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15 July 2003 Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet

Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians, an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. These 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.

Alternating HIV Drugs Reduced Drug Failure

A randomized pilot study of 161 HIV-infected people in 1999 and 2000 found that a strict schedule of alternating patients every three months between two triple-drug regimens significantly reduced drug failure and kept the viral load suppressed (Article, p. 81). An editorial writer cautions physicians about adopting the alternating drug regimen until further testing shows that it works with newer, more effective HIV drugs (Editorial, p. 148).

Cause of Sore Throat Should Be Determined Before Antibiotics Are Given

A cost-effectiveness study found four strategies reasonable and cost-effective for determining if a sore throat is caused by bacterial infection (Academia and Clinic, p. 113). Sore throats are the sixth leading cause of visits to physicians. Ninety percent of sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are effective only for sore throats due to bacterial infection. Bacteria cause only 10 percent of sore throats, yet 75 percent of adult patients receive antibiotics for the condition. The strategies described in this article will minimize the inappropriate use of antibiotics for sore throat. This article is the subject of a video news release. Call for coordinates and separate print news release.

Large Study Shows That Statins, Popular Cholesterol-lowering Drugs, Do Not Protect Women From Fractures and Bone Loss (Article, p. 97.)

Blood Pressure Drug Protected People With Diabetes and Normal Blood Pressure From Kidney Damage

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. A small study found that a type of blood pressure-lowering drug, angiotensin-receptor antagonists, known to protect people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure against kidney problems, also reduces the risk of kidney disease in diabetics with normal blood pressure (Article, p. 90).

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