Comparison of Recommended Eligibility for Primary Prevention Statin Therapy Based on the US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations vs the ACC/AHA Guidelines

Importance  There are important differences among guideline recommendations for using statin therapy in primary prevention. New recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) emphasize therapy based on the presence of 1 or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and a 10-year global CVD risk of 10% or greater.

Objective  To determine the difference in eligibility for primary prevention statin treatment among US adults, assuming full application of USPSTF recommendations compared with the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines.

Design, Setting, and Participants  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data (2009-2014) were used to assess statin eligibility under the 2016 USPSTF recommendations vs the 2013 ACC/AHA cholesterol guidelines among a nationally representative sample of 3416 US adults aged 40 to 75 years with fasting lipid data and triglyceride levels of 400 mg/dL or less, without prior CVD.

Exposures  The 2016 USPSTF recommendations vs 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Eligibility for primary prevention statin therapy.

Results  Among the US primary prevention population represented by 3416 individuals in NHANES, the median weighted age was 53 years (interquartile range, 46-61), and 53% (95% CI, 52%-55%) were women. Along with the 21.5% (95% CI, 19.3%-23.7%) of patients who reported currently taking lipid-lowering medication, full implementation of the USPSTF recommendations would be associated with initiation of statin therapy in an additional 15.8% (95% CI, 14.0%-17.5%) of patients, compared with an additional 24.3% (95% CI, 22.3%-26.3%) of patients who would be recommended for statin initiation under full implementation of the 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines. Among the 8.9% of individuals in the primary prevention population who would be recommended for statins by ACC/AHA guidelines but not by USPSTF recommendations, 55% would be adults aged 40 to 59 years with a mean 30-year cardiovascular risk greater than 30%, and 28% would have diabetes.

Conclusions And Relevance  In this sample of US adults from 2009-2014, adherence to the 2016 USPSTF recommendations for statin therapy, compared with the 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines, could lead to a lower number of individuals recommended for primary prevention statin therapy, including many younger adults with high mean long-term CVD risk.

Associations of Maternal Antidepressant Use During the First Trimester of Pregnancy With Preterm Birth, Small for Gestational Age, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring

Importance  Prenatal antidepressant exposure has been associated with adverse outcomes. Previous studies, however, may not have adequately accounted for confounding.

Objective  To evaluate alternative hypotheses for associations between first-trimester antidepressant exposure and birth and neurodevelopmental problems.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This retrospective cohort study included Swedish offspring born between 1996 and 2012 and followed up through 2013 or censored by death or emigration. Analyses controlling for pregnancy, maternal and paternal covariates, as well as sibling comparisons, timing of exposure comparisons, and paternal comparisons, were used to examine the associations.

Exposures  Maternal self-reported first-trimester antidepressant use and first-trimester antidepressant dispensations.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Preterm birth (<37 gestational weeks), small for gestational age (birth weight <2 SDs below the mean for gestational age), and first inpatient or outpatient clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in offspring.

Results  Among 1 580 629 offspring (mean gestational age, 279 days; 48.6% female; 1.4% [n = 22 544] with maternal first-trimester self-reported antidepressant use) born to 943 776 mothers (mean age at childbirth, 30 years), 6.98% of exposed vs 4.78% of unexposed offspring were preterm, 2.54% of exposed vs 2.19% of unexposed were small for gestational age, 5.28% of exposed vs 2.14% of unexposed were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder by age 15 years, and 12.63% of exposed vs 5.46% of unexposed were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder by age 15 years. At the population level, first-trimester exposure was associated with all outcomes compared with unexposed offspring (preterm birth odds ratio [OR], 1.47 [95% CI, 1.40-1.55]; small for gestational age OR, 1.15 [95% CI, 1.06-1.25]; autism spectrum disorder hazard ratio [HR], 2.02 [95% CI, 1.80-2.26]; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder HR, 2.21 [95% CI, 2.04-2.39]). However, in models that compared siblings while adjusting for pregnancy, maternal, and paternal traits, first-trimester antidepressant exposure was associated with preterm birth (OR, 1.34 [95% CI, 1.18-1.52]) but not with small for gestational age (OR, 1.01 [95% CI, 0.81-1.25]), autism spectrum disorder (HR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.62-1.13]), or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (HR, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.79-1.25]). Results from analyses assessing associations with maternal dispensations before pregnancy and with paternal first-trimester dispensations were consistent with findings from the sibling comparisons.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among offspring born in Sweden, after accounting for confounding factors, first-trimester exposure to antidepressants, compared with no exposure, was associated with a small increased risk of preterm birth but no increased risk of small for gestational age, autism spectrum disorder, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Association Between Serotonergic Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

