Using Controllers PRN for Mild Persistent Asthma – An Oxymoron?

September 7, 2018

Two recent studies challenge our current approach to managing patients with mild persistent asthma. When patients with asthma are prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs), we instruct them to use the medication daily. In patients with persistent asthma, guidelines recommend maintenance therapy, with either an ICS or a combination ICS/long-acting beta-agonist (LABA), plus a short-acting beta-agonist (SABA) as needed for rescue treatment.  The Symbicort Given as Needed in Mild Asthma (SYGMA) 1 and SYGMA 2 trials challenge the traditional approach comparing combination ICS/LABA (budesonide-formoterol) as needed to traditional ICS maintenance with SABA rescue therapy.

Guest Author:  Brittany Schmidt, PharmD, BCACP

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Is it Time to “Step Up” Rescue Treatment for Asthma to Prevent Exacerbations?

July 13, 2018

We’ve been managing asthma, for the most part, the same way for quite some time now … short-acting beta agonist (SABA) for quick relief, inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) as first-line maintenance treatment, step up if needed, step down if possible … plus self-management education and a written asthma action plan.  Despite many treatment options, numerous adults, adolescents, and children still suffer from asthma exacerbations, leading to reduced quality of life, missed work and school, higher costs, and increased asthma-related morbidity and mortality. Exacerbations can be triggered by acute respiratory infections, exposure to allergens and other environmental conditions, and poor medication use behaviors. Regardless of cause, finding ways to reduce or prevent exacerbations should be a priority.

Guest Author:  Kristen A. Pate, Pharm.D., BCACP

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Hypertension – Time for Patients to Control the Wheel

June 15, 2018

Traditionally, the management of hypertension requires routine blood pressure checks by a health professional to adjust medications. Could self-monitoring lead to better outcomes?  Would a greater percentage of patients achieve their goal blood pressure (BP)?  Self-monitoring may be an efficient method to improve blood pressure control; however, results from published reports are inconsistent. The authors of the TASMINH4 study sought to compare the effectiveness of three different approaches to BP monitoring.

Guest Authors:  Vicky Shah, PharmD, BCPS and Daniel Longyhore, MS, PharmD, BCPS

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Strategies for Managing Hypertension: Is the Paradigm Shifting?

May 10, 2018

Forty-five percent of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure — that’s more than 100 million people! Of those treated with pharmacotherapy, more than half are not achieving their blood pressure goals. Thus, millions of Americans are receiving suboptimal care.  A recently published systematic review and meta-analysis examined various implementation strategies to improve BP control in patients with high blood pressure. Which implementation strategies work best?

Guest Author: Lauren G Pamulapati, PharmD

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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.

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Painstaking Efforts to Improve Opioid Stewardship

November 10, 2017

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.  In 2016, the United States (U.S.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a seminal guideline for primary care clinicians regarding opioid prescribing. These guidelines are now being implemented by clinicians, insurers, and healthcare institutions. The Transforming Opioid Prescribing in Primary Care (TOPCARE) study sought to assess the impact of a multicomponent care management intervention on opioid stewardship in four primary care centers.

Guest Authors:  Lucas Hill and Jennifer Shin

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Validating HERDOO2 - When is it Safe to Stop Therapy After an Unprovoked VTE?

September 22, 2017

According to the 2016 CHEST VTE Guidelines, at least 3 months of therapy is recommended for an unprovoked DVT or PE (Grade 1B). Thereafter, the clinician is expected to weigh the risks and benefits to determine if extended therapy is appropriate. Balancing the risk of mortality from recurrent VTE versus major bleeding has been challenging.  A validated clinical decision tool is sorely needed!  Until recently, no risk assessment tool has been validated and therefore none have been widely adopted in practice.

Guest Author:  Carol Chan, Pharm.D.

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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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Preventing Pediatric Dosing Errors – Is It Time to Dump the Medicine Cup?

December 7, 2016

Children are often given liquid dosage forms for both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.  Several studies have shown that caregivers unintentionally put children at risk by inaccurately measuring the dose of liquid medications.  In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) adopted a policy statement which recommends exclusively using milliliters for dosing instructions to prevent dosing errors.  Our guest today critically examines a recent study that examined labeling and dosing tools that may contribute to medication errors.

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Pharmacists Patient Care Process

December 1, 2016

Our guest, Dr. Melissa Somma McGivney, describes the Pharmacists Patient Care Process and explains why having a consistent philosophy of practice, a consistent process of care, and a sustainable practice management system are critical for success.

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