Drug Topics

Monthly news magazine reports on all phases of pharmacy for community and health-system pharmacists. Concise, easy-to-read news reports cover managed care trends, professional issues, national and state governmental activities, new prescription drugs, OTCs, and new merchandising and marketing techniques.

Articles from Vol. 150, No. 22, November 20

Anticancer Drug Treats Skin Lymphoma
NEW DRUGThe recently approved Zolinza (vorinostat), the first anticancer drug to be developed by Merck & Co. in 20 years, targets a littleknown malignancy that's often mistaken for eczema or psoriasis. Vorinostat, also known as suberoylanilide hydroxamic...
Beware of Bisphosphonates and Jaw Disorder
Although jaw osteonecrosis is a rare complication of bisphosphonate therapy, the sheer numbers of bisphonphonate Rxs filled annually suggest this rare side effect may affect thousands of patients. Bisphosphonates are indicated for treating hypercalcemia...
Blood Test Cuts Infection Risk in Transplant Patients
Over the years, long-term use of immunosuppressive medications has shown that they reduce morbidity and mortality in transplant patients. One of physicians' challenges is to balance the risk of organ rejection caused by underimmunosuppression with the...
Calif. Law Posts Hospital Medication Errors On-Line
New legislation in California takes hospital reporting of serious medication errors to a new and very public level. Signed by the governor in late September, the law requires all hospital medical errors posing serious harm, including medication errors,...
Can Independents Survive Part D?
Decades ago, when there were no pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacists were fondly called Doc and sold only medication, pharmacists were respected for the tireless care they gave patients. Over the past 20 years, PBMs working for insurance companies...
Can Interventions Halt Severe Sepsis Progression?
Protocolized Care for Early Septic Shock (ProCESS), a new multicenter research consortium, is beginning a largescale study to determine whether specific interventions can halt the progression to severe sepsis or septic shock. Every year, about 750,000...
Chain Industry Is Alive and Well: NACDS Profile
In 2005, over 3.4 billion prescriptions were filled-a jump of 59% since 1995. This good news comes from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation's recently released 2006 Chain Pharmacy Industry Profile.For the first time, the report includes...
Changing Populations Driving Fungal Infections
Fungal infections are on the increase, but not for all the usual reasons. Increasing rates of bacterial and viral infections are due in large part to growing resistance to antimicrobials, but fungi and antifungals are different.It's not that resistance...
COPD Gains First Nebulized Beta^sub 2^ Agonist
NEW DRUGArformoterol (Brovana, Sepracor) inhalation solution, 15 meg, is the first inhaled long-acting beta^sub 2^-adrenergic agonist to be approved for use with a nebulizer. It was approved for long-term, twice-daily (morning and evening) maintenance...
Dasatinib Added to Guidelines for CML
Dasatinib (Sprycel, BristolMyers Squibb) is a new tyrosine kinase inhibitor for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The Food & Drug Administration approved the drug in June, and now the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has added dasatinib...
Diabetes Undertreated among Hospital Patients
Diabetes is undertreated among inpatients, especially acute care patients, sometimes with devastating results. "Blood glucose levels are too often not treated as intensively as other medical conditions among floor patients," said Almut G. Winterstein,...
Disposable Pill-Counting Device Eliminates Contamination
A pharmacy technician from Seattle has created a disposable, single-use tray and spatula to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination during pill counting in pharmacies."The process is repeated again and again, with pharmacists using the same tray and...
Do Drug-Eluting Stents Carry Thrombosis Risk?
Drug-eluting stents (DESs) greatly reduce the chances of restenosis, a gradual growth of abnormal cells within the stent. However, the results of a new study reveal that DESs may also put patients at a higher risk for a sudden and potentially fatal thrombosis.Data...
First in DPP-4 Inhibitor Class Cleared for Diabetes
NEW DRUGThe long-awaited first dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor will soon make its debut. Januvia (sitagliptin), from Merck & Co., has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration as both a monotherapy and an add-on treatment to improve...
Health Plans and Pharmacists Collaborate on Part D Booklet
In an extension of cooperation begun earlier this year, health insurance plans and pharmacist groups have created a booklet and a Web site to guide Medicare beneficiaries through choosing a 2007 Part D plan, just as open enrollment is set to begin on...
Here Comes Another Avalanche of OTCs
Manufacturers are churning out yet another barrage of OTCs. Here's a peek.Cough & cold reliefEmergen-C Immune Defense Fizzing Lozenges are new from Alacer Corp. Ingredients include vitamins A, C, and D, B vitamins, selenium, hibiscus extract, and...
HIV-25 Years Later
It's not a death sentence anymore, but drug resistance is a rising concern as research continues on a preventive vaccineJ.B. has been HIV-positive for more than two decades. Diagnosed in the early 1980s, he considers himself one of the lucky ones whose...
Is Your Hospital on Leapfrog's Winner List?
