PHARMACY

Study: Despite understanding flu’s seriousness, misconceptions remain

BY Alaric DeArment

BETHESDA, Md. — Only a quarter of respondents to a new survey would call a doctor for advice when someone at home has the flu, despite widespread recognition of it as serious and of the need for vaccination.

The study, conducted by the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, found that 93% of adults understand the flu is serious, while 87% understand it’s highly contagious, and 66% understand the need for vaccination. The study included a national survey of 1,000 adults and surveys of 500 adults in 10 states, collected between Aug. 6 and Aug. 28.

"It is reassuring that individuals recognize the importance of receiving an annual vaccination, but that’s not enough," NFID medical director Susan Rehm said. "To help keep influenza out of homes, schools and workplaces, everyone needs to get vaccinated and know to contact a doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms."

But there was confusion about when it was contagious and how to treat it. For example, 44% of respondents thought they could treat it with antibiotics, while 48% thought the flu vaccine would treat it. Meanwhile, 41% didn’t know it’s contagious before symptoms start, and 59% don’t know there are prescription drugs to treat it.

 

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Experimental AbbVie treatment regimen for hepatitis C produces 96% cure rate

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. — Nearly all patients taking an experimental treatment for hepatitis C developed by AbbVie were cured, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Announcing results of a phase-3 trial of a regimen consisting of three drugs, plus ribavirin, known as a three direct-acting-antiviral, or 3-D regimen. The trial, called SAPPHIRE-II, included 394 patients. Of those patients, 96% of those who had failed a previous treatment regimen experienced sustained virology response, or SVR, meaning they were essentially cured, after 12 weeks of treatment. A second group of 97 patients was put on placebo during the same period, and then given active treatment for 12 weeks afterward.

The 3-D regimen includes ribavirin, a common generic drug used in hepatitis C, as well as the experimental drugs ABT-450/r, ABT-267 and ABT-333.

 

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Walgreens expands preventive healthcare services to Maryland market

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Further expanding the scope of preventive healthcare services provided by its pharmacists, Walgreens as of Monday is now offering daily testing for cholesterol, blood glucose and body composition at more than 60 stores in Maryland. 

Each test also includes a free blood pressure reading and personal consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist.

“Providing convenient, affordable access to health testing services is an important part of our commitment to disease prevention and chronic care management,” stated Jon Reitz, market pharmacy director, Walgreens. “As the most accessible health care providers, our pharmacists are spending more time with patients through consultations, immunizations, medication questions or concerns, health testing and other important services to help our customers get, stay and live well.”

Tests are available to those ages 18 and over at most stores during pharmacy hours daily with no appointment necessary. 

Walgreens offers health testing daily at more than 4,100 stores in 41 states. 

Walgreens pharmacists administer tests by fingerstick. Cost for testing is:

  • Total Cholesterol – $35;
  • Blood Glucose – $20;
  • Body Composition – $15;
  • Wellness Pack: Cholesterol, Blood Glucose and Body Composition – $65; and
  • Blood pressure – free with every health test.

Test results are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the absence or presence of any health condition. Customers are encouraged to share test results with their primary care physician.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that all adults have their cholesterol levels checked at least every five years. However, adults over age 45 or with other risk factors for heart disease or stroke should talk with their primary care physician about whether more frequent testing is necessary. Walgreens total cholesterol tests include a review of triglycerides, HDL and LDL.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of U.S. adults have high cholesterol, which can significantly increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.

The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose testing every three years for people with normal levels or in good health with no risk factors. Those who are overweight and/or over age 45 should talk with their doctor about whether more frequent testing is recommended. 

The American Heart Association recommends body composition tests to detect various health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes which can increase risk for heart disease and stroke.

 

 

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