Top Ten Things Every Clinician Should Know About the 2017 Hypertension Guidelines

December 15, 2017

We interview Eric MacLaughlin, Joseph Saseen, and Kristin Rieser about the ACC/AHA Guidelines for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Adults released in November 2017.  Dr. MacLaughin, a member of the Guideline Writing Committee, gives a insiders view of the guidelines development process and explains the rationale for lower blood pressure goals.  Drs. Saseen and Rieser talk about some of the practical considerations that we all must consider as we move forward to making these recommendations a reality.

Guests:  Kristin Rieser, Pharm.D., Joseph Saseen, Pharm.D, and Eric MacLaughlin, Pharm.D.

Music by Good Talk

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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.

Music by Good Talk

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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.

Theme Music by Good Talk

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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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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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The Heart of the Matter – Is EMPA-REG a Game Changer for Diabetes Management?

November 19, 2015

The Empagliflozin, Cardiovascular Outcomes, and Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes (EMPA-REG OUTCOME) study sought to determine the effects of empagliflozin on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk for CVD. Does the evidence from the EMPA-REG OUTCOME study coupled with the other benefits of SGLT2 inhibitors (reduction in weight and blood pressure, mild adverse effects) make empagliflozin the preferred second-line agent from the treatment of type 2 diabetes? 

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Managing Direct Oral Anticoagulants – What’s Our Role?

September 18, 2015

Many clinicians are questioning the role pharmacists play in anticoagulation therapy management as direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) increasingly replace warfarin for a variety of indications. A recent study examined medication adherence and therapy management practices at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patient care sites. Although this study does not have all the answers, it does reveal the importance of patient selection and ongoing patient monitoring – potentially key roles for pharmacists.

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PCSK9 Inhibitors: Blockbusters or Bust?

September 5, 2015

Two new mAbs, alirocumab and evolocumab, have been approved to treat elevated cholesterol when added to maximally tolerated statin therapy in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia or history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). This new class of drugs, the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, is considered to be the biggest breakthrough in cholesterol treatment since statins were approved 3 decades ago. But are they worth it?

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