HEALTH

ASHP: Healthcare teams with pharmacists improve patient care

BY Allison Cerra

BETHESDA, Md. A new study funded by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists underscored the role healthcare-team pharmacists have in improving health care in the United States.

The study, “US Pharmacists’ Effect as Team Members on Patient Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses,” available online and set to be published in the October edition of Medical Care, examined the effect of pharmacist-provided direct patient care on therapeutic, safety and humanistic outcomes. The study, led by Marie Chisholm-Burns, a professor and department head at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, reviewed nearly 300 articles and found that:

  • Patients were 47% less likely to experience an adverse drug event when a pharmacist was involved in their care;
  • Pharmacist interventions also significantly improved outcomes when pharmacists were involved in disease management, particularly for patients with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol; and
  • Nearly 90% of studies tracking pharmacists’ impact on managing hemoglobian A1c showed favorable results; 84% of the studies focused on managing blood pressure; 82% of studies looking at managing high cholesterol showed favorable results.

“We have to get this message out to the public,” Chisholm-Burns said. “It’s so important for patients to understand how pharmacists can help them manage their chronic diseases and be as healthy as possible.”

Additional findings highlighting pharmacists’ impact on economic outcomes will be published in October in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

“This important study clearly demonstrates the valuable role pharmacists play in patient care,” said ASHP CEO Henri Manasse, Jr. “The findings are particularly relevant as policy-makers begin to implement innovative care models included in the new healthcare-reform law, like the medical home model, where patients can benefit from the medication expertise of pharmacists.”

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HEALTH

PacificHealth names Duffner CEO

BY Michael Johnsen

MATAWAN, N.J. PacificHealth Labs on Tuesday announced that Fred Duffner has been promoted to CEO and president reporting directly to the board. Duffner previously had been named president in January 2010.

“We have made great progress this year refocusing the company on its core brands in sports nutrition, reducing expenses and in building our cash position,” Duffner stated. “I believe [PacificHealth] is now in a position to take back its leadership position in the category and begin to lead with new innovation and consumer messaging.”

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Study: SAMe may benefit patients taking antidepressants

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON A new study conducted by investigators at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital suggested that the dietary supplement S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) can be an effective, relatively well-tolerated, adjunctive treatment for adults with major depressive disorders who do not respond to their treatment with antidepressant medication, Pharmavite announced Tuesday.

BOSTON A new study conducted by investigators at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital suggested that the dietary supplement S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) can be an effective, relatively well-tolerated, adjunctive treatment for adults with major depressive disorders who do not respond to their treatment with antidepressant medication, Pharmavite announced Tuesday.

“With each study, we continue to gain a better understanding of SAMe’s role in treating depression,” stated George Papakostas, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study. “This new finding, albeit preliminary and in urgent need of replication, suggests significant, clinically meaningful differences in outcome among patients who had SAMe added to their antidepressant medication treatment compared to those taking a placebo with their medication,” he said. “Continued research, however, is urgently needed to more definitively further our understanding of the role of SAMe in the treatment of adults diagnosed with depression. Adjunctive SAMe therapy is promising, but cannot yet be recommended for widespread clinical use.”

The first-of-its-kind study was published in the August 2010 American Journal of Psychiatry. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are approximately 14.8 million people with major depressive disorders in the United States.

 

The National Institute of Mental Health funded the study.

 

 

Pharmavite, manufacturer of Nature Made SAM-e Complete, provided the SAMe supplements and placebo pills used in the study.

 

 

The study, "S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) Augmentation of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for Antidepressant Nonresponders With Major Depressive Disorder: A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial," is the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted on SAMe in a population of patients with major depressive disorders. A total of 73 adults were enrolled in this six -week study and randomly assigned to the placebo control group or the SAMe treatment group. SAMe, in combination with standard depression treatment, was more effective than antidepressant treatment alone in improving measures of depression and remission rates of patients with significant clinical depression. SAMe-treated subjects had a greater response and remission rate to treatment than the placebo-treated group. SAMe was well-tolerated with no reported adverse reactions.

 

 

To date, at least 40 clinical trials have been conducted on SAMe directly and in combination with traditional antidepressant medications. Studies have evaluated SAMe’s use in naturally restoring a healthy mood to the most recent research for treating major depressive disorders. This current study follows a pilot study published in 2004 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, which concluded that antidepressants used in combination with SAMe were significantly more effective in relieving depression than medication alone.

 

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