Suppose you were able to evaluate a hospital based on how well it has implemented quality and safety initiatives. The Leap-frog Group set out to do just that when it commissioned a survey to establish a national raring system that offers a broad assessment...
Is Your Pharmacy Providing 24/7 Coverage?
At most large tertiary care hospitals and academic medical centers, around-the-clock pharmacy service is relatively common. But in some small and rural hospitals, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week pharmacy coverage is not economically feasible or practical....
Letters
Don't look down on baccalaureate R.Ph.sI appreciate and applaud you for the press you have given to the B.S. vs. Pharm.D. issue. Based on Lucinda Maine's comments in your Oct. 9 issue, I disagree with her about the validity of your survey, but I did...
Managing Heart Failure and Transplants: Here's How
The International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) has released the first international guidelines for managing heart failure (HF) patients prior to heart transplantation. HF is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to...
Market Changes May Benefit Smaller PBMs
Catalyst Rx ... HealthTrans ... MedImpact ... Navitus Health Solutions.... These pharmacy benefit managers may not be household names yet, but they are shaking up the PBM market.According to Perry Cohen, Pharm.D., a principal with Pharmacy Group, a healthcare...
More Systems Available to Help You Provide MTM
So you've decided to provide medication therapy management (MTM) services to your Medicare Part D patients. Which technological product should you use to document and bill for these services? "Technology plays a very significant role," commented Stefan...
Nasal Spray Approved for Treatment of Allergies
NEW DRUGThe Food & Drug Administration recently approved ciclesonide (Omnaris, Altana Pharma) for the treatment of nasal symptoms associated with seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis in adults and children 12 years and older.Allergic rhinitis,...
New Software Enhances Neonatal TPN
NeoFax recently released an updated version of software for the preparation of total parenterai nutrition solutions for neonatal infants. Named WebApp, the software's data are based on what company officials say is the most widely used neonatal drug...
New Tablet Manages Breakthrough Pain
NEW DRUGThe Food & Drug Administration recently approved fentanyl buccal tablets (Fentora, Cephalon) for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioids for their underlying persistent...
New TPN Software May Fill Market Void
Anew software version for managing orders and calculations for total parenteral nutrition (TPN) compounding was released by Baxa Corp. in August. The company supplies about 70% of the nation's hospitals with automated TPN compounding products.The other...
New Vaccines, New Horizons Seen for Immunization
Pharmacists currently offering immunizations see substantial growth for that activity ahead. But they also foresee many barriers to reimbursement as well as to recognition from the public and the healthcare community."The opportunities that we see now...
Pharmacist Loses License Following DEA Raid
At 5:00 A.M. one April morning last year, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and some sheriff's deputies burst into Scherer's Medical Clinic, a pain management center in Slidell, La., near New Orleans. Additional raids that day at area clinics...
PPSI to FDA: Regulate Acetaminophen Labeling
Pharmacists Planning Service Inc. (PPSI) has submitted a citizen's petition to the Food & Drug Administration to regulate the labeling and packaging of acetaminophen/APAP-containing products so that the label states, "Contains acetaminophen. Do not...
Psychiatrists Look to E-Records for Drug Safety
Several dozen neuropsychiatrists and others, at a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., emphasized the need for a national postmarketing surveillance system for drugs. But how will the country move to such a system?"Right now the whole country is moving...
PTCB Pushes for National Tech Certification Standard
The position of pharmacy technician has grown and evolved dramatically over the past 11 years. And, as technicians grow in importance at many chain and independent pharmacies, so too has the technician certification exam.Recently, the Pharmacy Technician...
Treating Asthma/avoiding SVT
A 20-year-old patient, T.C., managed in your hospital's asthma clinic has recently been diagnosed with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). To control his asthma, T.C. uses a fluticasone 250 mcg/salmeterol 50 mcg inhaler (Advair Diskus, GlaxoSmithKline)...
Updated Lyme Disease Guide Clarifies Confusion
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recently updated its guidelines for the management of patients with Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA, formerly known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis), and babesiosis. Gary Wormser,...
What AWP Suit Means: Get Ready for Its Demise
When First DataBank agreed to settle a lawsuit last month and pledged to stop publishing AWP (average wholesale price) data in two years, it sent ripples through the pharmacy industry. AWP has long been a key measure for determining pharmacy payments,...
Where's the Love?
Recently, a certified pharmacy technician expressed her frustration when she and her pharmacist were blamed for unprofessional conduct in their telephone transaction with a doctor. The prescriber claimed to be too important to waste her time digging...
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