PHARMACY

Mediterranean diet can starve off need for diabetes drugs

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK While the Mediterranean diet has been said to prevent second heart attacks and delay Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggested that the diet may be beneficial to Type 2 diabetes patients.

In the new study, 215 overweight people — newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes — were randomly assigned to either a low-fat diet or a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean diet includes vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. In the study, women on the diet were allowed 1,500 calories per day, and men were allowed 1,800 calories per day; no more than 50 percent of calories could come from carbohydrates.

After four years, the researchers from Second University of Naples, in Italy, found that only 44% of the people who stuck to a Mediterranean diet needed blood-sugar-lowering medication, compared with 70% of people who followed the low-fat diet. Unlike people with Type 1 diabetes, who need insulin injections to survive, those with Type 2 can sometimes keep blood-sugar levels in the safe range with diet and exercise alone.

“The people on the Mediterranean diet had better blood-sugar control because of the diet, and the trigger for diabetic drugs is when blood sugar is higher than you want it to be,” explained Dr. Christine Laine, the editor of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Study: Increased dosage of Plavix may not help patients with ACS

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS Patients with acute coronary syndrome didn’t fare better when receiving increased doses of a popular cardiovascular drug than those receiving the standard dose, according to a new study.

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Monday the results of the 25,087-patient CURRENT-OASIS 7 trial, designed to determine whether ACS patients taking Plavix (clopidogrel) plus aspirin benefited when taking 600 mg of the drug the first day, followed by 150 mg doses for the next six days and 75 mg doses for the remaining 22 days. The standard dosing regimen comprises a 300 mg dose on the first day, followed by 75 mg doses for the next 29 days.

Overall, patients taking the increased dosage did not experience a significant reduction in heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death after 30 days, but 70% of patients, who had received a type of heart surgery called percutaneous coronary intervention early on, did experience a 15% reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death. Meanwhile, there was a 42% relative reduction in risk of blood clots forming around stents, metal mesh devices used to prop open narrowed arteries.

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CVS Caremark to offer free vaccines for unemployed

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark is offering 100,000 free seasonal flu shots to those who are unemployed as part of a nationwide flu vaccination effort, the company announced on Monday.

The program will include on-site flu clinics at One-Stop Career Center locations and distribution of vouchers for free flu shots at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. One-Stop Career Centers offer tools and training to job seekers.

In addition to offering $3 million in free flu vaccinations for the unemployed, the company is offering several options for consumers to get a flu shot.

Beginning Sept. 1, seasonal flu shots will be available daily, without an appointment, at more than 500 MinuteClinic locations. Starting Sept. 15, more than 9,000 flu shot clinic events will be held in select CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide. Vaccinations are covered by more insurance plans.

Meanwhile, through its PBM, CVS Caremark will work with its employer clients during flu season to make it easier, more convenient and more affordable for their employees to get an annual flu vaccination. Employer clients can participate in a program that offers seasonal flu shots at no cost to their employees at MinuteClinic locations, flu shot clinic events held in select CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide or at employer on-site clinics.

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