The Weekly Roundup: Insomnia (3.9.18)

March 09, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

A sleep doctor from Virginia Mason Medical Center recently penned a step-by-step guide to curing insomnia—drug-free. Brandon R. Peters, MD, a board-certified neurologist, recommends a combination of education and cognitive behavioral therapies over a six-week program he developed at Stanford, which now runs in the Seattle-based clinic. Sleep research may be particularly important for the elderly.

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The Weekly Roundup: Shingles Patch (3.2.18)

March 02, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

This week, the FDA approved the super-sticky ZTlido, a non-opioid patch for nerve pain. The new product is expected to be a blockbuster at a time when a wide range of non-opioid treatments for chronic pain are highly sought. Sorrento Therapeutics’ ZTlido is expected to deliver relief to shingles patients more effectively than Lidoderm. Here’s a case for transdermal patches as a more effective drug delivery mechanism than oral ingestion—but they are not without their safety concerns

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

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The Weekly Roundup: Adherence for Diabetics (2.23.18)

February 23, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Understanding patient barriers to adherence is a key starting point for improving outcomes—particularly for diabetics. Those barriers come in many flavors: access, habit, health literacy, behavioral health issues, even cultural variances in how a patient views health practices and the US health system as a whole. It’s a nagging problem, as is evidenced by the continued relevance of this decade-old list of barriers and strategies for overcoming them. Hosted by Pharmacy Times magazinea panel of care providers studying collaborative care in diabetes management recently came up with this practical suggestion: explain exactly what is in an injectable, how it works, and why it is important. Then, do the first injection with a patient in the office or pharmacy.

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The Weekly Roundup: Supply Chain Challenges (2.16.18)

February 16, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

It’s safe to say that we are all in agreement: this flu season has been wretched. The supply chain for certain drugs, saline solution, and other supplies has been tight across the country following a trifecta of nasty hurricanes. Since early November, the FDA has been actively updating healthcare providers with guidance for managing the acute shortage of such products, including some specific to pharmacies.

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Plan early, plug often: Educating patients about the flu

February 14, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

It’s been another terrible week for the flu nationwide, but it's not too late to encourage flu shots for those who are still not immunized. Reports of a recent increase of influenza A subtype H1N1 and influenza B activity still make flu shots for the remainder of this flu season a safe choice, particularly for those at a high risk for complications from the flu. According to the CDC, 52.3 percent of adults aged 50–64 and 28.5 percent of adults aged 65-plus do not get vaccinated for the flu. In years like this one, where a somewhat lower vaccine strain efficacy is publicized extensively, the pharmacist’s counselling role becomes even more challenging than usual.

As you plan your flu order for the year, it makes sense to think about how you will educate and encourage patients to become vaccinated. When you do, consider the following:

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The Weekly Roundup: Flu Season (2.9.18)

February 09, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

The 2017–2018 flu season has been notably challenging with outbreaks still not at their peak and increased hospitalization rates up to 60 per 100,000 people in the United States. The CDC reported outpatient visits for flu-like illness as being significantly higher than the national baseline. In fact, it’s being touted as the worst season since the swine flu pandemic nearly a decade ago in 2009. Influenza A subtype H3N2 has dominated recent reports, impacting especially older adults.

In January, New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency and  signed an executive order enabling pharmacists to immunize children between the ages of two and 16...

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It's time to order your flu shots!

February 09, 2018 | Jeremy Johnson

We’ve previously tried to drive home the importance of ordering vaccines as early as possible—and, believe it or not, that time is now. Remember: first-ordered, first-delivered. The production, testing, and distribution timeline for vaccine manufacturers is tight, and if anything goes awry, you can expect market shortages or delays. For that reason, it also makes sense to split your order among multiple manufactures. 

When pre-booking your flu vaccines for next season, here are a few additional things to consider: 

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The Weekly Roundup: Cybersecurity (2.2.18)

January 31, 2018 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Last year, one of the largest cybersecurity attacks to date pummeled 150 countries. No one is completely safe—including pharmacies, which collect a substantial amount of personal information on patients. The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed and continues to refine a framework for protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattack that can provide even small businesses guidance: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

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