Category Archives: Alternative Medicines

JM to offer a new process to synthesise CBD

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Johnson Matthey to offer a new process to synthesise ultra-pure cannabidiol, expanding on existing cannabinoid offerings.

Johnson Matthey, a global leader in science that enables a cleaner and healthier world has announced an expansion to its API and controlled substances portfolio by establishing a new synthetic method for ultra-pure cannabidiol, a medicinal component of the cannabis plant.

This synthesis will help Johnson Matthey (JM) support companies in developing novel treatments and medicines to help patients across a range of disease areas.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many chemical compounds in the cannabis plant and is known to possess medicinal and therapeutic properties. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another molecule in the cannabis plant, CBD does not cause intoxication or euphoria, two unwanted side-effects for medicines.

In light of CBD’s medicinal applications and the absence of psychoactive side-effects, demand for GMP-grade CBD from pharmaceutical companies has increased extensively in recent years.

It is now being investigated as a potential therapeutic treatment for various illnesses and diseases, including multiple cancers, seizures, dermatological conditions and anxiety.

JM has established more than 15 years’ experience in developing and commercialising a portfolio of ultra-pure synthetic cannabinoids and other controlled substances. By adding cannabidiol into this portfolio and filing a US drug master file (DMF) with a validated synthetic process, JM is excited to support companies looking to explore CBD’s medicinal applications further.

With manufacturing sites based in the US, JM is able to apply its knowledge of synthetic chemistry and purification techniques to CBD synthesis. In particular, JM’s solid form chemistry expertise has enabled the development of a free flowing crystalline powder, which is able to be particle size adjusted for a variety of formulation requirements.

Furthermore, JM has established a full suite of references of standards and impurities to facilitate CBD product development, which helps to ensure molecules are synthesised to an ultra-pure standard.

As well as synthetic chemistry expertise in controlled substances, JM also offers API manufacturing capabilities for botanical extraction and purification of cannabinoids. Based on the growing popularity of medicinal cannabinoids, JM is actively investigating the development of other cannabinoid compounds.

“As a leader in API development, we are delighted to add the high-value synthesis of cannabidiol to our expanding portfolio of Pharma solutions,” said Paul Evans, VP Generic Products and Solutions at JM.

“This will enable companies to easily explore the medicinal properties of cannabinoids, and combined with our development and manufacturing capabilities, deliver novel treatments and medicines to patients.”


Low dose Aspirin daily – benefits and risks measured in two studies

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Low dose Aspirin has been advocated to reduce the risk of a second heart attack or a stroke or other heart problems in persons who have had one episode.

A major new study published in the Lancet, has found that taking Aspirin to prevent the first heart attack fails to work. In fact the risks of taking low dose Aspirin to prevent the first heart attack outweigh the benefits.

There have been numerous studies on the prophylactic and protective effect of this low cost medication. While certain studies have shown that it can prevent first strokes or heart attacks in persons who are at a moderate risk of heart attacks and strokes, some studies have not shown significant benefit.

Aspirin has also been tested in people with cardiac disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol etc. In diabetes for example Aspirin intake on a regular basis may offer some protection against heart attacks or strokes but the risk of serious bleeding as a side effect of the drug remains high. Aspirin was also purported to have anti-cancer or cancer preventing properties. This has also been negated in studies. In the studies the researchers have used 100 milligrams per day.

Study leader Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford in England said, “There’s been a lot of uncertainty among doctors around the world about prescribing aspirin. If you’re healthy, it’s probably not worth taking it.” The study was presented this Sunday (26th August 2018) at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Munich.

In this latest study, the team of researchers from Boston used aspirin or placebo pills on 12,546 participants. These participants had a moderate risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke and other health problems. The participants were followed up for five years and it was seen that 4 percent persons in each group had a heart problem. These participants took medications for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol explained Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Side effects such as internal bleeding or stomach bleeding, was mild but seen twice as much with Aspirin than the placebo pills. Aspirin users also complained more of reflux, abdominal pain, indigestion etc. This new study was sponsored by Bayer.

Low dose aspirin/fish oil supplements in diabetics

In yet another study, researchers from Oxford, randomly assigned 15,480 adults with Type 1 or 2 diabetes with aspirin or 1 gram of fish oil, both the aspirin and fish oil or placebo pills. The pills were administered each day.

The participants were followed for seven and a half years. Heart problems were lower among aspirin users. The risk of bleeding however was raised with aspirin. Fish oil supplements did not help though said study leader Dr. Louise Bowman of the University of Oxford. This study was published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The British Heart Foundation sponsored the study. Bayer and Mylan provided aspirin and the fish oil supplements, respectively.


Kids are taking more alternative medicines than ever, and pediatricians are worried

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Supplements such as melatonin are marketed to parents, but not tested by the FDA.

Children and teens are turning to alternative medicines in soaring numbers, and the trend has pediatricians worried.

Children’s use of herbal products and nutritional supplements nearly doubled between 2003 and 2014, a study published Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago analyzed national health surveys of more than 4,400 young people and found that 6.7% took alternative medicines in 2014, compared to 3.7% in 2003. Some 33.2% of children and teens took a dietary supplement of some kind in 2014, including multivitamins.

Though they’re marketed as cures for a range of ailments, alternative supplements and medicines often end up on store shelves without oversight or approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration, the researchers noted. The surge in use was driven by 13 to 18-year-olds using omega 3 fatty acids — which are often sold as a way to boost mental focus — and melatonin, which is marketed as a sleep aid for kids, researchers found.

“We simply do not know if there are any benefits to children that outweigh the potential harms, and this study suggests supplement use is widespread and therefore an important, yet often ignored, public health issue,” said study co-author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the UIC College of Pharmacy.

“Many dietary supplements have also been implicated in adverse drug events, especially cardiovascular, which is a safety concern,” Qato said.

The findings come as America’s $3 trillion “wellness” industry is booming as consumers seek out alternatives to traditional Western medicine.