Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. The following highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656 or 215-351-2656. Full content of the issue is available on the Internet at http://www.annals.org.
Automatic monitoring of blood pressure in patients' homes with weekly reports to physicians and patients was effective in reducing pressure levels, according to a new study (Article, p. 1024). Patients in the randomized, controlled trial had reduced readings compared to another group of patients under 'usual care.' The benefits were "particularly striking for African-American patients," says the author.
The rising cost of prescription drugs is discussed by two authors in this issue of Annals. One writer says price controls -- particularly governmental controls -- would lead to a cascade of effects from reducing incentives for research to creating an "entrenchment of vested interests" that would make it "difficult to dismantle controls" (Perspective, p. 1060). An editorial calls on the U.S. pharmaceutical industry to voluntarily reduce drug prices (Editorial, p. 1068). A decrease of only 1.2 percent overall would reduce consumer drug costs by about $1.7 billion a year, an amount approximately equal to $2,000 worth of drugs for each of the 850,000 Medicare recipients who spend that much per year or more out of pocket, the author says.
Some studies have shown that as many as one-third of all heart attacks suffered by people without known heart disease may go unrecognized and that unrecognized heart attacks are more common in women than men. However, a new study of 2,763 postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease found only 11 of 256 nonfatal heart attacks had gone unrecognized (Article, p. 1043).