Ulcerative colitis treatment reduces need for surgery by almost half, study suggests
NEW YORK A new study led by Mayo Clinic researchers found that ulcerative colitis patients had a 41% reduction in colectomy when treated with infliximab for one year, according to a study published in the October 2009 issue of Gastroenterology.
Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the colon, is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea. Like Crohn’s disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and often lead to colectomy, or surgical removal of the colon.
In the study, 728 patients received placebo or infliximab (5 or 10 mg/kg) for 46 weeks and were monitored for hospitalization or surgical outcomes. Eighty-seven percent had complete follow-up for the endpoint of whether or not they had colectomy, while the remaining 13% of patients had follow-up for less then a year, with a median follow-up of 6.2 months in these patients. The research showed that treatment with infliximab at zero, two, six and then every 8 weeks, reduced the incidence of colectomy through 54 weeks by 41% in outpatients with moderately-to-severe active ulcerative colitis.
Infliximab is an artificial antibody that works by blocking tumor necrosis factor alpha, a chemical messenger and a key part of the immune reaction. Infliximab blocks the action of TNF alpha by preventing it from binding to its receptor in the cell.
“Our purpose in this study was to see if the use of infliximab for ulcerative colitis would reduce the need for surgery,” said William Sandborn, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and lead author of the study. “We found that treatment with infliximab reduced the need for colectomy by 41% compared to patients treated with placebo.”
Previous research has shown that infliximab therapy induced clinical remission and bowel healing for colitis patients. This new research provides more information and options for patients struggling with this difficult disease, explained Sandborn.
GNC launches ViraBLOC
PITTSBURGH GNC on Tuesday announced the launch of ViraBLOC, a clinically-tested immune defense product based on patent-pending elderberry extract from HerbalScience Group.
The latest clinical study on ViraBLOC complements other clinical studies on the immune system benefits of elderberry extract, GNC stated.
“ViraBLOC is the right product at the right time,” stated Beth Kaplan, GNC president and chief merchandising/marketing officer. “Elderberry extract has been recognized as a natural boost to the immune system for hundreds of years. What GNC has done is provide these benefits in an easy-to-take lozenge form that incorporates a clinically proven, patent-pending ingredient.”
CRN gives educational grant to Pharmacy Practice
WASHINGTON The CRN Foundation, an educational foundation formed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, on Tuesday announced it has provided an educational grant to Pharmacy Practice, a sister publication of Drug Store News, to develop a continuing education module for pharmacists around the use of dietary supplements for the second year.
“Nearly 40% of consumers from the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements cite pharmacists as a reliable source of information about supplements — second only to doctors,” stated Judy Blatman, SVP, communications, CRN. “And since nurse practitioners are often on the front lines of communication with patients and they focus on providing comprehensive, personalized health education, both nurse practitioners and pharmacists are excellent audiences to educate about the role that dietary supplements play in maintaining overall health and wellness.”
The grant will allow retail pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to receive CE credits from two different courses via on-line webinars. Drug Store News markets the program to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy schools through a series of promotional emails, postcards and advertisements placed in the publication.
The first course — “Managing Joint and Bone Health and Dietary Supplements” — was held late last week with speaker Jason Theodosakis. The second course — “Women’s Health and Dietary Supplements” — will be held in November and will feature Tori Hudson as the educator.
Similar to last year, the educational grant will also allow for continuing education programs to appear in print — however, the audience for this year’s print CE lessons will be nurse practitioners, Blatman noted. Two in-print CE lessons will run in Retail Clinician, a Drug Store News publication that reaches nurse practitioners practicing in a retail settting , with the first CE lesson being an adaptation of the 2008 in-print lesson to pharmacists, “The Regulation of Dietary Supplements,” by Annette Dickinson. This lesson ran in the August 2009 issue of Retail Clinician and will be available on-line for one year.
Hudson will also adapt her pharmacists’ webinar lesson on women’s health and dietary supplements to an in-print version for nurse practitioners. This lesson is set to run in the November 2009 issue of Retail Clinician and will also be available on-line for one year. Nurse practitioners who complete the print program will receive continuing education credit corresponding to each lesson.
“We are pleased to again have the opportunity to receive this educational grant from CRN and work with such a well-respected organization,” stated Crystal Lennartz, director, continuing education, Drug Store News. “Both pharmacists and nurse practitioners are eager for information on health and nutrition, including dietary supplements, so these programs are a great fit to keep these healthcare professionals well-informed and well-educated on the important role that dietary supplements play in overall health and wellness.”