Healthcare online Keeping you up-to-date
VOL.  10     ISSUE:  6 June   2012 Medical Services Department

SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.





P G Dip. Business Management

A. S. M. Shawkat Ali

MBBS, M. Phil





Dear Doctor:

Welcome to this edition of "e- SQUARE" healthcare bulletin !

This issue features a variety of articles including "Surgical Complications !", "Eye Infections !", "Breast Cancer Risk !", "Obesity & Heart !", "Ginseng & Fatigue !", "Food & Gout !".

In our regular feature, we have some new products information of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. as well.

We welcome your feedback regarding "e-SQUARE" ! 

Click on to reply mode.

Yours sincerely,


Editorial Team

Reply Mode      : e-square@squaregroup.com

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of its editor or SQUARE PHARMACEUTICALS LTD.

 Surgical Complications !

 Smokers Have Higher Surgical Costs, More Complications: Study

Smokers who have elective surgery have much higher hospital costs than nonsmokers, a new study finds. Postsurgical respiratory complications are a major reason for these increased costs among smokers, according to investigators. The researcher’s analyzed data on nearly 15,000 patients mostly white males who had a general surgery procedure at one of 123 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers over a one-year period. Thirty-four percent of patients were current smokers, 39 percent were former smokers and 27 percent had never smoked. Total inpatient hospital costs were 4 percent higher for current smokers compared to patients who never smoked. This translated into an average higher cost for smokers. Former smokers did not have significantly higher costs than patients who never smoked. When the researchers focused on more complex surgeries, they found that hospital costs for smokers were 6 percent higher than for patients who never smoked. Further investigation revealed that postsurgical respiratory complications, not the length of hospital stay, accounted for the higher costs among smokers. Although research did not directly address this issue, evidence suggests that quitting smoking before an operation, even as little as four to six weeks prior to the procedure improves postoperative outcomes and decreases complications in patients said the researcher. 

SOURCE: HealthDay News, June 2012

Return to top

 Eye Infections !

Acne Medication May Raise Risk of Eye Infections

Teens who take the acne medication commonly known as isotretinoin, appear to face twice the risk of eye infections, including conjunctivitis (pink eye) and styes, a new study says. Researchers in collected data on nearly 15,000 teens and young adults taking isotretinoin to treat acne and compared their rates of eye infections to an age and gender matched group that had acne but was not taking the drugs and to a third group that didn't take the drugs and didn't have acne.  Within a year of starting the medication, nearly 14 percent of those in the acne medication group developed an eye infection or dry eyes, compared with almost 10 percent in the group that had acne but did not take the medications and about 7 percent in the group that didn't have acne. Compared to the acne free group, those taking isotretinoin were at 70 percent increased risk of an eye infection over the course of a year. The mean age of participants was about 16.5 years old. The most common problem was conjunctivitis. About 4 percent of teens taking isotretinoin developed conjunctivitis, compared with 2 percent of those without acne and not taking the medication. Other problems included hordeolum or stye, chalazion, blepharitis, dry eyes or eye pain, the researchers said. Isotretinoin treats acne by reducing oil production from the sebaceous glands, among other effects. But isotretinoin also disrupts function of the meibomian glands or oil glands inside the eyelids, explained co-author. The meibomian glands help keep the eyes lubricated. Less lubrication may mean the eyes are irritated, itching and burning, prompting people to rub them and introduce bacteria. It's also possible that less lubrication makes it easier for bacteria to take hold. The researchers found eye problems associated with the drugs peak at about four months after starting the medication. The good news is that most side effects of the drugs can be prevented using artificial tears to keep the eyes lubricated, experts said.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, May 2012

Return to top

 Breast Cancer Risk !

After Chest Radiation, Girls at Greater Risk for Early Breast Cancer: Study

Girls who receive radiation to the chest to treat childhood cancer, even those getting lower doses, have a high risk of developing breast cancer at a young age, according to a new study. Researchers said the risk posed by radiation may be as great as that of the BRCA1/2 mutation. Previously, it was thought that only moderate to high doses of radiation raised breast cancer risk, but the new research showed that even those who got low doses face an increased risk and may warrant early screening for the disease. The researchers examined information on 1,200 women in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and 4,570 women who are first-degree relatives of participants in the Women's Environmental Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Study, which involved women diagnosed with breast cancer who survived at least one year after diagnosis. Among the childhood cancer survivors, 24 percent were diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they were 50 years old. The investigators said, roughly 50,000 women in the United States who were treated with higher doses of radiation when they were younger should get an annual mammogram and breast MRI either by the time they are 25 years old or eight years after their radiation therapy. Another 7,000 to 9,000 women received lower-dose radiation to treat childhood cancer. The study results suggest that young women treated with lower doses of radiation who are not currently being screened also have an elevated risk of breast cancer and might benefit from a similar screening strategy. Treatment with a lower dose of chest radiation reduced the incidence of breast cancer to 7 percent by the age of 40 compared to 12 percent for the women treated with higher doses of chest radiation, the researchers found.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, June 2012

Return to top

 Obesity & Heart !