Importance  Previous observations of a higher risk of child autism spectrum disorder with serotonergic antidepressant exposure during pregnancy may have been confounded.

Objective  To evaluate the association between serotonergic antidepressant exposure during pregnancy and child autism spectrum disorder.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Retrospective cohort study. Health administrative data sets were used to study children born to mothers who were receiving public prescription drug coverage during pregnancy in Ontario, Canada, from 2002-2010, reflecting 4.2% of births. Children were followed up until March 31, 2014.

Exposures  Serotonergic antidepressant exposure was defined as 2 or more consecutive maternal prescriptions for a selective serotonin or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor between conception and delivery.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Child autism spectrum disorder identified after the age of 2 years. Exposure group differences were addressed by inverse probability of treatment weighting based on derived high-dimensional propensity scores (computerized algorithm used to select a large number of potential confounders) and by comparing exposed children with unexposed siblings.

Results  There were 35 906 singleton births at a mean gestational age of 38.7 weeks (50.4% were male, mean maternal age was 26.7 years, and mean duration of follow-up was 4.95 years). In the 2837 pregnancies (7.9%) exposed to antidepressants, 2.0% (95% CI, 1.6%-2.6%) of children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The incidence of autism spectrum disorder was 4.51 per 1000 person-years among children exposed to antidepressants vs 2.03 per 1000 person-years among unexposed children (between-group difference, 2.48 [95% CI, 2.33-2.62] per 1000 person-years; hazard ratio [HR], 2.16 [95% CI, 1.64-2.86]; adjusted HR, 1.59 [95% CI, 1.17-2.17]). After inverse probability of treatment weighting based on the high-dimensional propensity score, the association was not significant (HR, 1.61 [95% CI, 0.997-2.59]). The association was also not significant when exposed children were compared with unexposed siblings (incidence of autism spectrum disorder was 3.40 per 1000 person-years vs 2.05 per 1000 person-years, respectively; adjusted HR, 1.60 [95% CI, 0.69-3.74]).

Conclusions and Relevance  In children born to mothers receiving public drug coverage in Ontario, Canada, in utero serotonergic antidepressant exposure compared with no exposure was not associated with autism spectrum disorder in the child. Although a causal relationship cannot be ruled out, the previously observed association may be explained by other factors.

Effect of Oral Dexamethasone Without Immediate Antibiotics vs Placebo on Acute Sore Throat in Adults

Importance  Acute sore throat poses a significant burden on primary care and is a source of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Corticosteroids could be an alternative symptomatic treatment.

Objective  To assess the clinical effectiveness of oral corticosteroids for acute sore throat in the absence of antibiotics.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial (April 2013-February 2015; 28-day follow-up completed April 2015) conducted in 42 family practices in South and West England, enrolled 576 adults recruited on the day of presentation to primary care with acute sore throat not requiring immediate antibiotic therapy.

Interventions  Single oral dose of 10 mg of dexamethasone (n = 293) or identical placebo (n = 283).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Primary: proportion of participants experiencing complete resolution of symptoms at 24 hours. Secondary: complete resolution at 48 hours, duration of moderately bad symptoms (based on a Likert scale, 0, normal; 6, as bad as it could be), visual analog symptom scales (0-100 mm; 0, no symptom to 100, worst imaginable), health care attendance, days missed from work or education, consumption of delayed antibiotics or other medications, adverse events.

