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Study: OTC analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs may also help with depression

BY Michael Johnsen

AARHUS, Denmark — Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be effective in the treatment of people suffering from depression, according to a meta-analysis published Tuesday by a research group from Aarhus University in the American scientific journal JAMA Psychiatry. The meta-analysis is based on 14 international studies with a total of 6,262 patients who either suffered from depression or had individual symptoms of depression.
 
In recent years research has demonstrated a correlation between depression and physical illnesses, such as painful conditions or infections in the individual patient.
 
"The meta-analysis supports this correlation and also demonstrates that anti-inflammatory medication in combination with antidepressants can have an effect on the treatment of depression. When combined they give an important result which, in the long term, strengthens the possibility of being able to provide the individual patient with more personalized treatment options," stated Ole Köhler, who is first author of the scientific article and a member of the research group from Aarhus University."However, these effects must always be weighed against the possible side effects of the anti-inflammatory drugs. We still need to clarify which patients will benefit from the medicine and the dose-sizes required," he said. "The biggest problem with depression is that we do not know the causes that trigger the condition in the individual patient. Some studies suggest that the choice of antidepressant medication can be guided by a blood sample that measures whether there is an inflammatory condition in the body. Other studies show that the same blood samples could be used as a guideline on whether a depressive patient can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs that works better when there is inflammation present simultaneously with the depression. These findings must, however, be verified before they can be implemented in clinical practice." 
 
Köhler emphasized that it is not possible to conclude on the basis of the meta-analysis that an inflammatory state can be the sole explanation for a depression. "The analysis should be seen as a significant milestone in a research context and this could be a landmark for what future research projects and treatment need to focus on," he said.
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HRG posts ’99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy’ blog series

BY Michael Johnsen

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group on Tuesday announced its 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy blog series. 99 Ways offers actionable ideas for community pharmacies to implement that can improve store operations and refresh the customer experience.
 
The short-format blog series is written by the company’s team of independent pharmacy experts and includes viewpoints from category analysts, pricing analysts, operational experts, customer service professionals, marketers and business development managers. Blog posts vary by topic and can be read quickly, offering actionable suggestions that pharmacists can easily implement in their stores to improve the patients experience, build customer loyalty and strengthen operations. 
 
Additionally, HRG is offering pharmacists a free, downloadable poster listing all 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy topics that pharmacists can retrieve from the company’s website to post in-store or share with staff.
 
“The convenient, short format of the blog makes it easy for busy pharmacists to quickly enjoy the posts and come away inspired, armed with practical ideas that can improve their businesses,” stated Tom Boyer, director of national accounts and member of the owner’s group.
 
99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy will continue to be updated with one-to-two new posts per week into 2015. To explore the blog or to subscribe to receive new posts directly to your inbox, visit Hamacher.com/99ways.
 
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Industry efforts help reduce cough-cold medication errors in children

BY Michael Johnsen

COLUMBUS, Ohio — According to Nationwide Children's Hospital researchers, 63,000 children under the age of six years experienced out-of-hospital medication errors annually between 2002 and 2012. One child is affected every eight minutes, usually by a well-meaning parent or caregiver unintentionally committing a medication error.
 
However, in a study published Monday in the jounral Pediatrics, researchers found that medication errors among cough-and-cold medications decreased signficantly. Analgesics (25.2%) were most commonly involved in medication errors, followed by cough-and-cold preparations (24.6%). Ingestion accounted for 96.2% of events, and 27% of medication errors were attributed to inadvertently taking or being given medication twice. 
 
"This is more common than people may realize," said Huiyun Xiang, director of the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital and senior author of the study. "We found that younger children are more apt to experience error than older children, with children under age one accounting for 25% of incidents." 
 
"There are public health strategies being used to decrease the frequency and severity of medication errors among young children," said Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and co-author of the study. "Product packaging needs to be redesigned in a way that provides accurate dosing devices and instructions, and better labeling to increase visibility to parents."
 
“The makers of over-the-counter medicines are encouraged to see that voluntary label changes to children’s cough and cold products have contributed to a reduction in medication errors in this category, and we remain committed to continuing our efforts to prevent all medication errors,” stated Scott Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
 
In 2007, members of CHPA voluntarily withdrew infant cough and cold products and added further voluntary label changes in 2008 for use only in children ages 4 and older. The organization also launched educational programming to communicate the changes.
 
“Through the CHPA Educational Foundation, we work with government agencies and healthcare professional groups to remind parents of young children to always read and follow the label and to store medicines up and away and out of sight," Melville said. "Reading and following the label and using the proper dosing device that comes with the medicine are key steps parents and caregivers should always take to ensure they treat their children with care."
 
In recent years, the industry has made additional efforts to reduce medication errors. In mid-2011, CHPA members voluntarily transitioned to one concentration of single-ingredient pediatric liquid acetaminophen. At the same, the industry standardized the dosing unit of measurement and provided age-appropriate dosing devices in all packages.
 
"Since the Pediatrics study includes data compiled from 2002 to 2012, we have yet to see how the pediatric acetaminophen changes have helped reduce medication errors," Melville said. "We have also filed a citizen’s petition calling on FDA to require manufacturers to include age- and weight-based dosing directions on the label for infants as young as 6 months. Unfortunately, the approved label today only directs caregivers to consult a doctor for children under age 2.”
 
 
 
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