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Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in the United States during the 2015–2016 Season


The A(H1N1)pdm09 virus strain used in the live attenuated influenza vaccine was changed for the 2015–2016 influenza season because of its lack of effectiveness in young children in 2013–2014. The Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network evaluated the effect of this change as part of its estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness in 2015–2016.


We enrolled patients 6 months of age or older who presented with acute respiratory illness at ambulatory care clinics in geographically diverse U.S. sites. Using a test-negative design, we estimated vaccine effectiveness as (1−OR)×100, in which OR is the odds ratio for testing positive for influenza virus among vaccinated versus unvaccinated participants. Separate estimates were calculated for the inactivated vaccines and the live attenuated vaccine.


Among 6879 eligible participants, 1309 (19%) tested positive for influenza virus, predominantly for A(H1N1)pdm09 (11%) and influenza B (7%). The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine against any influenza illness was 48% (95% confidence interval [CI], 41 to 55; P<0.001). Among children 2 to 17 years of age, the inactivated influenza vaccine was 60% effective (95% CI, 47 to 70; P<0.001), and the live attenuated vaccine was not observed to be effective (vaccine effectiveness, 5%; 95% CI, −47 to 39; P=0.80). Vaccine effectiveness against A(H1N1)pdm09 among children was 63% (95% CI, 45 to 75; P<0.001) for the inactivated vaccine, as compared with −19% (95% CI, −113 to 33; P=0.55) for the live attenuated vaccine.


Influenza vaccines reduced the risk of influenza illness in 2015–2016. However, the live attenuated vaccine was found to be ineffective among children in a year with substantial inactivated vaccine effectiveness. Because the 2016–2017 A(H1N1)pdm09 strain used in the live attenuated vaccine was unchanged from 2015–2016, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made an interim recommendation not to use the live attenuated influenza vaccine for the 2016–2017 influenza season. (Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.)

Risk of neonatal drug withdrawal after intrauterine co-exposure to opioids and psychotropic medications: cohort study


Objectives To assess the impact of in utero co-exposure to psychotropic medications and opioids on the incidence and severity of neonatal drug withdrawal.

Design Observational cohort study.

Setting Nationwide sample of pregnancies in publicly insured women in the US, nested in the Medicaid Analytic eXtract (2000-10).

Participants 201 275 pregnant women with public insurance who were exposed to opioids around the time of delivery and their liveborn infants.

Interventions In utero exposure to psychotropic medications, in particular antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, gabapentin, and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics (Z drugs), with prescriptions filled within the same time window as prescriptions for opioids.

Main outcome measure Diagnosis of neonatal drug withdrawal in infants exposed in utero to opioids and psychotropic medications compared with opioids alone.

Results The absolute risk for neonatal drug withdrawal ranged from 1.0% in infants exposed in utero to prescription opioids alone to 11.4% for those exposed to opioids co-prescribed with gabapentin. Among neonates exposed in utero to prescription opioids, the relative risk adjusted for propensity score was 1.34 (95% confidence interval 1.22 to 1.47) with concomitant exposure to antidepressants, 1.49 (1.35 to 1.63) with benzodiazepines, 1.61 (1.26 to 2.06) with gabapentin, 1.20 (0.95 to 1.51) with antipsychotics, and 1.01 (0.88 to 1.15) with Z drugs. In utero exposure to two or more psychotropic medications along with opioids was associated with a twofold increased risk of withdrawal (2.05, 1.77 to 2.37). The severity of the withdrawal seemed increased in neonates exposed to both opioids and psychotropic medications compared with opioids alone.

Conclusions During pregnancy, the use of psychotropic medications in addition to prescription opioids is common, despite a lack of safety data. The current findings suggest that these drugs could further increase the risk and severity of neonatal drug withdrawal.

Reference: BMJ 2017;358:j3326

Associations of Weight Gain From Early to Middle Adulthood With Major Health Outcomes Later in Life

Question  What is the association of weight gain from early to middle adulthood with health outcomes later in life?

Findings  During a follow-up of 18 years in 92 837 US women and 15 years in 25 303 US men, compared with participants who maintained a stable weight (weight loss ≤2.5 kg or gain <2.5 kg), those who gained a moderate amount of weight (≥2.5-<10.0 kg) had increased incidence of type 2 diabetes (absolute rate difference/100 000 person-years of 98 in women and 111 in men), cardiovascular disease (61 in women), obesity-related cancer (37 in women and 42 in men), and mortality (51 among women who never smoked).

Meaning  Among women and men, moderate weight gain from early to middle adulthood was associated with significantly increased risk of major chronic diseases and mortality.

Reference: JAMA. 2017;318(3):255-269.

Effect of High-Dose vs Standard-Dose Wintertime Vitamin D Supplementation on Viral Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Young Healthy Children

Question  Does high-dose vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU/d) help to prevent wintertime viral upper respiratory tract infections compared with standard-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU/d) among preschool children?

Findings  In this multisite randomized clinical trial that included 703 children, the number of wintertime laboratory-confirmed viral upper respiratory tract infections was higher in the high-dose group than the standard-dose group, not a statistically significant difference.

Meaning  Vitamin D dosing higher than 400 IU/d may not be indicated for preventing wintertime viral upper respiratory tract infections in children.

Reference: JAMA. 2017;318(3):245-254.

The Effect of Nursing Quality Improvement and Mobile Health Interventions on Infant Sleep Practices

Question  Will 2 separate, complementary interventions (nursing quality improvement intervention and mobile health intervention) promote safe infant sleep practices?

