CFC-propelled inhalers to be replaced with environmentally-friendler inhalers
SEATTLE In less than three months, inhalers for respiratory illnesses that use chlorofluorocarbons as propellants will no longer be sold in the United States.
Inhalers will instead use hydrofluoroalkane propellants because of CFCs destructive effect on the atmospheric ozone layer.
At a national press briefing during the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, representatives from the organization and Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics urged the medical community to educate their patients with respiratory disorders about the upcoming transition from CFCs to HFAs.
“This is the first time that an effective medication has been removed from the market in the U.S. for an environmental issue,” said Ira Finegold, chief of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in the Department of Medicine at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, in a statement issued Monday. “However, the newer products are not identical and each has specific differences. Physicians should monitor patients making the transition to HFA albuterol to be sure they understand the differences in the use and care of the newer products.”
The transition has been forthcoming for some time, but IMS Health data show that 14 million patients still use the CFC-propelled inhalers.
“A significant number of patients are still not aware of the federal mandate or how to safely go about making this change,” AANMA president and founder Nancy Sander said. “Patients and physicians need to know that inhalers are changing, these changes are mandatory, and there are important decisions to make about treatment options that require thoughtful consideration of the patient’s medical history and current respiratory health status.”
New collaboration to spotlight diabetes self-management
WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced a collaboration with the American Diabetes Association and the Patient Education Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine to increase the number of diabetes self-management training programs in the United States.
This collaboration, which will have a particular focus on Hispanic people with Medicare, supports HHS’ Interagency Hispanic Elder Initiative. That initiative, launched in 2007, seeks to improve the health of Hispanic senior populations, and has identified diabetes as a primary issue of concern for Hispanic seniors.
“Although Medicare covers diabetes self-management training, there is a shortage of programs nationwide, especially for Spanish-speaking seniors, “ stated Kerry Weems, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “This new collaboration will increase the number of programs, including those focused on the needs of Hispanic seniors.”
Approximately 18 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries have diabetes. Hispanic beneficiaries are particularly susceptible to the disease and are more than four times likely than non-Hispanics age 65 and over to experience a hospital admission due to uncontrolled diabetes.
Under the new collaboration, the organizations will work with eight communities across the country with high concentrations of Hispanic seniors to implement a new ADA-certified recognized program specifically designed for Spanish-speaking individuals. The communities are: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, McAllen, Texas; Miami, New York, San Antonio and San Diego.
Johns Hopkins’ study calls for broader use of HPV vaccines
BALTIMORE A call to explore a broader use of human papillomavirus vaccines and the validation of a simple oral screening test for HPV-caused oral cancers are reported in two studies by a Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigator, the medical center announced Nov. 3.
Leading HPV expert Maura Gillison, the first to identify HPV infection as the cause of certain oral cancers and who identified multiple sex partners as the most important risk factor for these cancers, reports her latest work in the Nov. 3 journal Clinical Cancer Research and in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monograph. The CDC report on HPV-associated cancers appears online Nov. 3 and in the Nov. 15 supplement edition of Cancer.
In the CDC report, Gillison found approximately 20,000 cases of cancer in the United States each year are caused by HPV infection. Oral cancers are the second most common type of HPV-associated cancers and are increasing in incidence in the United States, particularly among men. Add to that anal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers that also are linked to HPV infection, and Gillison says these cancers, when combined, equal the number of cervical cancers, the most common and well known of the cancers caused by HPV.
While about one-quarter of HPV-linked cancers occur in men, vaccines currently are approved only for use in girls and young women for cervical cancer prevention. “We need to have a more comprehensive discussion of the potential impact the HPV vaccine could have on cancer rates among men and women in this country,” commented Gillison, associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Currently available HPV vaccines have the potential to reduce the rates of HPV-associated cancers, like oral and anal cancers, that are currently on the rise and for which there no effective or widely-applied screening programs.” Gillison noted, however, that studies are needed to confirm that the vaccine effectively prevents HPV infections that lead to oral and anal cancers.