Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common medicines should mimic timing of body's natural systems to prevent side-effects

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Debilitating side effects associated with prescription medication for some of today's most common conditions could be eradicated if they mimicked the body's natural hormone secretion cycles, a new report has said. Researchers focused on the dynamics of natural hormone secretion and subsequent effects on the brain and other organs. Combining mathematical modelling with the latest clinical and experimental data, they found that the body regulates the release of crucial steroid hormones (such as cortisol) in pulses approximately every hour.

Scientists from Exeter and Bristol have studied how conventional steroid treatments -- commonly used to treat a range of conditions from steroid deficiency to inflammatory diseases such as asthma and arthritis -- can have serious side effects due to the way in which they are delivered to the body.

The study concluded that many of these side effects could be significantly reduced if the delivery of the medication mimicked the timing of the body's own natural release mechanisms and that pharmaceutical companies should develop novel techniques for achieving this.

The report, which is published in the online medical journal Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology, has been co-authored by Professor John Terry, a mathematician from the University of Exeter and Professor Stafford Lightman, a clinical endocrinologist from the University of Bristol.

They focused on the dynamics of natural hormone secretion and subsequent effects on the brain and other organs. Combining mathematical modelling with the latest clinical and experimental data, they found that the body regulates the release of crucial steroid hormones (such as cortisol) in pulses approximately every hour.

In stark contrast to this, modern medications deliver replacement steroids in oral doses that gradually disperse throughout the body. This results in a pattern of hormone in the body totally different from the normal body rhythm, which can cause malfunction of many body systems that have evolved to respond to a dynamic pattern of hormone levels. Significantly, many conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep apnoea are also associated with disruptions to the body's internal rhythmic secretion of hormones.

Professor Terry, from Exeter's College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences said: "The body secretes small amounts of steroid in pulses, and it is far better for science to work in harmony with this natural process than to override it.

"Mathematics enables us to understand these natural secretion patterns, and may help us develop new treatments that maximise the therapeutic benefit of steroids, whilst minimising their disruption to the natural workings of the body. It could mean that we alleviate the suffering of patients who endure debilitating side-effects as a consequence of their treatment.

"We evaluated both clinical and experimental evidence and concluded that rather than design new drugs, pharmaceutical companies should instead develop chronotherapy, which is the use of rhythmic cycles in the application of therapy. This is great news for healthcare, as it means the formulations of current available, and cost-effective, drugs could be released into the blood in a manner that mimics normal physiological release of steroids, such as cortisol."

Professor Lightman, from the University of Bristol added: "Steroid therapy is a very common treatment and unfortunately steroid treatment can result in many serious side effects. For example, patients with Addison's disease and on current best practice replacement therapy have mental and physical fatigue and there is also evidence they have an increase in mortality equivalent to that caused by smoking."

"It has been so frustrating to witness the poor quality of life of many of my patients on steroid hormones. The concept of understanding and using improved patterns of hormone release offers real hope to these people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stafford Lightman, John R Terry. The importance of dynamic signalling for endocrine regulation and drug development: relevance for glucocorticoid hormones. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70182-7

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Common medicines should mimic timing of body's natural systems to prevent side-effects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110942.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2014, February 18). Common medicines should mimic timing of body's natural systems to prevent side-effects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110942.htm
University of Exeter. "Common medicines should mimic timing of body's natural systems to prevent side-effects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110942.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins