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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Medical Treatment Effectiveness


Clinical Information
Effective Health Care
The Outcome of Outcomes Research at AHCPR: Final Report
Pneumonia: New Prediction Model Proves Promising
Schizophrenia PORT Results Provide Evidence-based Treatment Information
Stroke Prevention: Recommendations

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Speeches & Testimony

Date   Title
6/12/07 AHRQ's Research Efforts in Comparative Effectiveness

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Research Findings

Agency Press Releases
Date   Title
2/4/08 Outcomes Vary for Prostate Cancer Patients Choosing Surgery; Overall, No Treatment Proven Superior
12/17/07 Many Osteoporosis Medications Prevent Fractures, but None Is Proven Best
11/19/07 Combining Medications Often Best Strategy To Battle Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research Activities, August 2008:
New Spanish-language consumer guide compares oral diabetes medications
Poorer treatment and lower socioeconomic status may underlie ethnic disparities in breast cancer survival
Some children are already experiencing drug resistance to a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics used in adults
Many pregnant women continue to be prescribed a class of antihypertensive medications dangerous to the fetus
Kegel exercises, bladder training, and some medications can resolve women's urinary incontinence
Lack of evidence limits comparison of effectiveness of localized prostate cancer treatments
Prostate cancer screening decision aids lead to greater knowledge and involvement in decisionmaking by patients and lower screening rates
Treatments for early prostate cancers are often incongruent with previous conditions
Studies examine effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of depression quality improvement programs in primary care

Research Activities, July 2008:
AHRQ report indicates that gene-based tests need better monitoring

Research Activities, June 2008:
Antidepressants and therapy may be cost-effective for patients with medically unexplained symptoms
Sending high-risk heart attack patients to certain hospitals reduces deaths, minimizes hospital volume shifts

Research Activities, May 2008:
Use of a visual medication schedule and brief physician counseling can reduce time to anticoagulation control
Noncancerous pelvic problems are linked to poor quality of life and sexual functioning for premenopausal women
CT angiographic source images detect stroke better than nonenhanced CT scans
Coxibs and NSAIDs with gastroprotective agents offer better protection from ulcers than NSAIDs alone

Research Activities, April 2008:
Cost-effectiveness of primary care treatment of sinusitis depends on individual, societal, and payer's perspectives
Patients with unstable angina do not have better 1-year health status or rehospitalization outcomes than heart attack patients, despite better 2-year survival
Work-sponsored weight management programs offer losses for employees and gains for employers

Research Activities, March 2008:
Outcomes vary for prostate cancer patients choosing surgery, and no treatment was proven superior overall
Crash site data along with pelvic x-rays may aid triage of motor vehicle crash victims with pelvic fractures

Research Activities, January 2008:
Antibiotics to prevent children's recurrent urinary tract infections have unclear benefits and potential risks
A computer-based intravenous protocol can improve glycemic control in surgical ICU patients
Successful epilepsy surgery reduces health care costs
Journal supplement explores alternative research approaches to test drug safety and effectiveness
New studies reveal the impact of drug copayment and coinsurance policies on statin and beta-blocker therapy after heart attack

Research Activities, December 2007:
Common medications provide equal blood pressure control
Studies explore the challenges and complexities faced by paramedics performing out-of-hospital endotracheal intubation

Research Activities, November 2007:
Women suffer fewer postoperative problems after vascular surgery at Veterans Administration than at private hospitals
Men with localized prostate cancer who undergo surgery may live longer than those who undergo radiation or observation
Evidence of benefit is lacking for many common ways of treating osteoarthritis of the knee
Diagnosing coronary heart disease prior to a heart attack improves the chance of lowering the risk of future coronary events
Surgery is more likely than angioplasty to relieve pain for patients with coronary artery disease

Research Activities, October 2007:
Primary care practice-based research networks are a young diverse group vital to translating research into practice
Elderly women in the early stages of lung cancer live longer than elderly men, regardless of the type of treatment they receive

