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Express Scripts study: Anxiety medication use higher among caregivers

BY Jason Owen

ST. LOUIS — According to a new report released today by Express Scripts, the stress associated with providing unpaid care for a sick or disabled adult can create additional detrimental effects on the caregiver’s health, leading to a 29% greater use of anti-anxiety medications compared with non-caregivers.

The research finds use of medications to treat conditions for which stress is the common denominator, including high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and ulcers, is higher among caregivers, with the widest difference seen in the use of medications to treat anxiety.

"An estimated 42 million Americans serve as a caregiver to a relative or friend, and that number will grow significantly as the boomer population ages," said Bob Nease, PhD, chief scientist at Express Scripts. "Care-giving is a noble and often rewarding endeavor, but it clearly takes a toll. By understanding more about caregivers and the challenges they face with their own health, our specialist pharmacists — with unique expertise in one of 15 therapeutic areas — can further tailor their support and interventions to help caregivers take better care of themselves."

The study pairs an analysis of Express Scripts’ prescription drug claims data with a telephone survey of more than 12,000 commercially-insured individuals ages 18 to 65. The research also suggests:

  • Adherence rates for caregivers who use an antidepressant – a medication patients must take as prescribed to see a benefit — are relatively worse than for non-caregivers (67% vs. 73%). Across all health conditions, 64% of caregivers are adherent to their medication therapy, compared to 68% of non-caregivers.
  • Caregivers are more likely to rate themselves in poorer health compared to non-caregivers (15% vs. 12%), and a higher proportion of caregivers report being unhappy (5.3% vs. 3.5%).
  • Only one-in-five caregivers reside in the same household as the patients in their care. More than half (52%) live within 15 miles of their primary care recipient, and another 27% live more than 15 miles away.
  • Roughly one-third provide care for more than one person, and two-thirds of respondents provide care for a parent, older relative, sibling or friend as opposed to a spouse or adult child.
  • At the time of the survey, approximately 36% of caregivers had increased the amount of care they provided in the past month; 15% had decreased the amount of care. Care-giving is a long-term endeavor: 8.5% of caregivers reported they were new to the role and only 3.8% said they stopped providing care in the past month.
  • The average age for caregivers is 52 years old, and most are female (63% female vs. 37% male).

"The good news for caregivers is the ever-increasing availability of tools — auto-refills for prescriptions, longer-day supplies of medication, mobile apps and websites that offer alerts, prescription histories and adherence reminders — that can help them stay on track with their own health decisions, while also reducing the administrative burden that comes with being a caregiver," continued Nease.


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Retired Army General David Petraeus to keynote 2013 NACDS Foundation Dinner

BY Jason Owen

LAS VEGAS — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation on Monday announced General David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Retired), former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the keynote speaker for the 2013 NACDS Foundation Dinner. The dinner will take place on Dec. 3, 2013, in New York City.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the NACDS Foundation Dinner and contributions from the Foundation’s benefactors help to advance evidence-based research and related medication management and educational initiatives that benefit patients, improve outcomes and advance public health.

“As a patriot and defender of America’s freedom, we are delighted that General Petraeus will address the benefactors of the 2013 NACDS Foundation Dinner later this year,” said NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger. “It is an honor to present such a distinguished speaker in recognition of the tremendous commitment that the NACDS Foundation’s benefactors demonstrate at this important event and throughout the year.”

Born and raised in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy in 1974, and was commissioned as an infantry officer. He later earned his MPA and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from Princeton University.

Petraeus’ distinguished 37-year military career included service in Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, and following 9/11 was deployed for nearly seven years culminating his career with six straight commands, five of which were in combat.

Following his second deployment in Iraq where he spearheaded efforts that led to a 90% reduction in counterinsurgent violence, Petraeus took command of the U.S. Central Command, overseeing operations of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central and South Asia. He later took command of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan where he led efforts to prevent the re-establishment of al-Qaeda sanctuaries that existed when the 9/11 attacks were planned.

Petraeus received numerous U.S. military, State Department, NATO and United Nations awards and decorations. He has been decorated by 12 foreign countries for his service.

Following retirement from the U.S. Army, Petraeus served as director of the CIA during a time of significant achievements in the global counterterrorism effort, and worked to increase worldwide intelligence coverage.

He is now the chairman of KKR Global Institute and is a professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College and at the University of Southern California.


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Lundbeck’s Onfi CIV scored tablets and oral suspension now available in U.S. pharmacies

BY Jason Owen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Lundbeck announced today that Onfi (clobazam) CIV will be available in scored tablet and oral suspension formulations beginning this week after the formulations were recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Onfi is a prescription medication originally approved by the FDA in 2011, and is used along with other medicines to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in adults and children 2 years of age or older. Onfi is an oral anti-epileptic drug (AED) of the benzodiazepine class, and is a 1,5 benzodiazepine. It is a federally controlled schedule four substance (CIV).

The new oval shaped Onfi scored tablets (10 mg and 20 mg) will replace the previously available round non-scored tablets, and are similar in size. These new tablets contain the same ingredients as the round tablet, and include a functional score to allow patients or their caregivers to split the tablets in half. Onfi will no longer be available in a 5 mg tablet. Onfi oral suspension (2.5 mg/mL) has a berry flavor, and provides an alternative to Onfi tablets.

“Since becoming available nearly two years ago, Onfi has become an important additional treatment option for people with LGS,” said Raman Sankar, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and pediatrics, and chief of pediatric neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Onfi scored tablets and oral suspension provide flexibility when making dose adjustments. Also, it’s very helpful to have medications available in both tablet and oral suspension formulations to provide options for patients and their caregivers.”

LGS is a rare and severe form of epilepsy that is typically diagnosed in childhood and often persists into adulthood. LGS is associated with multiple types of seizures with periods of frequent seizures, and daily seizures are common. Some of these seizures, including atonic, tonic and myoclonic seizures, may cause falls, or “drop seizures” (also referred to as “drop attacks”), which may result in injury.

“The availability of these new formulations are the result of working closely with the LGS community and listening to the needs of physicians, patients and those who care for them,” said Mike Hanley, director of Onfi marketing, Lundbeck US. “We are inspired by the strength of those impacted by LGS and will continue working together to help these patients and their families.”


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