PHARMACY

Lyrica produces ‘significant’ improvement in restless legs syndrome

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A drug made by Pfizer shows "significant" benefit to patients with restless legs syndrome, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Friday.

The drug maker said Lyrica (pregabalin) produced statistically significant improvements in patients with RLS compared with placebo and pramipexole after 12 weeks of treatment. In the phase-3 study, A0081186, 300 mg of Lyrica, 0.25 mg of pramipexole, 0.5 mg of pramipexole or placebo was given to patients on a daily basis.

RLS is a neurological condition that causes an unpleasant, irresistible urge to move the legs and sometimes other parts of the body, usually in the evening and at night, resulting in difficulty falling or staying asleep.


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The Online Pharmacy Safety Act of 2011 introduced in Senate, endorsed by NACDS

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate seeks to protect consumers from Internet drug sellers posing as legitimate pharmacies.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif; and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., introduced The Online Pharmacy Safety Act of 2011 on Thursday, which "targets fraud associated with illegitimate online drug sellers, particularly those who sell counterfeit drugs, provide drugs without a prescription or take money without providing anything in return." The bill also would require the Food and Drug Administration to establish a registry of legitimate online pharmacy websites.

“Consumers deserve access to safe, legitimate online pharmacies,” Feinstein said. “If you need to order your prescriptions online, you should be assured you are getting the real medication — not contaminated ingredients or even the wrong ingredients. This bill will put a stop to fraudulent websites that sell illegal or counterfeit drugs or take advantage of consumers.”

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced it endorsed the legislation, noting that research has found that 1-in-6 Americans — or more than 36 million consumers — has purchased prescription medication online without a valid prescription.

“The problem is exacerbated because these rogue sites purposely masquerade as legitimate pharmacies, duping innocent Americans into purchasing unsafe or fake medicine. As a result, Americans’ health is put at risk and the costs to the nation’s healthcare system rise dramatically,” the letter stated. “Your legislation will protect Americans against this growing threat by ensuring they have the resources they need to access safe and legitimate online pharmacies.”

Click here to view the letter.

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Alabama community pharmacy hosts MTM awareness event

BY Michael Johnsen

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In recognition of the important role pharmacists can play in improving medication adherence, the National Consumers League last week hosted a "Script Your Future" event at a Birmingham, Ala.-area community pharmacy.
 
NCL’s "Script Your Future" is a national multi-year awareness campaign designed to help patients better manage their health by encouraging more open conversations between healthcare professionals and patients. The Birmingham event, which was hosted at Homewood Pharmacy, focused on the important role that all healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, have in helping patients better adhere to their medication.
 
“Instead of wringing our hands about the problem of non-adherence, it’s about bringing together stakeholders and looking at solutions,” National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Douglas Hoey said. “Solving this nation’s adherence issue will require the effort of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, as well as patients, which is why NCPA is a proud partner of the ‘Script Your Future’ campaign.”
 
“Research by the campaign and others shows that pharmacists are among the most trusted patient resources for information about medication and are in an exceptional front-line position to confront this issue,” said NCPA and Alabama Board of Pharmacy member Kenny Sanders. “We can help patients understand and anticipate side effects that might prevent them from taking their medication, can debunk myths or answer questions that patients forgot to ask their doctors, and can work with patients to find tools that help them make taking their medication a priority.”
 
The event brought together area stakeholders in health care, business and government, and consumer advocates,  to offer tools for patients to help them better adhere to their medication, and to help healthcare professionals better communicate with patients.
 
A study released in conjunction with the event shows that nationally and in Birmingham, those patients who do not always take their medication as directed are less likely to have received a full explanation of the consequences of their condition, and are less convinced of the importance of adherence.

The campaign features tools that include free text message reminders, sample questions for patients to ask healthcare practitioners, medication lists, condition management sheets, and fact sheets on common chronic conditions. All of these materials can be found on the campaign website, ScriptYourFuture.org.
 
Alabama governor Robert Bentley, who spoke at the event, encouraged patients with chronic conditions to speak with their healthcare professionals about their medications.
 
“Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals can help prevent many serious health complications by initiating conversations with their patients about the importance of taking medication as directed,” Bentley said. “This is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure, who may have a number of medicines to take each day.”
 
Birmingham is one of six regional target markets in which the multi-year campaign is piloting interventions, outreach activities, research and advertising.


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