PHARMACY

Flu shots may help prevent blood clots, report says

BY Jenna Duncan

DALLAS New reports have said that getting a flu shot may help fight blood clots in some patients. Research released by the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008 showed that getting a flu shot cut the chance of formation of clots in veins by 26 percent.

The study followed 1,454 patients around the average age of 52 years from 11 medical centers in France. The study compared 727 patients who had no personal history of cancer within the last five years, but who had experienced a blood clot episode against patients of the same age and sex who had not experienced a venous thrombotic embolism.

The researchers found that those who received the flu shot over the age of years experiences more protection from VTE—48 percent less—than those patients younger than 52 years of age. Women under 51 who received the flu shot were 50 percent less likely to experience VTE, the report said.

Joseph Emmerich, lead author of the study and professor of vascular medicine at the University Paris Descartes, was quoted by the online journal ScienceDaily: “Our study suggests for the first time that vaccination against influenza may reduce the risk of venous thrombotic embolism [blood clot in a vein],” he said. “This protective effect was more pronounced before the age of 52 years.”

Blood clots are dangerous because of the risk that they can break loose and travel to the right side of the heart or go on to the lungs and result in a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal, reports said.

The American Heart Association recommends getting flu shots annually. Reports have shown that cardiovascular disease patients are more likely to die from influenza than patients with other chronic illnesses. However, cardiovascular disease patients should avoid getting the nasal-spray flu vaccination, reports said.

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PHARMACY

Jewel-Osco extends Prescription Plus offerings for more customers to get flu shots

BY Alaric DeArment

ITASCA, Ill. A retail pharmacy chain is reminding patients to use their prescription medications properly and get vaccinated despite the difficult economy.

Jewel-Osco Pharmacy will extend its Prescription Plus Rewards Programs through Jan. 31, allowing frequent pharmacy customers to save money on groceries. The program offers customers a 10 percent discount coupon for every five prescriptions they fill at the pharmacy using a discount card.

“As pharmacists, our foremost concern is helping our patients comply with their prescribed medication therapies,” Jewel-Osco vice president for pharmacy operations Tom Rousonelos said. “We’re extending the length of Prescription Plus in response to a real need our pharmacy customers tell us they have for the continuous opportunities to reduce their grocery bills through this program.”

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FDA approves Aurobindo’s generic version of Zoloft

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Aurobindo’s application for sertraline hydrochloride oral concentrate, FDA records show.

The drug is a generic version of Pfizer’s antidepressant Zoloft. Roxane and Ranbaxy also offer generic versions.

The FDA approved sertraline hydrochloride tablets from Aurobindo in February 2007. The oral concentrate formulation received approval on Oct. 31.

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