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Novo Nordisk educates diabetics with e-books

BY Alaric DeArment

BAGSVAERD, Denmark — Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk has launched a five-
volume series of e-books designed to help patients work with their healthcare providers to better manage their diabetes.


The series is part of the Cornerstones4Care patient-support program launched earlier this year, and the books will be available at such e-book sites as iBooks, Reader Store, the Nook Book Store and Free-eBooks.net toward the end of this year.


“With an increasing demand for e-books, we saw an opportunity to share our existing diabetes education book series in a new and innovative format that meets the changing technology needs of today’s patient,” Novo Nordisk corporate VP diabetes marketing Camille Lee said.

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New drugs offer hope for better diabetes treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

The recent film “Contagion” depicts the world descending to chaos due to the spread of an extremely deadly virus. But in reality, one of the most serious epidemics doesn’t come from an infectious agent but from people’s life choices.


Diabetes currently affects 26 million people in the United States, with Type 2 diabetes making up the bulk of the epidemic and expected to exact tremendous costs to the U.S. economy as it expands over the next several decades. But while healthier lifestyles ultimately are the best way to combat the Type 2 diabetes epidemic, a number of companies are developing drugs to treat it.


Among these is dapagliflozin, a treatment developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. “Physicians are enthusiastic about this drug’s novel mechanism of action — the drug promotes urinary excretion of excess glucose — because it carries a very low risk of hypoglycemia, even when used in combination with other antidiabetic drugs, and causes modest amounts of weight loss,” said Decision Resources analyst Christine Helliwell, noting that hypoglycemia often is a limiting side effect of diabetes drugs. 


But whether the drug will receive approval remains in doubt, as a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended against its approval in July, raising the possibility that the FDA might decline to approve it. However, this wouldn’t be the end of the road, as there may still be steps that BMS and AstraZeneca can take to win approval.


Novo Nordisk is developing the long-acting insulin analogue degludec, which Helliwell said may be more suitable for elderly or fragile patients due to its lower risk of hypoglycemia. Meanwhile, Bydureon (exenatide), a long-acting version of the Type 2 diabetes drug Byetta — made by Eli Lilly, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Alkermes — is expected to do well.


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Caregivers likely to be nonadherent

BY DSN STAFF

About half of people who provide care and support to loved ones said they are more likely to be nonadherent to their own personal medication regimen than to neglect providing medications to those they are caring for, according to a study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and CVS Caremark. Given this, there’s a significant opportunity for pharmacists and doctors to identify and work with caregivers to improve medication adherence and chronic disease management.


For the study, published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, the research team conducted an online survey of 2,000 retail pharmacy customers of which 38%, or 762 respondents, described themselves as caregivers. Of that group:


  • 45% said they somewhat or strongly agreed that they are more likely to forget to take their own medications, even though they provide family members with their medicines; and


  • When comparing caregivers with noncaregivers, caregivers said they are 10% more likely to forget taking their medicines, 11% are likely to stop taking their medications if they feel better and 13% said they are likely to forget to fill their refills.


More than 65 million Americans describe themselves as caregivers, and as the U.S. population ages, that number is expected to grow.

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