Results  Among 565 eligible participants who were randomized (median age, 34 years [interquartile range, 26.0-45.5 year]; 75.2% women; 100% completed the intervention), 288 received dexamethasone; 277, placebo. At 24 hours, 65 participants (22.6%) in the dexamethasone group and 49 (17.7%) in the placebo group achieved complete resolution of symptoms, for a risk difference of 4.7% (95% CI, −1.8% to 11.2%) and a relative risk of 1.28 (95% CI; 0.92 to 1.78; P = .14). At 24 hours, participants receiving dexamethasone were not more likely than those receiving placebo to have complete symptom resolution. At 48 hours, 102 participants (35.4%) in the dexamethasone group vs 75 (27.1%) in the placebo group achieved complete resolution of symptoms, for a risk difference of 8.7% (95% CI, 1.2% to 16.2%) and a relative risk of 1.31 (95% CI, 1.02 to 1.68; P = .03). This difference also was observed in participants not offered delayed antibiotic prescription, for a risk difference of 10.3% (95% CI, 0.6% to 20.1%) and a relative risk of 1.37 (95% CI, 1.01 to 1.87; P = .046). There were no significant differences in any other secondary outcomes.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among adults presenting to primary care with acute sore throat, a single dose of oral dexamethasone compared with placebo did not increase the proportion of patients with resolution of symptoms at 24 hours. However, there was a significant difference at 48 hours.

Trial Registration Identifier: ISRCTN17435450

JAMA. 2017;317(15):1535-1543.

Body-Weight Fluctuations and Outcomes in Coronary Disease


Body-weight fluctuation is a risk factor for death and coronary events in patients without cardiovascular disease. It is not known whether variability in body weight affects outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease.


We determined intraindividual fluctuations in body weight from baseline weight and follow-up visits and performed a post hoc analysis of the Treating to New Targets trial, which involved assessment of the efficacy and safety of lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels with atorvastatin. The primary outcome was any coronary event (a composite of death from coronary heart disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, revascularization, or angina). Secondary outcomes were any cardiovascular event (a composite of any coronary event, a cerebrovascular event, peripheral vascular disease, or heart failure), death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.


Among 9509 participants, after adjustment for risk factors, baseline lipid levels, mean body weight, and weight change, each increase of 1 SD in body-weight variability (measured according to average successive variability and used as a time-dependent covariate) was associated with an increase in the risk of any coronary event (2091 events; hazard ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.07; P=0.01), any cardiovascular event (2727 events; hazard ratio, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.07; P<0.001), and death (487 events; hazard ratio,1.09; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.12; P<0.001). Among patients in the quintile with the highest variation in body weight, the risk of a coronary event was 64% higher, the risk of a cardiovascular event 85% higher, death 124% higher, myocardial infarction 117% higher, and stroke 136% higher than it was among those in the quintile with the lowest variation in body weight in adjusted models.


Among participants with coronary artery disease, fluctuation in body weight was associated with higher mortality and a higher rate of cardiovascular events independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. (Funded by Pfizer; number, NCT00327691.)

N Engl J Med 2017; 376:1332-1340

3 years of liraglutide versus placebo for type 2 diabetes risk reduction and weight management in individuals with prediabetes: a randomised, double-blind trial


Liraglutide 3·0 mg was shown to reduce bodyweight and improve glucose metabolism after the 56-week period of this trial, one of four trials in the SCALE programme. In the 3-year assessment of the SCALE Obesity and Prediabetes trial we aimed to evaluate the proportion of individuals with prediabetes who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.


In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, adults with prediabetes and a body-mass index of at least 30 kg/m2, or at least 27 kg/m2 with comorbidities, were randomised 2:1, using a telephone or web-based system, to once-daily subcutaneous liraglutide 3·0 mg or matched placebo, as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Time to diabetes onset by 160 weeks was the primary outcome, evaluated in all randomised treated individuals with at least one post-baseline assessment. The trial was conducted at 191 clinical research sites in 27 countries and is registered with, number NCT01272219.


