HEALTH

Fat-rich diet may reduce epileptic seizures, according to study

BY Alaric DeArment

MILWAUKEE Most parents would not let their children eat a lot of whipping cream, vegetable oil and butter, but a new study shows that diet rich in those might benefit children with epilepsy.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and appearing in the November issue of the journal Epileptica, indicates that a ketogenic diet might limit seizures.

According to a recent study of 43 patients at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin that has yet to be published, the approach has been effective. But, the researchers cautioned, the diet would require close supervision by healthcare professionals.

“This diet cannot be tried by parents without close medical management and follow-up,” lead study author and MWC professor of pediatrics Mary Zupanc said.

Of the children who started on the ketogenic diet between 2002 and 2006, half had a reduction in seizure frequency by more than 90% and had improved brain functioning. Most of the children who responded to the diet had either the most common form of epilepsy or a severe form called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

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OTC sales up 2.4%

BY Drug Store News Team

A 2.4% growth rate across nonprescription medicines certainly speaks volumes to the value of self-care, especially when you put that growth into a little bit of context — sales of prescription medicines only climbed 1.3% in 2008, according to IMS Health. To be sure, the prescription drug dollar volume may be some 15 times greater than that of OTC, but it certainly supports the conclusions of a February Kaiser Family Foundation survey — that 35% of consumers “relied on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs instead of going to see a doctor.”

 

Private-label OTC medicines were tracking 8.2% higher as compared with 2007, which speaks to the value of that self-care in a depressed economy. So not only is the out-of-work, healthcare-crunched consumer selecting lower cost nonprescription treatments over the co-pays of their doctor visits and three-tiered prescription drug plans, but they’re also reaching right past the branded option for the cheaper national brand equivalent.

 

 

So what does it mean? It means pharmacists need to be aware of this economically-driven trend so that they can a) better advise their patients as to appropriate OTC solutions, and b) help their patients identify less-costly prescriptions, generics for example, when those OTC substitutions may be less than ideal.

 

 

And it means now, more than ever, OTC manufacturers need to focus on innovative product introductions, and soon. Because as important as private label penetration is to a retailer, store brands don’t drive top line sales.

 

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Influenza activity continues to decline

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The 2008/2009 cold and flu season is nearing its end, as influenza activity continued to decline and for the second straight week remained below the national baseline of illness activity.

For the week ended April 4, 1.6% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to influenza-like illness. The national baseline is 2.4%.

Only Alabama, New York, Virginia and Washington are still reporting widespread influenza activity, meaning that there is evidence of recent influenza activity in at least half of the regions across the state. That compares to 13 states reporting widespread activity in the week prior. Eighteen states have reported regional activity (influenza evident in less than half but more than one region); and 20 states have reported local activity (one region).

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