HEALTH

CVS/pharmacy promotes awareness of heart disease for American Heart Health Month

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. In recognition of American Heart Health Month, CVS/pharmacy will be educating patients about heart health and preventing heart disease, as well as offering money-saving specials on many heart health-related products in February.

“The term ‘heart disease’ covers a long list of conditions related to the function of the heart, so it is important for patients to educate themselves on heart disease prevention and treatment,” stated Troyen Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., EPV and CMO for CVS Caremark. “We encourage our patients to speak to their pharmacist about medication therapies, prescription or over-the-counter, that they are taking related to their heart health, and to visit one of our in-store MinuteClinic locations for a health screening.” 

In collaboration with The Heart Truth, a national awareness campaign about heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, CVS/pharmacy has created a free educational resource booklet. The booklet, titled “Your Smart Guide to a Healthy Heart,” is available at all CVS stores nationwide. In addition to information on heart disease symptoms, risk factors and healthy lifestyle tips, the booklet features money-saving offers through the CVS ExtraCare loyalty card program on OTC medications, healthy food items and diabetes monitoring products. 

In addition to these resources, CVS pharmacists are available to counsel patients. There are also about 500 CVS stores that have MinuteClinic retail-based health care clinics where nurse practitioners are available to check patients’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

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Research shows condroitin sulfate can prevent joint structure degradation

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA A new study published in the February edition of the American College of Rheumatology’s journal Arthritis & Rheumatism examined the effect of chondroitins 4 and 6 sulfate on osteoarthritis progression and symptoms. These chondroitins, unlike other chondroitin sulfate products sold as dietary supplements in the United States, has been approved as a prescription symptomatic slow acting drug for OA in many European countries.

Led by Andre Kahan of the University of Paris Descartes in Paris, the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 622 patients with OA from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the United States. Patients had knee X-rays at the time of enrollment and at 12, 18 and 24 months. The X-rays were evaluated for joint space loss and patients were also assessed for OA symptoms and pain.

The results showed that “long-term administration of CS over two years can prevent joint structure degradation in patients with knee OA,” the authors stated. Joint space loss was significantly reduced in the CS group, fewer patients had progression of joint space width, and CS reduced pain in those taking it compared to the placebo group. CS was well-tolerated and there were no significant differences in the frequency of adverse events between the two groups.

The study showed that there was faster improvement regarding pain during the first year in the CS group compared to the placebo group. This may be due to the fact that all of the patients had pain symptoms, so the effect of CS was more noticeable early on. Since those who took a placebo also had decreased pain in the first year, it may also be due to the natural course of the disease. The authors note that the study involved CS, which is used as a prescription drug and that the results cannot be generalized to other chondroitin sulfate products or compounds, such as those available in the form of dietary supplements.

The decrease in joint space loss shown in this and another recent study involving 300 patients, suggests better outcomes for OA patients, according to the authors. They conclude: “Further studies with longer followup and different outcome criteria are warranted to assess whether the beneficial structural changes associated with CS demonstrated in our study are predictive of improvement in the long-term clinical progression of OA.”

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Study: Personal Care marketers should watch their spending

BY Drug Store News Team

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. Personal care marketers will be affected by the ability to increase retail prices, unless unique product benefits are highlighted, according to research firm Kline & Company.

The research firm, which released a study entitled “Personal Care: U.S. Competitor Cost Structures 2008”, points out that most companies have only an 11 percent operating margin, since personal care marketers spend over half of their budget on marketing. This, combined with the perpetual need to spend significantly on advertising and promotions in order to drive consumer awareness and demand in highly competitive categories, will continue to lead to margin pressures for personal care marketers.

Additionally, companies whose product lines are heavily focused on luxury products, such as Estee Lauder, will feel the sting of the recession more than those whose products tend to be priced lower, such as Avon, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble.

The study also concludes that high oil prices over the past two years drove production and distribution costs for personal care marketers up significantly.

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