PHARMACY

New HIV treatment guidelines call for more vaccinations and chronic disease testing, treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. — Antiretroviral drugs have allowed people with HIV to live normal life spans, but because of this, they also are susceptible to many new health complications, according to care guidelines released Thursday by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The IDSA’s HIV Medicine Association said that people with HIV have an increased risk for such common health conditions as high cholesterol and triglycerides, which can result from the infection itself, antiretroviral drug treatment or traditional risk factors like smoking and unhealthy diets. The longer lifespans of HIV patients, with an estimated 80% of patients having the virus under control, mean doctors should be more vigilant, according to the group.

"This means that HIV specialists need to provide the full spectrum of primary care to these patients, and primary care physicians need a better grasp of the impact HIV care has on routine health care," lead author of the guidelines and New York University researcher Judith Aberg said. "Doctors need to tell their HIV-infected patients, ‘Your HIV disease is controlled, and we need to think about the rest of you.’ As with primary care in general, it’s about prevention."

In particular, the guidelines include new recommendations for screening for diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as vaccinations against pneumococcal infection, influenza, varicella and hepatitis A and B. They also include information outlining interactions between specific antiretrovirals and cholesterol-lowering statins.

 

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Avella Specialty Pharmacy joins limited distribution network for Imbruvica

BY Alaric DeArment

PHOENIX — Drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics have added Avella Specialty Pharmacy to their limited-distribution network for a newly approved blood cancer drug.

Avella said Thursday that it had joined the limited-distribution network for Imbruvica (ibrutinib), which the Food and Drug Administration approved this week for mantle cell lymphoma. Avella is one of five specialty pharmacies to join the network, the company said.

"We are proud to be a specialty pharmacy provider of Imbruvica capsules, now approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with MCL," Avella VP business development Leslie Yendro said. "Avella has the ability to serve patients in all 50 states and to provide high-touch patient services and reliable product data to ensure maximum drug effectiveness."

 

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New law encourages schools to stock epinephrine for allergic reactions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — New legislation signed into law Wednesday encourages states to adopt laws allowing schools to maintain a supply of emergency treatments for life-threatening allergy attacks.

Barack Obama signed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, under which schools could maintain a supply of epinephrine, which is the only first-line treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis.

The legislation received praise from Mylan, a drug maker that produces EpiPen, a popular epinephrine injector pen.

"Recent tragedies have reinforced that when anaphylaxis occurs, every minute matters, and immediate access to epinephrine and emergency medical care is crucial," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said. "The new federal law is a critical step for improving anaphylaxis preparedness in schools. We applaud those who worked tirelessly to make this bill a reality, from Congress, government officials and leading advocacy organizers to parents, caregivers, patients and healthcare professionals."

 

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