Research Activities, September 2007:
Parents of children with cancer are overly optimistic about a cure, but not about other outcomes of cancer therapy
Outpatient medication errors are common among patients who have received liver, kidney, and/or pancreas transplants

Research Activities, August 2007:
Early detection and aggressive treatment for prostate cancer is linked to more use of androgen-deprivation therapy for older men
Acute respiratory distress syndrome leads to poor outcomes and high care costs, even after treatment with inhaled nitric oxide

Research Activities, July 2007:
While most diabetes drugs provide similar glucose control, some offer important advantages
Studies examine the surge capacity of U.S. hospitals to respond to bioterrorism or other public health disasters
Family physicians manage skin conditions well

Research Activities, May 2007:
Growth hormone is not recommended as an antiaging therapy
More intensive treatment contributes to better hypertension control in the United States compared with western Europe
Hip fracture patients with osteoarthritis have longer hospital stays, but similar functional gain as those without the condition

Research Activities, April 2007:
Pulse oximetry and hospital observation can detect failure of amoxicillin treatment earlier in children with severe pneumonia
Pneumonia-vaccinated children with ear infections may acquire more strains of bacteria that could affect antibiotic treatment
Urologists' varied use of androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer raises concerns about its appropriate use
Prior use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics boosts the risk of fluoroquinolone-resistant infections

Research Activities, March 2007:
Stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus of the brain improves quality of life for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease
Higher-than-recommended doses of antipsychotic medications may not benefit people with schizophrenia and may increase side effects
Use of needle biopsy to diagnose lung nodules does not increase the risk of dying from localized nonsmall cell lung cancer

Research Activities, February 2007:
Mitral valve repair, when compared with replacement, leads to better quality of life
The likelihood of hemorrhage due to pelvic fracture can be estimated from initial pelvic x-ray, pulse, and hematocrit
Inpatient lumbar surgery rates remained stable from 1994 to 2000, but outpatient surgery increased

Research Activities, January 2007:
National guidelines and clinical evidence only modestly influence prescribing of antihypertensive agents

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Research Activities, December 2006:
Longer anti-clotting treatment appears to lower the risk of death or a heart attack in patients with drug-eluting stents

Research Activities, November 2006:
Long-term outpatient central venous catheters for bone infections cause complications in about 40 percent of children
"Off-pump" bypass surgery is associated with reduced occurrence of stroke and other complications
Risk models can help predict medical and surgical complications of carotid endarterectomy

Research Activities, October 2006:
Teriparatide alone is less cost-effective than alendronate alone for the treatment of women with severe osteoporosis
Talc should be the agent of choice when treating fluid buildup around the lungs from advanced cancer

Research Activities, September 2006:
Anthrax in children is difficult to detect and treat

Research Activities, June 2006:
Clinicians may need to balance recommendations with patient preferences for anticoagulant medication to treat atrial fibrillation
Study finds no clinically significant difference in effectiveness of drugs for managing anemia in patients undergoing cancer treatment

Research Activities, March 2006
The cost-effectiveness threshold for medical interventions may depend on the context of the circumstances

Research Activities, February 2006:
Noninvasive tests may miss breast cancer
Study details differences in physician and nonphysician acupuncture treatment for chronic low back pain
Both aspirin and extended release dipyridamole/aspirin are cost-effective anticoagulant agents to prevent second strokes
Concern about bleeding problems should not delay giving clot-busting drugs to heart attack patients with kidney disease
Recreational physical activities improve symptoms in patients with low back pain

Research Activities, January 2006:
Certain clinical and surgical factors affect a patient's risk of death or stroke following carotid endarterectomy
Improved survival rate after prostate cancer treatment may reflect a statistical artifact

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Research Activities, December 2005:
AHRQ releases the first Comparative Effectiveness Review: Certain drugs are as effective as surgery for management of GERD
Donepezil has a small effect in the treatment of dementia from Parkinson's disease

Research Activities, October 2005:
AHRQ launches new Effective Health Care Program to compare medical treatments and help put proven treatments into practice