Findings  In a 4-group cluster randomized clinical trial with 1263 families, mothers who received a mobile health intervention with regular text or email messages and videos reported statistically significantly higher rates of placing their infants supine to sleep compared with mothers who received control interventions (adjusted prevalence, 89.1% vs 80.2%, respectively), room sharing without bed sharing (82.8% vs 70.4%), no soft bedding use (79.4% vs 67.6%), and any pacifier use (68.5% vs 59.8%). A nursing quality improvement intervention did not influence infant safe sleep practices.

Meaning  A mobile health intervention improved adherence with infant safe sleep practices. Whether widespread use of this type of intervention is feasible and reduces sudden and unexpected infant death rates remains to be studied.

Reference: JAMA. 2017;318(4):351-359.

Age-specific risks, severity, time course, and outcome of bleeding on long-term antiplatelet treatment after vascular events: a population-based cohort study


Lifelong antiplatelet treatment is recommended after ischaemic vascular events, on the basis of trials done mainly in patients younger than 75 years. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is a serious complication, but had low case fatality in trials of aspirin and is not generally thought to cause long-term disability. Consequently, although co-prescription of proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduces upper gastrointestinal bleeds by 70–90%, uptake is low and guidelines are conflicting. We aimed to assess the risk, time course, and outcomes of bleeding on antiplatelet treatment for secondary prevention in patients of all ages.


We did a prospective population-based cohort study in patients with a first transient ischaemic attack, ischaemic stroke, or myocardial infarction treated with antiplatelet drugs (mainly aspirin based, without routine PPI use) after the event in the Oxford Vascular Study from 2002 to 2012, with follow-up until 2013. We determined type, severity, outcome (disability or death), and time course of bleeding requiring medical attention by face-to-face follow-up for 10 years. We estimated age-specific numbers needed to treat (NNT) to prevent upper gastrointestinal bleeding with routine PPI co-prescription on the basis of Kaplan–Meier risk estimates and relative risk reduction estimates from previous trials.


3166 patients (1582 [50%] aged ≥75 years) had 405 first bleeding events (n=218 gastrointestinal, n=45 intracranial, and n=142 other) during 13 509 patient-years of follow-up. Of the 314 patients (78%) with bleeds admitted to hospital, 117 (37%) were missed by administrative coding. Risk of non-major bleeding was unrelated to age, but major bleeding increased steeply with age (≥75 years hazard ratio [HR] 3·10, 95% CI 2·27–4·24; p<0·0001), particularly for fatal bleeds (5·53, 2·65–11·54; p<0·0001), and was sustained during long-term follow-up. The same was true of major upper gastrointestinal bleeds (≥75 years HR 4·13, 2·60–6·57; p<0·0001), particularly if disabling or fatal (10·26, 4·37–24·13; p<0·0001). At age 75 years or older, major upper gastrointestinal bleeds were mostly disabling or fatal (45 [62%] of 73 patients vs 101 [47%] of 213 patients with recurrent ischaemic stroke), and outnumbered disabling or fatal intracerebral haemorrhage (n=45 vs n=18), with an absolute risk of 9·15 (95% CI 6·67–12·24) per 1000 patient-years. The estimated NNT for routine PPI use to prevent one disabling or fatal upper gastrointestinal bleed over 5 years fell from 338 for individuals younger than 65 years, to 25 for individuals aged 85 years or older.


In patients receiving aspirin-based antiplatelet treatment without routine PPI use, the long-term risk of major bleeding is higher and more sustained in older patients in practice than in the younger patients in previous trials, with a substantial risk of disabling or fatal upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Given that half of the major bleeds in patients aged 75 years or older were upper gastrointestinal, the estimated NNT for routine PPI use to prevent such bleeds is low, and co-prescription should be encouraged.


Wellcome Trust, Wolfson Foundation, British Heart Foundation, Dunhill Medical Trust, National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

Antidepressants during pregnancy and autism in offspring: population based cohort study

Objectives To study the association between maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring.

Design Observational prospective cohort study with regression methods, propensity score matching, sibling controls, and negative control comparison.

Setting Stockholm County, Sweden.

Participants 254 610 individuals aged 4-17, including 5378 with autism, living in Stockholm County in 2001-11 who were born to mothers who did not take antidepressants and did not have any psychiatric disorder, mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy, or mothers with psychiatric disorders who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. Maternal antidepressant use was recorded during first antenatal interview or determined from prescription records.

Main outcome measure Offspring diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, with and without intellectual disability.

Results Of the 3342 children exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy, 4.1% (n=136) had a diagnosis of autism compared with a 2.9% prevalence (n=353) in 12 325 children not exposed to antidepressants whose mothers had a history of a psychiatric disorder (adjusted odds ratio 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.85). Propensity score analysis led to similar results. The results of a sibling control analysis were in the same direction, although with wider confidence intervals. In a negative control comparison, there was no evidence of any increased risk of autism in children whose fathers were prescribed antidepressants during the mothers’ pregnancy (1.13, 0.68 to 1.88). In all analyses, the risk increase concerned only autism without intellectual disability.

Conclusions The association between antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism, particularly autism without intellectual disability, might not solely be a byproduct of confounding. Study of the potential underlying biological mechanisms could help the understanding of modifiable mechanisms in the aetiology of autism. Importantly, the absolute risk of autism was small, and, hypothetically, if no pregnant women took antidepressants, the number of cases that could potentially be prevented would be small.

Reference: BMJ 2017;358:j2811