HEALTH

Study finds patients that have dry mouth use multiple medications

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE Approximately 91% of dentists report that patients who are complaining about dry mouth are taking multiple medications, according to a nationwide member survey conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry released Thursday.

“The number of [dry mouth] xerostomia cases has increased greatly over time because people are taking more and more medications,” stated Cindy Kleiman, who presented the study. “General dentists are seeing this trend in their offices, which is why they are trying to learn all they can about this condition. The more they know, the better they will be at diagnosing and treating patients.”

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is caused by a decrease in salivary function. It affects approximately one in four Americans, placing more than 25% of people at risk for tooth decay. There are more than 400 prescription and non-prescription drugs associated with xerostomia, according to Raymond Martin, a dentist. “Anti-depressants, painkillers, diuretics, antihistamines, tranquilizers and anti-hypersensitives can all contribute to dry mouth,” he said. “People who take several of these medications are more susceptible.”

As indicated by the AGD survey, the most common symptoms reported by patients include constant thirst and difficulty eating, swallowing or speaking. Foamy or stringy saliva, irritation of the tongue, burning of the tissues inside the mouth, painful ulcerations and dentin hypersensitivity (extreme sensitivity in one or more teeth) are also dry mouth symptoms. Over time, xerostomia sufferers may experience extensive tooth decay, tooth loss or gingivitis due to the lack of saliva.

Out of the nearly 500 general dentists who responded, 89% believe prescription medications are the primary contributor to dry mouth. Aging, dehydration and salivary gland disease were also cited as major contributors. Approximately 68% of the dentists said constant thirst is the most common symptom communicated by patients; 44% said patients have difficulty eating, swallowing or speaking. More than 92% reported that patients attempt to increase salivary production by drinking water; less than 58% reported patients tried taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes, chewing sugar free gum or sucking on hard candy.

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Twinlab announces its 2009 Mobile Beach Bash Celebration

BY Anna Mcgrath

GALVESTON, Texas Twinlab is kicking off its 2009 Mobile Beach Bash Celebration July 11.

The celebration will coincide with the company’s rateyourabs.com contest for a chance to win a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The 10-stop beach tour will begin in Galveston, Texas and continue along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to celebrate this summer’s best beach abs.

The event will feature music, models and plenty of product sales, including Twinlab’s ultimate six-pack helper, Ripped Fuel 5x.

“Twinlab’s Ripped Fuel products are all about helping people get the lean, defined bodies they’ve always wanted, and there’s no better place to show off their success than the beach,” said Marc Stover, director of marketing, ISI Brands/Twinlab. “We ran a similar contest last year with enormous success. This year, we upped the ante and decided to take the party to some of the hottest beaches in the country to find that perfect six-pack.”

Contest entry forms and camera will also be on hand for those wishing to enter. Voting will take place at www.rateyourabs.com through September 13.

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NCPA announces new FSA service

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced a new service — the FSAok AutoCopay — that enables community pharmacies to continue serving patients who use flexible spending account debit cards within new IRS regulations.

As of July 1, those regulations precluded customers from using their FSA debit card at drug store retailers that had not secured an Inventory Information Approval System, a point-of-sale system that’s able to identify eligible health care FSA purchases by comparing the purchased items’ UPC or SKU number against a pre-established list of eligible items; keep a separate total for the eligible items; and charge the FSA card only for the eligible items total, and request another form of payment for any remaining items.

“We were pleased late last year when, after meeting with NCPA, the Internal Revenue Service extended the deadline [for the new requirement] from January 1 to July 1, 2009,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “During that time, NCPA responded to the needs of our members by collaborating with Finpago’s FSAok AutoCopay service to offer a low-cost solution requiring no special software or POS system so that they can continue to serve their patients’ with FSA accounts with an automated copayment claims service and real time substantiation of eligible over-the counter transactions.”

For pharmacies without point of sale systems, AutoCopay makes it possible to accept payment from patients who use FSA debit cards in accordance to IRS regulations.

“The average pharmacy sells more than $60,000 per year to customers with flexible spending account debit cards,” stated Finpago CEO Fred Hawkins.

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