Short course: Iron tablets fight fatigue in women

Iron tablets fight fatigue in women

Written by New York Times | Published:July 21, 2012 2:32 am

Iron tablets fight fatigue in women

NEW YORK: Iron supplements are often recommended as a treatment for fatigue in women,but evidence of their effect has been scarce. Now a randomised trial suggests that these supplements do help some women. French researchers studied 198 menstruating women ages 18 to 53 who complained of fatigue but were otherwise healthy. They all had ferritin (a protein that binds to iron) levels less than 50 micrograms per litre,at the lower end of normal. Half took 80 mg of iron daily,and the other half a placebo. After 12 weeks,patients receiving the iron pills reported an average 47.7 per cent decrease in fatigue,and those on placebo a 28.8 per cent decrease. The researchers also found that iron supplements increased the production of red blood cells. The lead author of the study,Paul Vaucher,a doctoral student in neuroscience at the University of Geneva,said that women who are feeling fatigue of unknown cause should see a doctor. The authors have financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

MS drug has no effect on disability

NEW YORK: The most widely prescribed drug for treating multiple sclerosis has little or no effect on a patient’s progression to disability,a new study has found. The medicine,interferon beta,does help reduce the development of brain lesions and limit the frequency of relapses,but until now there have been few well-controlled long-term studies demonstrating its effectiveness at preventing the onset of irreversible disability. Researchers at the University of British Columbia prospectively collected data on 868 MS patients treated with interferon beta,comparing them with 1,788 patients who never took the drug. Using a well-validated scale,they found that those who took interferon beta were no less likely to suffer long-term disability than those who took none.

Interferon beta drugs are commonly used to treat relapsing-remitting MS,the most common form of the disease. MS is an autoimmune disease that damages the myelin sheath surrounding the nerve cells. The disorder is chronic and incurable,and its outcome is variable.

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