Testing the Limits on Blood Glucose Monitoring: Can We Safely Cut Back?

September 8, 2017

Is self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) cost-effective?  SMBG is often recommended to help guide treatment decisions.  Consumer-oriented advertising often promotes frequent SMBG as means to achieve better glycemic control but current clinical practice guidelines do not provide specific recommendations regarding the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. The lack of conclusive evidence supporting the clinical benefits of routine SMBG combined with the rising costs of healthcare has led some payers to place limits on SMBG testing supplies.  Is this wise policy?  Or does it lead to poor health outcomes?

Guest Authors:  KyAnn Wisse, PharmD, BCACP and Dawn Fuke, Pharm.D, BCPS

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Are Statins ALL THAT for Primary Prevention in Older Adults? A Second Look at ALLHAT-LLT

August 25, 2017

Statins reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk. However, the utility of statin therapy in older adults — particularly in those age 75 years and older — remains controversial. The need for additional evidence to guide clinical practice is underscored by the fact that one-in-three older Americans report taking a statin.  Given the paucity of prospective data, a post-hoc analysis of the ALLHAT-LLT (Antihypertensive and Lipid Lowering treatment to prevent Heart Attack Trial - Lipid Lowering Trial) was recently published.  Does this new analysis really help inform the decision?

Guest Author:  Leo Buckley, Pharm.D.

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Wrapping up Knee Pain: Cabbage Leaf Wraps for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

August 11, 2017

Cabbage leaf wraps (CLWs) … the newest health craze trending on social media? A culinary masterpiece? Or an effective complementary treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) relief? A recently published study attempted to answer the latter question.

Guest Author:  Emily Prohaska, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP

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All for One and FOURIER for All!

July 27, 2017

Although statins have a proven benefit and are widely used, ASCVD continues to be the leading cause of death in the US.  In 2015, two proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, alirocumab (Praluent®) and evolocumab (Repatha®), were approved to treat elevated cholesterol when added to maximally-tolerated statin therapy in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia or history of ASCVD.  However, the lack of long-term CV outcomes data, high cost, and uncertainty regarding place in therapy have limited their wide-spread use. The recently published FOURIER Study provides compelling new evidence.

Guest Author:  Kelly Starman, Pharm.D., BCPS

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Vitamin D to Prevent Respiratory Tract Infections: Is the Evidence Dazzling or Disappointing?

June 26, 2017

Observational studies and systematic reviews have shown an association between low vitamin D concentrations and acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). An association is one thing, but can vitamin D supplementation reduce the risk of ARTIs?  That’s what a recent systematic review and meta-analysis attempted to determine.

Guest Author:  Amanda Schartel, Pharm.D., BCACP

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It’s All Relative: EINSTEIN CHOICE - Rivaroxaban for Extended Secondary Prevention of VTE

June 10, 2017

For the acute treatment of venous thromboembolism, the direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have increasingly replaced injectable anticoagulant therapy followed by warfarin.  For patients with an unprovoked deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism who may benefit from long-term extended prophylaxis for the secondary prevention of VTE, the choice is less clear. Should a DOAC be used?  If so, which one and what's the best dose?  What about low-dose aspirin? Is extended therapy needed at all?  The EINSTEIN CHOICE study adds important new insights to the growing body of literature.

Guest Author: Sarah Anderson, PharmD, BCPS

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Peeling Back the Layers on Coated Aspirin

April 14, 2017

More than 15 million Americans have coronary heart disease and most should be taking aspirin daily.  Given aspirin’s ubiquity in cardiovascular medicine and patients’ pill boxes, it is shocking that there are still so many unanswered questions about aspirin use. Which dose and dosage forms should be prescribed?  How common is aspirin resistance?  What is the relationship between platelet inhibition and clinical outcomes?

Guest Author:  Daniela Valencia, Pharm.D.

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Antithrombotic Therapy Following Stent Placement in Patients with A-Fib: Should DOACs Be Preferred?

March 24, 2017

Many patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) received triple antithrombotic therapy after undergoing a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and receiving cardiac stent. Triple therapy consists of warfarin plus dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with a P2Y12 inhibitor and low-dose aspirin. But is triple therapy the best approach? This practice, while widely employed, is not entirely evidence-based. Moreover, the effectiveness and safety of the direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in this patient population is unknown.

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Getting Some SHUTi: Using the Internet to Treat Patients with Insomnia

March 13, 2017

Could automated, web-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) replace flesh-and-blood healthcare practitioners?  Can computers deliver healthcare at lower cost and similar quality to face-to-face interactions with humans? Several web-based CBT programs have been developed and are now being marketed directly to consumers.  But do they actually work?

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Think Before You Make a RAS Decision: Evaluating the Use of RAS Blockers in Patients with Diabetes

February 24, 2017

Hypertension affects more than 70% of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and further increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in this high-risk population. While renin angiotensin system (RAS) blockers are clearly indicated in patients with heart failure, chronic kidney disease with proteinuria, and coronary artery disease (CAD), experts have come to different conclusions regarding their role as initial antihypertensive therapy for patients with diabetes.

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