HEALTH

IRI shares best practices for Rx-to-OTC switch

BY Ryan Chavis

CHICAGO and ORLANDO, Fla. — Prescription and over-the-counter products are often the first remedy consumers turn to when seeking relief from such conditions as allergies and heartburn, according to IRI. In its latest report, "Best Practices for Rx-to-OTC Product Launches," the company offers some tactics to help drive success for companies looking to execute the category switch.

“When studying Rx-to-OTC switches, we found that order of entry is one factor, but it is not necessarily the driving factor for success,” said Robert Sanders, EVP and healthcare practice leader at IRI. “More specifically, the concept of an unmet consumer need continues to trump many of the other variables.”

The report takes a closer look at previous Rx-to-OTC product launches and gathers best practices to adhere to, as well as some missteps to avoid.

“We know that a new wave of Rx-to-OTC products will drive OTC growth in the long term,” Sanders said. “Lessons learned from previous case studies will help maximize success for future brands as they move into this space.”

To download the free report, click here.

 

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Study suggests calcium, vitamin D helps postmenopausal women lower cholesterol

BY Antoinette Alexander

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A new study suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause can improve women’s cholesterol profiles, and much of that effect is tied to raising vitamin D levels.

The study is from the Women’s Health Initiative and was recently published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The study, "Calcium/vitamin D supplementation, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and cholesterol profiles in the Women’s Health Initiative calcium/vitamin D randomized trial," will be published in the August 2014 print edition of Menopause.

Whether calcium or vitamin D can indeed improve cholesterol levels has been debated. Studies of women taking the combination could not separate the effects of calcium from those of vitamin D on cholesterol. However, this study, led by NAMS board of trustees member Peter Schnatz is helping to settle those questions because it looked both at how a calcium and vitamin D supplement changed cholesterol levels and how it affected blood levels of vitamin D in postmenopausal women.

Daily, the women in the WHI CaD trial took either a supplement containing 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo. This analysis looked at the relationship between taking supplements and levels of vitamin D and cholesterol in some 600 of the women who had both their cholesterol levels and their vitamin D levels measured.

The women who took the supplement were more than twice as likely to have vitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL (i.e., normal according to the Institute of Medicine), as were the women who took the placebo.

Supplement users also had low-density lipoprotein (LDL — the "bad" cholesterol) levels that were between four and five points lower. The investigators discovered, in addition, that among supplement users, those with higher blood levels of vitamin D had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL — the "good" cholesterol) and lower levels of triglycerides (although for triglycerides to be lower, blood levels of vitamin D had to reach a threshold of about 15 ng/mL).

Taking the calcium and vitamin D supplements was especially helpful in raising vitamin D levels in women who were older, women who had a low intake and women who had levels first measured in the winter. But lifestyle also made a difference. The supplements also did more to raise vitamin D levels in women who did not smoke and who drank less alcohol.

Whether these positive effects of supplemental calcium and vitamin D on cholesterol will translate into such benefits as lower rates of cardiovascular disease for women after menopause remains to be seen, but these results, said the authors, are a good reminder that women at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency should consider taking calcium and vitamin D.

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Maker of Clif energy bars expands portfolio with Zbar protein bar for kids

BY Antoinette Alexander

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Clif Kid, a maker of organic snacks for kids, has announced the nationwide availability of the newest addition to the Clif Kid Zbar line — Zbar Protein.

A snack made with organic whole grains, Zbar Protein is designed to be a good source of complete protein.

“It can be challenging to find protein snacks that are convenient and nutritious,” stated Michelle Ferguson, EVP of marketing for Clif Kid. “Easy-to-grab Zbar Protein not only contributes to kids’ daily intake of protein, which is needed for growth, but tastes great thanks to kid-approved ingredients like organic chocolate chips and organic peanut butter.”

Made with pea and whey protein, plus a blend of rice crisps and organic oats atop a thin layer of chocolate, Zbar Protein is a source of calcium, fiber, iron, zinc and vitamin D. Zbar Protein comes in three flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint and Peanut Butter Chocolate.

In addition to Zbar Protein, Clif Kid has also introduced its newest flavor to the Zbar family — Zbar Iced Lemon Cookie, which features lemon blended into organic whole grain oats and topped with a drizzle of organic vanilla-flavored icing.

Zbar Iced Lemon Cookie is USDA-certified organic and portion-sized for kids offering 9 g of whole grains, 3 g of fiber and provides 12 vitamins and minerals.

As with all Clif Kid snacks, the Clif Kitchen sources ingredients that are not genetically engineered, and leaves out such ingredients as partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives and artificial flavors. Zbar Protein and Iced Lemon Cookie also contain 0 grams trans fat.

 

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