PHARMACY

Study: Drug interactions may be imminent among antidepressant users

BY Allison Cerra

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Many older Americans prescribed antidepressants may be taking medication that could adversely interact with the antidepressant, a new study found.

The Thomson Reuters study — sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis and published in the American Journal for Geriatric Psychiatry — found that there are more challenges in prescribing antidepressants to older Americans. Among 39,512 new antidepressant users ages 65 years and older, 25.4% were prescribed antidepressants and another medication that could cause a major interaction, while an additional 36.1% had potential moderate interactions. The remaining 38.5% of respondents had minor or no interactions.

What’s more, the study found, the likelihood that users would have to switch antidepressants because of adverse interactions between medications was 19.5%. Many side effects reported by patients included insomnia, somnolence and drowsiness.

"We found a concerning degree of potentially harmful drug combinations being prescribed to seniors. These findings reinforce the need for clinicians to be aware of potential drug-drug interactions and the importance of close patients monitoring," said Tami Mark, the paper’s lead author and director of analytic strategies at Thomson Reuters.

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PHARMACY

Phil Keough appointed EVP, COO at Millennium Pharmacy Systems

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Millennium Pharmacy Systems on Friday announced the appointment of Phil Keough as EVP and COO.

"Millennium’s innovative and cost-effective medication management approach offers critically needed solutions to the long-term care market,” Keough said. “By eliminating drug waste, enhancing administrative processes and improving patient safety, Millennium is changing the face of pharmacy solutions in the marketplace.”

A 20-year pharmacy operations veteran, Keough most recently led Keoco, a consulting practice specializing in high-growth, early-stage pharmacy industry businesses. Prior to that, Keough led all pharmacy operations for CVS and later Rite Aid. Keough holds a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Auburn University.

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Frank Baldino, Cephalon leader, dies at 57

BY Alaric DeArment

FRAZER, Pa. — Frank Baldino, the founder, chairman and CEO of Cephalon, has died, the company said.

Cephalon announced that Baldino, 57, had died Thursday evening while on medical leave, calling him a pioneer in the biotechnology industry and an inspirational leader who would be “sorely missed.” Baldino, who received his doctorate in pharmacology from Temple University, founded the company in 1987 after several years at E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co.

Cephalon spokesman Fritz Bittenbender said the company would not comment on who would take Baldino’s place out of respect for Baldino’s family, though COO Kevin Buchi had been overseeing his duties. The company had not publicly discussed Baldino’s leave of absence and would not disclose the cause of death.

“Kevin’s shown extraordinary leadership through the tough period of time for us, and his leadership will continue into the near future,” Bittenbender told Drug Store News.

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