USC researchers find link between GERD, obesity
LOS ANGELES Researchers at the University of Southern California determined that obesity is a contributing factor in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, according to a Los Angeles Times report published Aug. 13.
“Everyone knows that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are related to obesity, but the strength of the relationship with GERD is every bit as strong or perhaps even stronger,” the authors of the study, Shahin Ayazi and Peter Crookes, told the Times.
The study is published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery.
Medication adherence report reveals need for patient-specific interventions
NEW YORK Boehringer Ingelheim has done a major service to the industry with the release of this report. Closing the gap on patient compliance and adherence remains not only the best opportunity for retail pharmacy to grow the business at a time of waning big blockbuster drug introductions and continued pressure from generic competition, but also represents the best opportunity for this industry to “show what it’s got,” as the entire nation turn its attention to health reform.
Hundreds of billions of healthcare dollars are spent needlessly as a result of people not taking their medications as they are supposed to, to say nothing of the toll it’s taking on patient outcomes.
Reading between the lines here, one of the big reasons behind non-compliance could very well be the state of the economy. A public opinion poll of 1,025 adults conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in mid-July found that 49% of Americans are still taking cost-cutting measures when it comes to their healthcare: 33% are shifting to medicines available over-the-counter in favor of a doctor’s visit; 21% skipped a doctor-recommended medical test or treatment because of cost; and 15% cut prescription doses in half or skipped doses in an effort to stretch their medicines. And taking those kinds of cost-cutting measures — saving a co-pay today but risking an emergency room visit tomorrow — only helps to amplify the important role a pharmacist can play in helping their patients navigate cost-saving strategies in an effort to maintain/boost compliance.
“All of those things…are happening,” Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Drug Store News in the fall following a similar Kaiser survey, and its cutting deeper than just the working poor, he said. Patients who would fall into lower- and middle-income status are making similar cost-cutting decisions.
Also already happening is that pharmacist interceding on the patient’s behalf to help mitigate prescription-drug costs. “We’ve found that physicians were particularly receptive to calling on a patient’s behalf and giving suggestions on how that patient could save money, especially if it was a matter of a patient either not taking that medication at all or taking something [else] to address their condition,” Douglas Hoey, SVP and COO for the National Community Pharmacy Association, told Drug Store News this past fall.
Study: Stomach bugs increase risk of IBD
NEW YORK Diarrheal disease may increase a person’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, according to a study published in Gastroenterology.
IBD refers to a group of conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, marked by chronic inflammation in the intestines, leading to such symptoms as abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Henrik Nielsen, M.D., from Aarhaus University Hospital in Aalborg, Denmark, and colleagues reported in the latest issue of the journal that over the course of 7.5 years, IBD was diagnosed for the first time in far more gastroenteritis patients 1.2% of patients were diagnosed with IBD, compared with 0.5% of healthy control subjects.
Nielsen and colleagues compared the risks of IBD between 13,148 patients with documented gastroenteritis caused by salmonella or campylobacter and 26,216 uninfected controls.
Stomach bug patients had nearly a threefold increased risk of developing IBD over the entire study period, and nearly a twofold increased risk in the first year after infection.