The Rheumatoid Arthritis Gender Gap

Rheumatoid arthritis skews very female in the 1.5 million Americans with this disease. There are three women with rheumatoid arthritis to every one man with this autoimmune condition. Furthermore, the disease tends to develop at younger ages in women than in men and also can cause more severe symptoms in women. While the exact reasons…

Cost Concerns

The financial hardships of a serious illness can be daunting. Even for those with health insurance, the medical bills and pharmacy costs can accumulate, along with a potential loss of income while treating and recovering from a disease. In a recent survey of nearly 500 people after successful colorectal cancer treatment, financial challenges were reported…

Keeping an Eye on the Hepatitis C Goal

It’s a message you’ve probably heard before, but that doesn’t make it less true or important: Hepatitis C is now a treatable disease, yet not enough is being done to achieve the goal of eliminating this public health threat. Direct-acting antivirals are available to cure as many as 95% of hepatitis C infections. The World…

Answering Methotrexate Questions

Are more questions about the medication methotrexate popping up lately? It’s not surprising since a recent study indicates a link between this medication and an increase risk of liver damage in patients with psoriasis. Methotrexate continues to be a frontline treatment for autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis. It suppresses inflammation by dampening the body’s immune response….

Access of Treatment

A significant topic of discussion at the recent International Conference on Viral Hepatitis 2017 centered on the access of care and treatment for hepatitis C. Historically, hepatitis C infections were treated by subspecialists, such as hepatologists (doctors specializing in liver diseases) and gastroenterologists. For several reasons, the care of hepatitis C has expanded beyond subspecialists…

Personalized Medicine

Personalized medicine, in which medical care and treatment is tailored to the individual patient, can lead to better diagnoses, earlier interventions, customized treatment, and drug therapies that are more efficient. In short, personalized medicine means making treatment as individualized as the disease. Recently, experts from the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine shared five key…

A Dangerous Bump

The autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) creates muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation problems for those who develop this disease. MS develops as the consequence of inflammation (called plaques) in various areas of the central nervous system, after which the protective coating of nerves, called the myelin sheath, is destroyed. Approximately 350,000 people in the…

The Female Side of HCV

The hepatitis C virus (HCV), while certainly an equal opportunity virus, presents some unique health risks for infected women. Let’s start with some good news for women: they are more likely to clear this virus than men, meaning that even if exposed to HCV, more women than men are able to fight off the virus…

The Scoop About Mavyret

Just two months ago, AbbVie’s Mavyret joined the ranks of treatments approved by the FDA for chronic infection of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C continues to be a major public health issue, affecting nearly 4 million Americans. It’s a good time to review best practices with this newest HCV medication. The American Association…

Rapid HCV Tests Pay Off

By now, the message urging all Baby Boomers to get a one-time screening test for infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been heard. Yet HCV infections continue to occur at unsettling rates. New infections are being fueled by the ongoing epidemic of illegal drug use, particularly injection drugs. This is why a new…

Financial: Another Side Effect of Cancer Treatment

All too many cancer patients realize that the high cost of cancer treatment can end up as an unexpected side effect of treatment. In fact, some patients go into debt while trying to save their own life. This has become so common that it now has a name: financial toxicity. This economic hardship can be…

Curing Hepatitis C and Avoiding Liver Cancer

It’s a new era when it comes to chronic hepatitis C infection. Most Americans infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) will be treated with direct-acting antiviral medications and be cured of this disease. Achieving sustained viral response (SVR) – in other words being cured of this liver disease – has never been easier (in…

After Clearing the Virus

There are highly effective direct-acting antivirals that can cure chronic infection of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) for the majority of patients. However, it’s important for health care providers and their patients to understand that clearing this virus does not mean that no more care will be needed. There are some post-cure guidelines that should…

Patient Focus: Medication Safety in Natural Disasters

With Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts on everyone’s mind – as well as September being National Emergency Preparedness Month – this feels like the right time to share information about how to keep prescription medications safe during a natural disaster. Preparation begins, when possible, with planning ahead. When families gather bottled water and other essentials to…

Psoriasis Risks: More Than Skin Deep

The dry, scaly, and painful patches of skin typical of psoriasis afflict nearly 7.5 million Americans. This uncomfortable, chronic skin condition is most likely to develop on the joints, face, neck, trunk, arms, hands, feet, and scalp. Although a cure remains elusive, treatments are available to manage the symptoms. At first glance, some might assume…

Global Impact of Hepatitis

On a global level, viral hepatitis ranks in impact and seriousness as highly as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Yet, viral hepatitis receives less funding and attention from global health policy makers and donors than each of those other three diseases. It’s a surprising disconnect. For example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals set a goal to…

Adherence Remains a Core Issue

Medications generally sit at the heart of a care plan for those with a chronic disease, yet medication adherence by patients continues to be an ongoing concern. Estimates note that 75% of Americans are not taking their medication exactly as directed by their health care professional. Meanwhile, nonadherence aligns with poorer outcomes, as well as…

Is It Multiple Sclerosis?

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) can be trickier than one would think. There is not a single test that can be used by itself to rule in or rule out an MS diagnosis. Rather, an entire profile is developed based on medical history, a neurologic exam, and lab tests (including an MRI, evoked potentials, and spinal…