Primary sclerosing cholangitis treatment proves ineffective, Mayo Clinic says
ROCHESTER, Minn. A national team of researchers led by scientists at Mayo Clinic has found that a common treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver disease, is not helpful for patients, according to a study published this month in the journal Hepatology.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease of the bile ducts. In this case, the term “cholangitis” refers to inflammation of the bile ducts, while “sclerosing” describes the hardening and scarring of the bile ducts that result from chronic inflammation.
“Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a serious liver disease lacking an effective medical therapy,” stated Keith Lindor, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and the study’s lead researcher. “Some studies have shown that the use of ursodeoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring bile acid, may be a potential solution for patients. Our research, however, showed long-term use of this treatment in high dosages is not suitable for patients.”
In this six-year, multicenter trial, 150 patients were enrolled in the study to determine the effectiveness of ursodeoxycholic acid in treatment of PSC. Seventy-six patients were treated with higher doses (28 to 30 mg/kg/day) of UDCA and 74 patients were given a placebo. Serious adverse events were more common in the UDCA group than the placebo group, which prompted researchers to halt the study. UDCA has been thought to be a possible treatment solution for PSC patients, but this trial indicates that the drug, used at this higher dose, is not helpful.
“All of us were surprised that the higher doses of UDCA did not help; in fact, the risk of developing even more liver problems increased with the higher dosages,” Lindor said. “While this was thought to be the best potential treatment for PSC, our study found that not to be the case.”
Lindor says that patients who are currently on higher doses of UDCA should consult with their doctors. He also points out that these study findings highlight the need for more research to look into better treatment options for PSC.
PSC most often affects people in their 30s to 50s. The average age at diagnosis is 40. However, the condition can arise in childhood. About 60% to 75% percent of people diagnosed with the disease are men. Approximately 70% of people with PSC have an associated disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, gallbladder disease and bile duct cancer or cholangiocarcinoma. However, only 1% to 5% of people with inflammatory bowel disease have PSC.
Walgreens announces Pharmacy Management Excellence program with Caterpillar
The news that Walgreens has reached an agreement with Caterpillar to help the company curb healthcare costs for its 70,000 employees, retirees and eligible dependents is one more indicator that the private sector cannot wait for healthcare reform and that pharmacy retailers are taking a greater role on the front lines of health care.
As explained in the article, Walgreens, through its Pharmacy Management Excellence program, will make transparent the prescription drug-pricing model, in turn, eliminating unnecessary and hidden costs for Caterpillar.
Walgreens and Caterpillar are also exploring, through Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, other ways to develop an integrated health care and pharmacy program. The Complete Care and Well-Being program combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with the discount drug offering
By leveraging its resources, Walgreens is positioning itself along the frontlines of the healthcare and sending the message that retail pharmacy is helping to drive healthcare reform and is a critical player in improving employees’ health and well-being.
As previously mentioned by Drug Store News, the more the private sector leads the way on this, the more likely that reform will work for them, as well as the rest of America.
MedImmune launches ‘Don’t Play with the Flu’ campaign
NEW YORK MedImmune, Women’s Professional Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization last week launched the “Don’t Play with the Flu” campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of getting a seasonal influenza vaccination every year. The program kicked off with soccer legends Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.
“‘Don’t Play with the Flu’ reflects MedImmune’s commitment to supporting healthy families,” stated Tony Zook, president of MedImmune. “We’re very pleased to partner with Women’s Professional Soccer, the American Youth Soccer Organization, and of course Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, to bring this important preventive health message to families across the country this flu season.”
“We know a vaccine is the best way to help protect ourselves from the flu, so my family and I get a seasonal flu vaccine as soon as we can every year,” stated Hamm. “That way we can concentrate on all the other things we regularly do to stay healthy on and off the field and in our busy lives.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the best way families can help prevent the seasonal flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year for those individuals who are eligible to receive it. The CDC recommends that children 6 months through 18 years of age be vaccinated annually against seasonal flu and that eligible individuals be immunized as soon as the seasonal vaccine becomes available, which can be as early as August and September.
“Along with all the things that parents know are important for helping keep their kids healthy — like washing hands and getting enough sleep — influenza vaccination should be at the top of the list. It’s a smart defense to help protect our kids and our families from seasonal flu,” stated Anat Feingold, a pediatric infectious disease expert. “And because kids can spread the flu, including at school, it’s important that parents ask about an annual flu vaccine as soon as it is available. Back-to-school and sports physicals can be the perfect opportunity.”
The campaign offers families information, resources, and updates through DontPlaywiththeFlu.com, including interactive content, a quiz about seasonal flu and educational information. The campaign also aims to educate families about the importance of seasonal flu vaccination for eligible individuals through informational brochures at WPS stadiums, media events and soccer clinics in WPS franchise cities, and directly to AYSO members and families around the country.
As a part of the campaign, MedImmune has become a sponsor of WPS, the world’s premier women’s professional soccer league, and AYSO, a nationwide nonprofit youth soccer organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs to approximately 600,000 players. MedImmune was the presenting sponsor of the 2009 WPS Championship in Los Angeles Aug. 22, and will also present the “Defender of the Year” award at the WPS All-Star Game in St. Louis on Aug. 30.