PHARMACY

Infants receive GERD medication more often than necessary, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease are frequently overtreated in infants, according to a new study by researchers in Michigan and Missouri.

The study, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that doctors often diagnose such common symptoms in infants as crying and spitting up as disease, and frequent diagnoses of GERD can lead to overuse of medications to treat it, said the researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Missouri.

"As doctors, we need to appreciate that the words we use when talking with patients and parents have power — the power to make a normal process seem like a disease," University of Michigan professor of pediatrics Beth Tarini said. "As pediatricians, our job is to make sick children healthy, not to make healthy children sick."

The researchers surveyed parents at a pediatric clinic in Michigan about how they would respond in a hypothetical scenario: An infant is crying and spitting up but appears otherwise healthy, and the doctor either gives a diagnosis of GERD or gives none. Half the parents also were told that existing medications are probably ineffective, while the rest are not given information about medication effectiveness.

The researchers found that parents who received a GERD diagnosis were interested in giving their infants medication, even when told the medications were ineffective. Those not given a disease label only expressed interest in prescriptions when the doctor did not discuss whether or not the medication was effective.

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PHARMACY

Winners of contest to spur interest in pharmacy, STEM careers for high school students announced

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Three high school seniors from Topeka, Kan., won a contest that sponsors hope will lead to better health outcomes while also getting young people interested in pharmacy careers.

The winners of the inaugural Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge, all students at Topeka’s Seaman High School, designed a means to improve medication adherence by equipping medications with a micro-sensor and camera. The contest, which included 14 teams of more than 60 high school students from across the country, is sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and OptumRx.

The winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington that includes a special reception at APhA headquarters with professional pharmacists and leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

"We created the Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge to give high school students a true glimpse into the broad opportunities that pharmacy and other STEM fields can offer," OptumRx SVP professional practice and pharmacy policy and contest advisory board chairman John Jones said. "We also want to tap the imaginative potential of these young students. Our goal is to reach students, particularly young people form underserved and underrepresented communities early in their education to engage the next generation of STEM and pharmacy leaders."

The second- and third-place winners included another team from Seaman High School and one from Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Fla. Each member of those teams will receive an iPad Mini

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FDA approves new Teva contraceptive

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new contraceptive therapy made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva said Monday.

The drug maker announced the approval of Quartette (levonorgestrel, ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol) tablets. Teva said the drug represented the "next generation" of extended-regimen oral contraceptives and was designed to minimize breakthrough bleeding between scheduled periods.

"Breakthrough bleeding can be experienced with any birth control pill, especially during the first few months, and is one of the reasons a large number of women discontinue extended regimens," George Washington School of Medicine professor of obstetrics and gynecology James Simon said in a statement on behalf of Teva. "The estrogen in Quartette increases at specific points and provides four short light periods a year. Breakthrough bleeding decreases over time, which might help encourage patient adherence."

 

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