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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Where is the COMPASS Taking Us? Rivaroxaban, Aspirin, or Both for Stable CVD ?

December 8, 2017

Since the introduction of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) less than a decade ago, use of this class has expanded beyond the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism and stroke prevention in the setting of atrial fibrillation. The potential role of DOACs in the secondary prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD) has been of considerable interest. In the setting of CAD, warfarin has resulted in significant more major bleeding when given either alone or in combination with antiplatelet agents when compared to aspirin alone.  Therefore, clinicians have been reluctant to embrace the combination of an anticoagulant plus an antiplatelet agent. However, could DOACs have a role in stable CAD? The COMPASS trial aimed to find an answer.

Guest Authors:  Candyce Bryant, Pharm.D., Joy Hoffman, Pharm.D., and M. Shawn McFarland, Pharm.D.

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Azithromycin to Prevent Asthma Exacerbations: What AMAZES Us and What Doesn’t

November 26, 2017

Despite good adherence to high-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and concomitant long-acting beta agonists (LABA), millions of people with asthma continue to experience exacerbations.  What more can patients and clinicians do to reduce the risk of exacerbations?  Does the routine use of antibiotics reduce the frequency of exacerbations?  This is the question the recently published AMAZES study attempted to answer.

Guest Authors: Michael Nagy, Pharm.D. and Ashley Crowl, 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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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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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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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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