HEALTH

CDC: Swine flu outbreak caused unique increase in flu incidence for season

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The circulation of the novel H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, is responsible for a unique uptick in flu incidence for the 2008/2009 season.

According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of confirmed H1N1 cases in the United States now totals 3,009 cases with three deaths in 45 states.

But for the seasonal picture, influenza activity increased across the United States for the week ended May 2, in part because of the H1N1 virus. For the week, seven states reported widespread activity; 12 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and 14 states reported local influenza activity; and Puerto Rico and 17 states reported sporadic influenza activity.

On a regional level, the percentage of visits for influenza-like illnesses ranged from 0.5% to 4.1%. Four-of-the-10 surveillance regions reported an ILI percentage above their region specific baselines.

During week 17, seasonal influenza A (H1) A (H3), and B viruses co-circulated with novel influenza A (H1N1), the CDC reported.

Click here to see a larger version of the CDC flu map.

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CVS Caremark study shows drug therapy helps osteoporosis patients

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. Data released Monday by CVS Caremark indicated that 87% of women 18 years and older with osteoporosis who were taking a drug therapy to treat the disease did not experience a fracture during a two-year study period.

The CVS Caremark data also found that those women with osteoporosis between the ages of 18 and 64 who were not on therapy were 5.7 times more likely to experience a fracture.

“Osteoporosis impacts millions of women in the United States and the resulting fractures due to bone loss associated with the disease can have a significant impact on the individual’s quality of life and increase overall health care costs for the patient and the payor,” stated Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS/Caremark. “Our research suggests that the medications available today to treat osteoporosis are effective in combating the disease and those women who take and remain adherent to therapy are better able to maintain their mobility and quality of life while avoiding costly fractures.”

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 8 million women in the United States have osteoporosis and an additional 27.2 million women are estimated to have low bone mass, which places them at increased risk for developing the disease. In addition, the NOF reports that one in two women with osteoporosis over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis related fracture in their remaining lifetime. The NOF also reports that in 2005, osteoporosis-related fractures were responsible for an estimated $19 billion in costs, which is predicted to increase to $25.3 billion by 2025.

The study analyzed women diagnosed with osteoporosis over a two-year period. Untreated women less than 65 years of age were 5.7 times more likely to experience a fracture than those treated with a bisphosphonate, estrogen, or other hormone-related osteoporosis therapy. This study evaluated aggregated and de-identified data for almost 400,000 women from the CVS Caremark Health Management Claims Database who had incurred claims between 01/01/07 and 12/31/08. All study participants were continuously eligible for medical and pharmacy benefits throughout the evaluation period. This analysis is an observational study only, and the results demonstrate a relationship between osteoporosis, osteoporotic pharmacotherapy, and fractures; however, as in most observational studies, the causal nature of this relationship cannot be strictly determined.

“The National Osteoporosis Foundation emphasizes the importance of patient adherence and persistence to a prescribed treatment regimen in order to get the maximum benefit from a medication,” stated Robert Recker, NOF president. “NOF is proud to sponsor National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month in May as an opportunity to raise awareness of this disease, help women understand their risk for developing osteoporosis and provide information about the treatments available today to help manage osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fracture.”

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Durex introduces new product to lubricants line

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Durex last week introduced a new product to their Play range of lubricants that adds a burst of flavor to the line.

The new Flavor Fusion personal lubricant from Durex Play combines two flavored lubricants in one package — pina colada and passion cherry.

The smooth gel lubricants are sugar free, smooth and non-sticky, clear and non-staining, water soluble and safe to use with condoms

Durex category research has found a high interest level among consumers in experimenting with flavored lubricants, as high as 62%.

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