Bloodletting could Ease Heart Risks for the Obese!

The ancient medical practice of bloodletting may benefit obese people with metabolic syndrome, a small new study suggests. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions including abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high fasting blood sugar levels and high blood pressure that increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Bloodletting was common throughout history but was abandoned in the 19th century when it was determined that it had little or no effect on most diseases. But by this study researchers found that two sessions of blood donation improved blood pressure and markers of cardiovascular disease in obese patients with metabolic syndrome. In the study, 64 patients were divided into two groups. One group donated 300 ml of blood at the start of the study and between 250 and 500 ml four weeks later. One group didn't donate blood. Six weeks after the second blood donation, which allowed sufficient time for the body to generate new blood and return blood volume to normal systolic blood pressure among those who donated fell from an average of 148 mmHg to 130 mmHg. They also had reductions in blood sugar levels and heart rate and an improvement in cholesterol levels. Blood donation is known to reduce levels of iron stores in the body. Prior research has found that an accumulation of iron in the body is associated with high blood pressure and diabetes, according to researchers. Blood donation may prevent not just diabetes but also cardiovascular disease for the obese, study leader said.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, May 2012

Return to top

 Ginseng & Fatigue !

Ginseng Capsules Seem to Ease Cancer-Related Fatigue

 The herb ginseng appeared to significantly reduce cancer related fatigue compared to an inactive placebo, although it took several weeks for the herb's effects to take effect in the patients, a new study reports. In the study, the researchers gave either a placebo or 2,000-milligram capsules of ground ginseng root to 340 patients who were being treated for cancer or had completed cancer treatment. Fatigue is extremely common among cancer patients, most of those in the study suffered from breast cancer. The patients took capsules of pure American ginseng instead of some over-the-counter ginseng products that can include ethanol. Ethanol may be potentially dangerous to breast cancer patients. After eight weeks, a 20-point improvement in fatigue in cancer patients, measured on a 100-point, standardized fatigue scale, researcher said. Those who took the ginseng capsules didn't report much improvement at four weeks, but at eight weeks they reported felt less "worn out," "fatigued," "sluggish" or "tired," compared to those who took the placebo, the investigators found. The study authors noted that ginseng didn't seem to have any side effects. A previous study found that about one quarter of patients who'd had cancer and suffered from fatigue said they felt "moderately better" or "much better" after taking 1,000-milligram or 2,000-milligram ginseng tablets. By comparison, only 10 percent of those who took the placebo reported those results. Study author said, it's a helpful addition to existing knowledge and cost of ginseng will be inexpensive compared to prescription drugs that could be used to treat fatigue. Why might ginseng help fatigue is not clear. There are no notable effects of  ginseng when healthy people ingest. However, when an ill person takes ginseng, they tend to feel more normal, said researcher.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, June 2012

Return to top

 Food & Gout !

Gout Flare-ups Rise Sharply With Certain Foods: Study

Meat, seafood and other foods rich in compounds called purines are associated with a fivefold increased risk of immediate gout flare-ups, a new study shows. Gout is a form of arthritis that often first occurs in the big toe. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that purine-rich foods can trigger gout attacks, but it hasn't been clear whether they cause immediate attacks. The study included more than 600 patients with gout, most of whom were men and who had an average age of 54. The patients were followed for a year. During that time, the patients had a total of nearly 1,250 gout attacks, most of which occurred in the toe joints, said researcher. The average amount of dietary purines consumed during a two-day period without gout attacks was 1.66 grams, compared with 2.03 grams in the two days before an attack, according to study. Patients in the top 20 percent of purine consumption were nearly five times more likely to have a gout flare-up than those in the bottom 20 percent. Animal sources of purines such as meat and seafood were associated with a much higher risk of a gout attack than plant sources, such as beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, spinach, asparagus and mushrooms. Not only do plant sources of purines have lower levels of the compounds, they also contain important nutrients and contribute to lowering insulin resistance, something promoted as a way to control gout, the researchers noted. Other major dietary sources of purines include yeast and alcohol. Avoiding or reducing purine-rich food intake, especially of animal origin, may help reduce the risk of recurrent gout attacks, the researchers concluded. Although the research showed an association between increased purine consumption and more frequent gout attacks, it did not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, May 2012

Return to top


New Products of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

  Product Salmate HFA®
  Generic Name Salmeterol
  Strength 25 mcg/puff
  Dosage form Inhaler
  Therapeutic Category Inhalant Antiasthmatic - Metered Dose Inhaler
  Product Ticamet HFA®
Generic Name

Salmeterol Fluticasone


(25 mcg 250 mcg)/puff

Dosage form Inhaler
Therapeutic Category Inhalant Antiasthmatic - Metered Dose Inhaler
  Product Durol CR®
  Generic Name Carvedilol

10 mg, 20 mg

  Dosage form Controlled Release Capsule
  Therapeutic Category Beta Blockers  

Return to top


Copyright © 2012 SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. All rights reserved.