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An Incli-ng of Benefit? Efficacy and Safety of Inclisiran for Elevated LDL

An Incli-ng of Benefit? Efficacy and Safety of Inclisiran for Elevated LDL

July 6, 2020

Lipid management continues to be an essential component in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).  For the past decade, clinical practice guidelines have gone back and forth about optimal treatment goals but guidelines all agree that statins should be used as the preferred initial therapy. However, there is still a lack of clarity about the optimal add-on therapies. The newest LDL-lowering therapy is inclisiran, a small interfering RNA (siRNA) that targets the PCSK9 pathway.

Guest Authors:  Joshua O. Holmes, PharmD, MS and Amanda Schartel, PharmD, BCACP

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Will Riva Be Defeated By It’s (Long-Standing) Nemesis, Apixa?

Will Riva Be Defeated By It’s (Long-Standing) Nemesis, Apixa?

June 19, 2020

Do we finally have enough evidence to establish a preferred direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOAC) for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation? The use of DOACs for a-fib has rapidly increased due to their ease of use and favorable safety profile. The AHA/ACC/HRS and CHEST guidelines now recommend DOACs over warfarin for stroke prevention in a-fib, but do not state a preference for one DOAC over another. Factor Xa inhibitors, specifically apixaban and rivaroxaban, are the most commonly prescribed DOACs suggesting they are preferred by clinicians in real-world practice but is one better than the other?

Guest Authors: Amy D. Robertson, PharmD, BCACP and Michelle Balli, PharmD, BCACP

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Should Penicillin Allergy Skin Testing be a Thing of the PAST?

Should Penicillin Allergy Skin Testing be a Thing of the PAST?

June 5, 2020

Many, many, many patients report they have penicillin (PCN) allergy. But while nearly 10% report being allergic to PCN, fewer than 1% have a true allergy. And this hampers antimicrobial stewardship efforts because clinicians are often forced to turn to agents with a broader spectrum, that are more expensive, and more likely to cause adverse effects including the development of resistance. However, determining whether a patient has a true PCN allergy is time-consuming and expensive. Historically, patients were sent to an allergist for PCN allergy skin testing (PAST) followed by oral provocation challenge (OPC). What if patients could skip past the skin test and receive a direct OPC instead? Direct OPC may not only increase patient willingness to be tested but also the feasibility of offering testing in primary care (and perhaps community pharmacy) settings.

Guest Authors:  Frank A Fanizza, PharmD, BCACP and Emily S Prohaska, PharmD, BCACP, BCGCP

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Does Long-Term Proton Pump Inhibitor Use Pump Up Your Risk of Adverse Effects?

Does Long-Term Proton Pump Inhibitor Use Pump Up Your Risk of Adverse Effects?

May 22, 2020

Many studies have linked proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use to several adverse effects including Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, community-acquired pneumonia, bone fractures, and nutritional deficiencies. Other reports have linked PPI use with chronic kidney disease, cognitive decline, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and even death. Many patients take PPIs chronically and may be concerned about the risk of these side effects. This poses a challenge for healthcare providers as safety data has been primarily based on retrospective and observational studies. A recently pre-planned analysis using data from the prospective COMPASS study sheds some reassuring light.

Guest Authors:  Hindu Rao, PharmD and Jelena Lewis, PharmD, BCACP, APh

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Is the Grass Really Greener? Cognitive Function After Discontinuation of Cannabis

Is the Grass Really Greener? Cognitive Function After Discontinuation of Cannabis

May 8, 2020

Cannabis use is a hot topic among patients and in healthcare circles. Cannabis is used by an estimated 20% of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to ameliorate symptoms such as spasticity, pain, and insomnia. Unfortunately, both MS and regular cannabis use can negatively impact cognition. Determining whether cognitive impairment can be reversed upon discontinuation of cannabis can help to distinguish its beneficial and harmful effects in patients with MS. It might also provide insights regarding the reversibility of cognitive impairment when cannabis is used for recreational purposes.

Guest Authors:  Lindsey Trotter, PharmD; Sean Smithgall, PharmD, BCACP; and Nicole Slater, PharmD, BCACP

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A CLEAN Sweep: Getting Rid of the Medication Cost Barrier

A CLEAN Sweep: Getting Rid of the Medication Cost Barrier

April 10, 2020

Medication adherence plays a very significant role in achieving positive patient health outcomes and when medication regimens are not followed, patients often fail to reach optimal disease control. This is especially concerning in ambulatory care settings where chronic disease states are most often treated. One of the potential barriers to optimal medication use is cost.

Guest Authors:  Emily Eddy, PharmD, BCACP, BC-ADM; Brittany Long, PharmD, BCACP; and Lindsey Petters, PharmD, BCPS

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Should Bedtime be Med-Time for Hypertension?

Should Bedtime be Med-Time for Hypertension?

March 27, 2020

Few medications are specifically dosed at night to optimize outcomes. However, antihypertensive medications may soon belong on our patients’ nightstands. It is common practice for patients to take all antihypertensive medications in the morning, but perhaps daytime dosing doesn’t maximize cardiovascular risk reduction? The potential benefits of chronotherapy and its impact on BP and CV outcomes have been investigated since the 1980s. However, current practice guidelines do not explicitly recommend dosing antihypertensive medications at bedtime.

Guest Authors:  Vivian Cheng, PharmD, BCPS and Joseph Saseen, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP

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Let’s COLCOT to the Chase: Colchicine for Secondary Prevention of CV Events

Let’s COLCOT to the Chase: Colchicine for Secondary Prevention of CV Events

March 13, 2020

Millions of Americans will have a myocardial infarction in their lifetime and 20% will have a recurrent fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease event. Several modifiable risk factors, including elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose as well as tobacco use, can and should be addressed to reduce the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events. Systemic inflammation has also been associated with poor CV outcomes. Is systemic inflammation a modifiable CV risk factor? And if so, should an anti-inflammatory agent be added to the recommend post-MI drug cocktail to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality?  That's the question that the COLCOT Study attempted to answer.

Guest Authors:  Jessica Wearden, PharmD and Augustus (Rob) Hough, PharmD, BCPS, BCCP

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Don’t Let Numbers Fool You: Levothyroxine Isn’t a Cure-all

Don’t Let Numbers Fool You: Levothyroxine Isn’t a Cure-all

February 29, 2020

Patients with subclinical hypothyroidism often complain of symptoms commonly seen in patients with overt hypothyroidism: cold insensitivity, dry skin, fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps, poor memory, slowed thinking, and depression. Indeed, up to a quarter of people with normal TSH levels report up to two of these symptoms, pointing to the non-specific nature of these symptoms. How then should a clinician decide which patients might benefit from thyroid replacement therapy?

Guest Authors:  Mallory Kuchis, PharmD and Michael P. Kane, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP

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Age is Just a Number: Discontinue Statins with Care

Age is Just a Number: Discontinue Statins with Care

February 14, 2020

More than 14 million Americans age 75 years and older face a dilemma. They are at high risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). On the other hand, older adults are more susceptible to adverse effects associated with statins. Many adults, often in their 60s or early 70s, decide to initiate statin therapy for the primary prevention of ASCVD. However, at some point in a patient’s life, the potential benefits may no longer be so clear … or the risks and costs increase. Unfortunately, there is little information on the potential consequences of stopping statin in patients who are tolerating statins.

Guest Authors:  Maricar Conson, PharmD and W. Cheng Yuet, PharmD, BCACP

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