The study ran between June 1, 2011, and March 2, 2015. We randomly assigned 2254 patients to receive liraglutide (n=1505) or placebo (n=749). 1128 (50%) participants completed the study up to week 160, after withdrawal of 714 (47%) participants in the liraglutide group and 412 (55%) participants in the placebo group. By week 160, 26 (2%) of 1472 individuals in the liraglutide group versus 46 (6%) of 738 in the placebo group were diagnosed with diabetes while on treatment. The mean time from randomisation to diagnosis was 99 (SD 47) weeks for the 26 individuals in the liraglutide group versus 87 (47) weeks for the 46 individuals in the placebo group. Taking the different diagnosis frequencies between the treatment groups into account, the time to onset of diabetes over 160 weeks among all randomised individuals was 2·7 times longer with liraglutide than with placebo (95% CI 1·9 to 3·9, p<0·0001), corresponding with a hazard ratio of 0·21 (95% CI 0·13–0·34). Liraglutide induced greater weight loss than placebo at week 160 (–6·1 [SD 7·3] vs −1·9% [6·3]; estimated treatment difference −4·3%, 95% CI −4·9 to −3·7, p<0·0001). Serious adverse events were reported by 227 (15%) of 1501 randomised treated individuals in the liraglutide group versus 96 (13%) of 747 individuals in the placebo group.


In this trial, we provide results for 3 years of treatment, with the limitation that withdrawn individuals were not followed up after discontinuation. Liraglutide 3·0 mg might provide health benefits in terms of reduced risk of diabetes in individuals with obesity and prediabetes.

Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Importance  Acute low back pain is common and spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is a treatment option. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses have reported different conclusions about the effectiveness of SMT.

Objective  To systematically review studies of the effectiveness and harms of SMT for acute (≤6 weeks) low back pain.

Data Sources  Search of MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, and Current Nursing and Allied Health Literature from January 1, 2011, through February 6, 2017, as well as identified systematic reviews and RCTs, for RCTs of adults with low back pain treated in ambulatory settings with SMT compared with sham or alternative treatments, and that measured pain or function outcomes for up to 6 weeks. Observational studies were included to assess harms.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Data extraction was done in duplicate. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane Back and Neck (CBN) Risk of Bias tool. This tool has 11 items in the following domains: randomization, concealment, baseline differences, blinding (patient), blinding (care provider [care provider is a specific quality metric used by the CBN Risk of Bias tool]), blinding (outcome), co-interventions, compliance, dropouts, timing, and intention to treat. Prior research has shown the CBN Risk of Bias tool identifies studies at an increased risk of bias using a threshold of 5 or 6 as a summary score. The evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Pain (measured by either the 100-mm visual analog scale, 11-point numeric rating scale, or other numeric pain scale), function (measured by the 24-point Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire or Oswestry Disability Index [range, 0-100]), or any harms measured within 6 weeks.

Findings  Of 26 eligible RCTs identified, 15 RCTs (1711 patients) provided moderate-quality evidence that SMT has a statistically significant association with improvements in pain (pooled mean improvement in the 100-mm visual analog pain scale, −9.95 [95% CI, −15.6 to −4.3]). Twelve RCTs (1381 patients) produced moderate-quality evidence that SMT has a statistically significant association with improvements in function (pooled mean effect size, −0.39 [95% CI, −0.71 to −0.07]). Heterogeneity was not explained by type of clinician performing SMT, type of manipulation, study quality, or whether SMT was given alone or as part of a package of therapies. No RCT reported any serious adverse event. Minor transient adverse events such as increased pain, muscle stiffness, and headache were reported 50% to 67% of the time in large case series of patients treated with SMT.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among patients with acute low back pain, spinal manipulative therapy was associated with modest improvements in pain and function at up to 6 weeks, with transient minor musculoskeletal harms. However, heterogeneity in study results was large.