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Study: Long-term use of linagliptin among Type 2 diabetics is effective

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Extended use of the oral DPP-4 inhibitor linagliptin to lower blood-glucose levels by Type 2 diabetes patients is effective, according to a new study.

A team of eight researchers — four of which work for drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim — examined 2,121 Type 2 diabetes patients that had taken part in four previous 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in order to monitor them for a further 78 weeks. The participants who took part in the extended trial came from 231 sites in 32 countries.

In an effort to measure the effective of linagliptin as a monotherapy or in combination with other selected oral antidiabetic medications, subjects who had previously received linagliptin (1,532) continued to do so and those who had received the placebo during the earlier trials (589) also were given the drug during the 78-week trial extension. Linagliptin was administered orally once a day in all cases, either on its own, or in combination with metformin or metformin plus a sulphonylurea or pioglitazone.

"Initial 24-week trials showed that linagliptin, either on its own or with other glucose-lowering agents, was effective in improving glycaemic control without weight gain or an independent increased risk of hypoglycemia," said co-author David Owens, professor emeritus and the Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes Sciences at Cardiff University in Wales. "Linagliptin works by blocking the action of DPP-4, an enzyme that destroys the hormone GLP-1, which helps the body produce more insulin when it is needed."

The researchers found that long-term treatment with linagliptin was well-tolerated with no change in the safety profile observed during the extension study. Those that received linagliptin in the previous studies saw a reduction of 0.8% in their HbA1C levels. Additionally, sustained long-term glycemic control was maintained for up to 102 weeks with either linagliptin monotherapy or linagliptin in combination with other oral glucose-lowering agents. The study findings were published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

"Findings from the 78-week open-label extension involving 2,121 people with Type 2 diabetes demonstrate sustained glycemic control for up to 102 weeks treatment duration," Owens said. "They also provide evidence that supports the efficacy and tolerability profile seen in previously reported 24-week studies. Therefore this extension study shows that linagliptin is an effective and well tolerated therapy for the long-term management of Type 2 diabetes."


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Pharmacists, retail clinicians have role to play in stopping pertussis epidemic

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — With pertussis rising at alarming rates across the country, now is a better time than ever for pharmacists to step in and do their part to quash the epidemic.

(THE NEWS: "CDC: National pertussis rates are on the rise." For the full story, click here.)

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, once was a deadly scourge for children in the United States, but vaccinations have long helped keep it under control. Now, states like Washington are seeing rates reminiscent of the 1940s.

This has prompted efforts to curb the epidemic on the part of health authorities and retail pharmacy chains, but one important link that’s often missing is getting adults vaccinated. According to a Harris Interactive survey conducted in May 2012 on behalf of the Sounds of Pertussis Campaign, a joint initiative by March of Dimes and Sanofi Pasteur, most parents aren’t asking adults close to their children to get adult whooping cough booster vaccines.

While the survey found that 83% of parents with children ages 2 years and younger considered vaccination important for adults in contact with infants and young children, only 19% reported asking friends and family in close contact with their children to get an adult pertussis vaccination. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 10% of adults reported receiving an adult pertussis vaccine.

This is an area in which pharmacists and retail clinicians can be especially helpful, given their accessibility to the broader community. Because most retail pharmacists can now deliver vaccinations, they can prominently advertise pertussis vaccinations in stores and urge customers to get them. The Harris Interactive poll found that 61% of parents said they would feel awkward asking a family member or caregiver to get an adult pertussis vaccine, but pharmacists carry more authority on matters related to health, and they may have an easier time talking adults into getting vaccinated.

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GNC elects president, CEO to chairman of the company’s board

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC Holdings on Friday elected company president and CEO Joseph Fortunato to serve as chairman. The board also has appointed Michael Hines to serve as lead independent director.

Fortunato succeeds Norman Axelrod, who has resigned as chairman. Axelrod had been a member of the GNC board since March 2007.

"We would like to thank Norman for his distinguished service as [chairman]," Fortunato stated. "Norman’s strong and dedicated leadership has been instrumental in guiding the company through a pivotal transition period, including a successful IPO, and in shaping the strategic vision that has positioned GNC for continued growth in the near- and long-term future."

GNC expects to announce a replacement for Axelrod’s seat on the board shortly, the company stated.


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