PHARMACY

GDM risk can be assessed prior to pregnancy

BY Allison Cerra

OAKLAND, Calif. — A woman’s risk of developing a type of diabetes typically caused by pregnancy can be identified up to seven years prior to becoming pregnant, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente.

The study, part of Kaiser Permanente’s ongoing research to understand, prevent and treat gestational diabetes mellitus, found that routinely assessing blood sugar and body weight measures can provide women with insight on their risk of developing GDM.

By examining data taken from 580 ethnically diverse women who took part in a multiphasic health checkup at Kaiser Permanente Northern California between 1984 and 1996, researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research found that the risk of GDM directly increased when a number of adverse risk factors commonly associated with diabetes and heart disease (i.e., high blood sugar, hypertension and being overweight) were present before pregnancy.

What’s more, the study authors found that adverse levels of blood sugar and body weight were associated with a 4.6 times increased risk of GDM, compared with women with normal levels.

"Our study indicates that a woman’s cardio-metabolic risk profile for factors routinely assessed at medical visits, such as blood sugar, high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight, can help clinicians identify high-risk women to target for primary prevention or early management of GDM," said lead author Monique Hedderson, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

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Sanofi: Lyxumia won’t significantly increase hypoglycemia risk

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS — New results from a late-stage clinical trial of a Sanofi drug for Type 2 diabetes indicated that the drug can reduce blood sugar in patients without increasing the risk of causing the blood sugar levels to dip too low, the French drug maker said Tuesday.

Sanofi, which shortened its name earlier this month from Sanofi-Aventis, announced results of the phase-3 “GetGoal-L” trial of Lyxumia (lixisenatide), saying that when used as an add-on therapy with basal insulin and with or without metformin, the drug “significantly” reduced HbA1C levels, compared with placebo, without significantly increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. The trial, part of the broader “GetGoal” phase-3 study program, enrolled 495 patients who received either Lyxumia or placebo.

“These positive efficacy and safety results are another important milestone in the GetGoal clinical trial program and show the potential value of adding Lyxumia to basal insulin to improve glycemic control,” Sanofi global diabetes division SVP Pierre Chancel said. “The findings from this and previous studies reinforce the continuing positive trend demonstrating the potential of lixisenatide to improve the lives of people with Type 2 diabetes.”

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USA Today article highlights risks of medication nonadherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — The major consumer press is beginning to understand the value of community pharmacy and the importance of medication adherence in managing outcomes in healthcare spending, as evidenced by the recent USA Today article "Studies: Missed meds could cost more than $250B a year."

The article, which was published Friday, cited studies by both Express Scripts and CVS Caremark, in partnership with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which found that billions of dollars are lost each year by Americans not taking their medications as prescribed, leading to emergency room visits, in-patient hospitalizations and doctors’ visits.

The article quoted CVS Caremark EVP and chief medical officer Troyen Brennan as saying that a CVS study estimated that if 35% of patients in a group of 100,000 do not take their medications as prescribed, it will result in 16 heart attacks, five strokes and seven deaths.

USA Today also noted in the article that Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., have introduced bills that would allow Medicare reimbursement for more patients who sit down with therapists for one-on-one help managing their medication. The bills would enable pharmacists to recommend the counseling to patients who have chronic diseases or who take several medications each day.

Click here to view the full article.

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