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Weekly Summary -- March 15, 2019

Friday, Mar. 15, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Here are what Pharmacist's Briefing editors consider the most important developments for the week of March 15, 2019

Heart Care Guidelines Rarely Backed by Top-Notch Science

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Precious few treatment guidelines for heart patients are supported by the best scientific evidence, a new study shows.

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Should You Get Pills or Surgery for A-Fib?

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Many older Americans have the worrisome and potentially dangerous irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, or "a-fib," and they're typically offered medicines or a surgery called ablation to correct it.

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New Drug Could Help Those With Tough-to-Treat Cholesterol

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- People whose high cholesterol is resistant to treatment with statin drugs may soon have a new treatment option.

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Blood Test to Diagnose Heart Attacks May Not Be Foolproof

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- A blood test used to detect a heart attack may often provide some misleading results, British researchers report.

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FDA OKs Blood Pressure Drug to Ease Shortage Due to Recalls

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new generic version of the high blood pressure/heart failure drug valsartan, saying the move might help ease the current medication shortage.

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One-Third of U.S. Kids Have Back Pain, Study Says

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- As American kids pack on the pounds, the number of those with back pain is on the rise.

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Poor Asthma Control Tied to Worse School Performance

MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Kids with poorly controlled asthma struggle in school, especially those who are ethnic minorities, a new study reports.

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CDC: 2000 to 2017 Saw Increase in Mortality Due to Dementia

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Mortality attributed to dementia increased from 2000 to 2017, with variation by age, race, and sex, according to a study published online March 14 in National Vital Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Having Affected Relatives Linked to Increased Alzheimer Risk

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Having affected first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree relatives (FDRs, SDRs, and TDRs) is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer disease (AD), according to a study published online March 13 in Neurology.

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Troponin Assay Confusion May Cause Misdiagnosis of Acute MI

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The 99th centile of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) concentration is substantially higher in a hospital population than the manufacturer's recommended upper limit of normal (ULN), according to a study published online March 13 in The BMJ.

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Nasal Spray Vaccine Against Flu Acceptable in 2019 to 2020

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) plans to advise families to vaccinate children against influenza with either the flu shot or nasal spray vaccine during the 2019 to 2020 flu season, in contrast to the academy's preference for the injected vaccine over the nasal spray during the previous two flu seasons, the AAP announced today.

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Resistance Training May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Progression

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Resistance training (RT) may be a viable option for patients with prediabetes seeking to prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to a study published online Feb. 15 in Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews.

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FDA Approves New Generic Valsartan to Ease Shortage

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new generic version of the high blood pressure/heart failure drug valsartan, saying the move might help ease the current medication shortage.

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Tramadol May Up Mortality Risk in Osteoarthritis Patients

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The initial prescription of tramadol compared with commonly prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be associated with increased all-cause mortality among patients with osteoarthritis, according to a study published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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CDC: Flu Season May Have Peaked

MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- It looks like the flu season has peaked in the United States, though there has been a recent rise in the number of cases involving a more severe flu strain.

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Dual Receipt of Opioids Tied to Increased Risk for OD Death

MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- For veterans enrolled in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare Part D, receipt of opioids from both VA and Part D is associated with an increased likelihood of death from prescription opioid overdose, according to a study published online March 12 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Long-Acting Regimen Noninferior to Daily ART for HIV-1

MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Monthly long-acting (LA) cabotegravir (CAB) and rilpivirine (RPV) are noninferior to daily regimens for patients with HIV-1, according to two studies presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held from March 4 to 7 in Seattle.

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Complex Dosing, Polypharmacy Common With Interstitial Lung Disease

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Polypharmacy and complex medication regimens are common in patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD), according to a study published online Feb. 20 in Respirology.

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Prenatal High-Dose Vitamin D Not Linked to Asthma at Age 6

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- High-dose vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy is not associated with a child's risk for asthma at age 6 years, according to a research letter published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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One-Month Regimen Noninferior for Preventing HIV-Related TB

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- For HIV-infected patients, a one-month regimen of rifapentine and isoniazid is noninferior to nine months of isoniazid alone for preventing tuberculosis, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Short Regimen Noninferior for Rifampin-Resistant Tuberculosis

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- A short regimen is noninferior to a long regimen for patients with rifampin-resistant tuberculosis that is susceptible to fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides, according to a study published online March 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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CDC: Most Americans Report Excellent, Good Health

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Most Americans report having excellent or good health and have a usual place to go for medical care, according to a report published March 13 for the National Health Interview Survey Early Release Program.

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Adding Bempedoic Acid to Statin Therapy Reduces LDL Cholesterol

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Bempedoic acid, an inhibitor of ATP citrate lyase (ACLY), added to maximally tolerated statin therapy, significantly reduces levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and/or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Elderly Men Undertreated for Osteoporosis

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Elderly men are significantly undertreated for osteoporosis, according to a study published online March 5 in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research.

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Four-to-Seven-Day Opioid Rx Likely Sufficient for Acute Pain Treatment

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- An opioid supply for seven or fewer days might be sufficient for most patients seen in primary care settings for acute pain who appear to need opioid analgesics, according to research published in the Feb. 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Common Signs, Symptoms Do Not ID Dehydration in Seniors

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Many older care home residents are not being diagnosed with dehydration based on commonly-used signs and symptoms, according to a study published online March 11 in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

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Average of 8.8 Inactive Ingredients in Oral Medications

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Oral forms of medications contain an average of 8.8 inactive ingredients, many of which could cause adverse reactions, according to a perspective piece published in the March 13 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Head of National Cancer Institute Named Acting FDA Commissioner

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will temporarily be overseen by the head of the National Cancer Institute when FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., leaves the post next month.

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Need to Be Vaccinated? Try Your Local Pharmacy

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Vaccines are big news in the United States these days.

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CDC: 228 Measles Cases Already in 2019

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The number of measles cases in the United States increased by 22 since last week and now stands at 228, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in an update.

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Waiting Room Tool Aids Patient-Physician Communication

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Patients who use a simple waiting room tool are more prepared and more likely to begin heir primary care visit by communicating their top priorities, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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FDA Approves First Immunotherapy Drug for Breast Cancer

MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given its blessing to the first immunotherapy regimen for breast cancer.

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