Blog | Monday, October 27, 2008

New uses for old drugs

There's something pleasingly efficient about research that finds new applications for existing therapies. A few such studies were presented today at the ACR meeting.

Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalaria medication, appears to be an effective treatment for both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In the lupus study, the drug protected against kidney damage, a common complication of lupus. The arthritis study, an observational trial, added to the evidence base for hydroxycloroquine by finding that it reduced the likelihood that RA patients would develop diabetes. Researchers suggested the drug--which is generic and costs less than $60 a month--might also be good for lipids and platelets.

Finally, a new study found that Cialis can increase blood flow to other parts of the body besides the one for which it was intended. In a trial of 25 patients (mostly women), the drug effectively treated secondary Raynaud's phenomenon, a condition which causes fingers to turn white and blue when exposed to cold. Guess now you can "be ready" to go build a snowman.