Research Activities, August 2005:
Supracervical and total abdominal hysterectomy result in similar sexual functioning and quality of life 2 years later
It will be difficult to achieve strict cholesterol goals in many patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Hydroxychloroquine can reduce risk of organ damage in patients with lupus
Cancer survival is lower among Medicaid than non-Medicaid patients, especially for those enrolled after cancer diagnosis

Research Activities, July 2005:
Chiropractic care is more expensive but not more effective than medical care for the treatment of low back pain

Research Activities, June 2005:
Absence of chest pain in patients with suspected heart attack or angina does not signal a less severe condition
Three clinical factors can determine the likelihood of cervical spine fractures in elderly victims of blunt trauma
Photodynamic therapy is a cost-effective treatment option for patients with high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus

Research Activities, May 2005:
Long-term outcomes data do not support aggressive treatment of localized low-grade prostate cancer

Research Activities, April 2005:
Researchers compare medications for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation
Patients who have preprocedural angina appear to derive the most benefit from coronary angioplasty
Pulmonary arterial hypertension markedly worsens a person's quality of life, but medication may help
Dialysis patients are more likely to accept a higher dose of dialysis than to switch dialysis mode to increase survival

Research Activities, February 2005:
Studies offer guidance to help physical therapists identify and refer patients at risk of deep vein thrombosis
Diagnosis of celiac disease can be an exercise in clinical problem-solving

Research Activities, January 2005:
Study suggests that use of lifesaving beta-blockers for heart attack patients is increasing at community hospitals
Appropriately targeting thrombolytic therapy for heart attack patients has the potential to save both lives and money
Many kidney dialysis patients are not properly treated for high cholesterol
Early referral of patients with chronic kidney disease reduces complications and mortality
First-week followup of newborns after hospital discharge is critical to prevent severe jaundice and other problems
Nursing homes that employ physician extenders and provide training for nurses' aides have fewer hospitalizations

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Research Activities, December 2004:
Clinical signs help identify blunt head trauma patients with unremarkable CT scans who may need neurosurgery
Outcomes of repeat coronary bypass surgery are comparable to outcomes of initial bypass surgery
Cardiac resynchronization improves functioning and reduces deaths for certain heart failure patients
Evidence-based care for depression is clinically effective for minority patients
Maintenance of antiretroviral therapy despite low-level viremia in HIV patients appears to be appropriate

Research Activities, September 2004:
Many diabetes patients at high risk for kidney failure are not receiving medication to slow its development
Despite their high risk for cardiovascular disease, two-thirds of kidney dialysis patients are not treated for hyperlipidemia
Osteoarthritis patients have less pain and better functioning after joint replacement surgery, but they need support at 1 month
Collaborative care for acutely injured trauma survivors can reduce post-traumatic distress symptoms and alcohol abuse

Research Activities, August 2004:
Otitis media may not substantially increase risk of delayed speech development in typically developing children

Research Activities, June 2004:
Using a simple blood test to identify patients at risk for heart failure is cost effective
Relief of symptoms from proton-pump inhibitor treatment does not necessarily confirm diagnosis of GERD
Patients are more likely to stop smoking if they are advised by their doctors to do so

Research Activities, May 2004:
Researchers examine the diagnosis, testing, and treatment of bronchiolitis in infants

Research Activities, April 2004:
Hip fracture patients function better after hip repair surgery if they receive transfusions for anemia while in the hospital
Doctors substantially reduced their prescribing of alpha-blockers for hypertension after published trial results showed problems

Research Activities, March 2004:
Patients who undergo surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease use less care later than those who receive only medications
Inconsistent use of medications by elderly Mexican Americans with diabetes may explain their greater risk of some complications

Research Activities, February 2004:
Complications from prostate cancer treatment vary according to pretreatment function and choice of treatment
Use of tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer should be weighed against an individual woman's potential to benefits and risks

Research Activities, January 2004:
Acid suppressant therapy is effective for short-term relief of heartburn for patients with persistent symptoms

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AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care