BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7344.1046 (Published 27 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1046

Minerva wishes a very happy birthday to the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin—40 years old last week. She was amused to read that one of the issues raised in its earlier days was the vexed question of whether androgens should be used as simple tonics. The answer then was a categorical no, a view the journal says is now unquestioned. The male menopause lobby may have a word to say about that.

A paper in Science (2002;296:539-41) explains why people who switch from daily aspirin to one of the new COX-2 inhibitors sometimes experience cardiac complications. Aspirin suppresses prostaglandin (which inhibits platelet activation and dilates blood vessels) and thromboxane (which encourages platelet activation and constricts vessels). COX-2 inhibitors only suppress prostaglandin. In mice studies prostaglandin counteracts the effects of thromboxane. The researchers say that switching from aspirin to COX-2 inhibitors leaves the cardiovascular system vulnerable to the harmful effects of thromboxane.

Vaccinating children with asthma against influenza has never really caught on. A Dutch retrospective cohort study covering two flu outbreaks found that acute respiratory disease occurred in 26% …

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