Painting a New CANVAS for SGLT-2 Inhibitors?

October 13, 2017

While good glycemic control has been shown to prevent microvascular complications (e.g. retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy), only a few anti-diabetic agents have been shown to reduce macrovascular complications (e.g. cardiovascular events. Empagliflozin, a sodium glucose transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, not only reduced the risk of CV events but also all-cause mortality in the EMPA-REG OUTCOME study.  Based on this data, the SGLT2 inhibitors were given favorable second-line treatment status in the most recent AACE/ACE clinical practice guidelines. But do all SGLT2 inhibitors confer the same benefits… and risks? The Canagliflozin and Cardiovascular and Renal Events in Type 2 Diabetes (CANVAS) trial assessed the cardiovascular and renal benefits from long-term canagliflozin use.  The results are both reassuring and unexpected.

Guest Author:  Sean Lasota, Pharm.D.

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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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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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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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Sweetening the Deal: Effects of SGLT-2 Inhibitors on Kidney Disease Progression

November 11, 2016

Approximately one in three patients with diabetes in the United States have chronic kidney disease (CKD).  The Empagliflozin, Cardiovascular Outcomes, and Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes (EMPA-REG OUTCOME) trial, published in 2015, demonstrated a reduction in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in patients treated with empagliflozin. More recent data from the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial suggests that empagliflozin may also confer significant renal protection. 

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HIP-HIP-HOPE-3! Expanded role for statin therapy for primary prevention

September 15, 2016

The HOPE-3 trial sought to determine if blood pressure (BP) and cholesterol-lowering therapies are effective and safe as primary prevention strategies in intermediate risk patients. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines support a risk-based approach to statin use but in intermediate risk patients the tradeoffs between benefit and risk were deemed “less clear.”  Do the results of HOPE-3 trial provide enough evidence to support routinely treating intermediate risk patients?

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Liraglutide: the new LEADER for second line therapy in diabetes management?

September 2, 2016

According to the current (2016) ADA guidelines, no agent is “the preferred” second line therapy after metformin monotherapy — instead the benefits, risks, cost, and convenience of each option should be considered and treatment should be individualized.  The liraglutide and cardiovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes (LEADER) trial, which assessed the long-term cardiovascular effects of liraglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, comes at an interesting time shortly after the publication of the empagliflozin, cardiovascular outcomes, and mortality in type 2 diabetes (EMPA-REG OUTCOME) trial.  Both studies found a cardiovascular benefit. How, then, will the results of these trials affect the algorithm for type 2 diabetes management and more importantly, clinical practice?

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PATHWAY-2: Does the road lead to spironolactone for resistant hypertension?

June 3, 2016

Resistant hypertension (RH) is frequently encountered in primary care practice and often presents a significant clinical challenge because limited evidence-based guidance exists. RH is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and death, and has been associated with a 50% increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, congestive heart failure, and chronic kidney disease when compared to patients without RH. The American Heart Association defines RH as uncontrolled BP despite maximal treatment with a three-drug regimen, ideally including a diuretic. The exact prevalence of RH is unknown, but large randomized controlled trials suggest it affects one in five patients with elevated BP.  Previous research findings suggest chlorthalidone, spironolactone, and eplerenone are all effective add-on therapies when BP remains uncontrolled with typical first line agents.  The Pathway-2 study provides the first direct comparative evaluation of three different four-drug antihypertensive regimens.

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Does Coenzyme Q10 Have the ENERGY to Change Heart Failure Therapy?

May 20, 2016

Could a nutritional supplement be the “magic bullet” in heart failure therapy?  Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), or ubiquinone, is an electron carrier in mitochondria and plays a key role in ATP synthesis. It is also thought to have antioxidant effects and may stabilize LDL molecules. All of which would, theoretically, help the failing heart.

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