Eat Nuts for a Longer Life

Time to put nuts on the menu: a new study reveals that regularly including nuts in one’s diet slashes the risk of dying from any cause (that is, total mortality), as well as from the specific causes of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. In March 2012 I shared with readers in my blog Going…

Blood Pressure-Alzheimer’s Connection

Every 68 seconds an American develops Alzheimer’s disease, so chances are that you already know someone battling this terrible disease. In all, there are an estimated 5.2 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. Today there are new tantalizing clues that controlling blood pressure could play a role in keeping Alzheimer’s at bay. A cure…

Overcoming Lupus Medication Compliance Challenges

The health challenges of lupus can be debilitating, yet two out of three lupus patients cared under Medicaid do not fully comply with their medication treatment plan. This new statistic emerged from a presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals. Poorly controlled lupus can lead to disease…

Expensive Out-of-Pocket Costs: The Latest Treatment Side Effect?

High health care costs leading to financial strain should be considered a side effect of treating a disease for some patients, posits Peter Ubel, M.D., Professor at Duke University, and his colleagues in a provocative new article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most physicians speak openly with patients about a new chemotherapy medication…

Prescribers: Want Your Patients Treated? Then Don’t Hand Them a Prescription

When it comes to the treatment of tricky health conditions with specialty medications – such as Humira or Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis, Vivitrol for alcohol dependence, or medications to treat hepatitis C – patients are more likely to start treatment if their prescribing physician doesn’t hand over a paper prescription. How so? There are three…

Give Your Liver a Cup of Coffee

Coffee, one of the world’s most popular drinks, can be pretty healthy for your liver. As Dr. Nick Maroulis, Director of Pharmacy at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, recently mentioned in a guest blog, The New Hepatitis C Era, there is a growing body of evidence showing that coffee can slow disease progression in chronic liver disease,…

Even Doctors Doubt Patients’ Medication Compliance

   Patient medication compliance numbers remain so disappointingly low that even, it seems, doctors assume that their own patients won’t follow medication directions. In a new survey this year by DoctorDirectory.com, the vast majority of physicians (95 percent) think that fewer than 30 percent of their patients are fully compliant with taking their medications. That’s…

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Find Treatment Hard to Stick With

Arthritis & Rheumatism, only one in five people with rheumatoid arthritis reach an adherence rate of at least 80 percent for their oral medications. In addition, one-third of patient taking non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) don’t comply with the use of these medications. This study enrolled 107 RA patients during a two-year period at…

Psoriasis: The Summer Sun Approach

It’s fitting that August is National Psoriasis Awareness Month, especially when you consider that the plentiful summer sun this month serves as natural medication for the irritated skin of psoriasis. Sun exposure (just a half hour a day) can help the 7.5 million Americans suffering from psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes…

Chemotherapy on the Brain

Simply surviving cancer gives reason enough to celebrate. To sweeten the pot, researchers at the 2013 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggest cancer survivors garner another perk: cancer appears to confer protection against developing Alzheimer’s disease. Research presented at this conference drew on data collected from 3.5 million veterans age 65 and older who did not…

Creating a “Safety Culture”

The missing ingredient needed to create safer healthcare and better patient outcomes? A “culture of safety,” says Cynthia Barnard, MBA, from Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, who led a National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) task force on the topic of patient safety. Patient safety – while always on the minds of caring physicians everywhere –…

Cancer’s Sweet Tooth

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? Turns out even cancer cells have a penchant for sugar. Sugar serves as an energy source for any cell to grow and replicate – and cancer cells are no different. But here’s where the cancer cell-sugar relationship gets more interesting: cancer-fighting immune cells also need sugar to function. If…

Pharmacists for Patient Safety

Pharmacists are a key component in improving patient safety, according to a new report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This report, called Making Health Care Safer II, serves as a long-awaited update to the first report on this…

Saving Health Care Dollars, One Injection at a Time

As health care costs continue to rise, cost containment is on everyone’s mind. Cutting services and benefits might save money, but it’s not a very satisfying way to serve patients. Easily implementable health care practices and policies that reduce costs while preserving high-level care make much more sense. Self-administration of injectable medications fits the bill…

Prescription “Stretching” Harms Health

Health care costs for patients, including prescription medications, continue to rise. Out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions reached $45 billion for Americans in 2011 (the most recent year data is available). For a growing number of people, Rx costs simply exceed their ability to pay. Overburdened Americans rely on two less-than-healthy methods to stretch their health care…

Shingles Not an Issue with Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

Guest Blog: Monica Morgan, Pharm.D., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy As if the aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) weren’t trouble enough, people with this autoimmune disease also develop shingles (herpes zoster) infections more often than the general population. An increasingly popular rheumatoid arthritis treatment – anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) medications –…

Going Nuts

Did you catch last Monday’s landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that nuts in the diet can protect against heart disease? Usually, I’m fairly critical of nutritional studies that are related to health, since so many are poorly designed and biased. This study, known as the PREDIMED trial and led by…

Compliance On the Cancer Front

Guest Blog: Amanda Brown, Director of Rx Coordinators at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Navigating through cancer treatment tends to go better for patients when healthcare professionals offer adherence-promoting tools and proactively manage side effects, concludes a study this month in the journal Cancer Nursing by Sandra Spoelstra, Ph.D. and fellow researchers from Michigan State University. Not…