clots in women taking pills like Bayer's Yaz, the Food and Drug Administration said. The review focuses on the hormone drospirenone, found in Bayer's Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz and Safyral. The agency expects to have results later this summer of an 800,000-person study. Meanwhile, doctors and patients should watch for symptoms of blood clots, including leg or chest pain.

Is economy reason to skip the dentist?

More Americans are skimping on regular dental care due to cost. If you're among them, please contact Times reporter Richard Martin at rmartin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8330.

Times staff, wires

Briefs: Government shuts study of niacin's ability to prevent heart attacks, strokes 06/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 5:24pm]

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