MDNN: US Life Expectancy Drops, Smoking Cessation Risks, HIV Screening, and Ertugliflozin


Hi, I’m Kevin Kunzmann, and this is MD Magazine News Network - it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

The average annual US life expectancy age has dropped for the second consecutive year. A new report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found that the life expectancy in the US population was 78.6 years in 2016 — a drop of .1 years from 2015. It is the first recorded decrease in average US life expectancy in two consecutive years since 1962 and 1963. The age-specific death rate for persons aged 25 to 34 showed the greatest jump, increasing over 10% from its 2015 rate per 100,000 population. While heart disease and cancer continue to be the leading causes of death in the US, 2016 saw a substantial increase in deaths related to drug overdose, unintentional injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and suicide.

Smoking cessation therapy varenicline has been found to increase patients’ risk of cardiovascular events. According to a Canadian government-funded study, the popular therapy marketed as Chantix in the US raises a patients’ risk of hospitalization or emergency department admission by 34%. The review analysis of 50,000-plus Toronto-based patients backed a 2011 safety warning issued by the FDA which stated that varenicline may be associated with an increased risk of particular cardiovascular events in patients already suffering from similar conditions.

A recently published study suggests that the most beneficial age for a one-time HIV screening in general population without identified risk factors is 25 years old. With current CDC guidelines recommending at least 1 HIV screening for US patients between the ages of 13 and 64, researchers advised a supplemental test at age 25. If practiced, the screening could lead to substantial gains in HIV-infected life expectancy under cost-effective measures.

The FDA has approved ertugliflozin for the treatment of glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. The SGLT1 inhibitor from Merck and Pfizer will be marketed as both a single therapy and fixed-dose combination therapy with sitagliptin or metformin. In comparison trials with a placebo control population, ertugliflozin reported greater reductions in average blood-glucose, fasting plasma glucose, body weight, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure. It is anticipated to be available in the US market in early 2018.

For these stories and more, visit us at I’m Kevin Kunzmann for MDNN, thank for you watching, and have a happy New Year.

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