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Tiny (n-of-1) Trials to Overcome Statin-Associated Muscle Pain

In blinded clinical trials the percentage of patients who experience muscle symptoms while taking a statin is typically in the 3-5% range.  In practice, the percentage of patients who report muscle symptoms is 10-25%.  This disparity between what has been observed in blinded trials and what patients experience when treated with a statin is due, in part, to the nocebo effect — a belief that a medication may cause harm.  How many lives could be saved if we routinely used tiny randomized, controlled, blinded trials to determine when statin therapy can be safely continued?

Guest Panelists: Elizabeth Hearn, PharmD; Stuart T Haines PharmD, BCPS, BCACP; and Kathryn (Katie) Kiser, PharmD, BCACP

Music by Good Talk

I Screen, You Screen, We Should All Screen for Unhealthy Drug Use

Nearly 1 in 8 Americans older than 12 used illicit substances in 2018, including misuse of prescription medications. In addition, more than 80% of those who would benefit from substance use treatment in the past year did not receive it. Thus, the importance of identifying and offering treatment should be a priority — particularly in primary care settings. However, there are many barriers to implementing unhealthy substance use screening including pervasive stigma, lack of clinician comfort, logistics, and limited knowledge of or avenues for treatment when unhealthy drug use is uncovered. The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently published updated recommendations on drug use screening.

Guest Authors: Melissa C. Palmer, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP; Jordan Cooler, PharmD, BCPP; and Amanda Stahnke, PharmD, BCACP

Music by Good Talk

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

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

All for One and FOURIER for All!

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

Theme music by Good Talk.

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