New lab test determines if aspirin is effective for heart attack, stroke prevention
DENVER Corgenix Medical on Tuesday introduced a laboratory test in the Wichita, Kan., area that determines if the aspirin being taken to prevent a heart attack or stroke is effective.
The AspirinWorks Test is available to doctors across Kansas through AMS Laboratory. Edwin Harned, AMS Laboratory president and CEO, said he’s excited to field a test that gives physicians a tool to identify patients who are not benefiting from their aspirin therapy.
“Any time we have the chance to offer a test that gives the physician and patient good information about the validity of a drug that they are taking, we think it’s a great test,” Harned said.
The AspirinWorks Test determines the effect of aspirin on platelets by measuring the level of the biomarker called thromboxane B2. The higher the levels of thromboxane B2, the stickier the blood platelets, and the less impact the aspirin is having. This information allows physicians to individualize a patient’s therapy, which may be as simple as adjusting the dose.
“Not everyone responds the same to the same dose of aspirin,” noted Gordon Ens, clinical affairs director for Corgenix Medical. “So we came up with a simple, non-invasive test to measure aspirin effect in individuals taking aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke.”
AspirinWorks is the only FDA-cleared test that measures urinary thromboxane B2 to accurately determine aspirin effect in apparently healthy individuals. Unlike other platelet tests, which require freshly drawn blood that must be evaluated within four hours, the AspirinWorks Test only requires a urine sample that can be obtained at the doctor’s office or AMS Laboratory patient service centers.
The AspirinWorks Test is reimbursed by most insurance carriers, and covered under Medicare and Medicaid, the company stated.
Johnson & Johnson/Life Scan partners with consumer advocate
MILPITAS, Calif. To help people with diabetes get the most value for their healthcare dollar, Johnson & Johnson/LifeScan, maker of OneTouch branded blood glucose meters, has teamed with consumer advocate and syndicated columnist Jim Miller.
“People with diabetes are especially challenged [in today’s economy] because their healthcare costs are twice as high as those of people without diabetes,” stated Alan Cariski, VP worldwide medical safety and external affairs at LifeScan. “While it may be tempting to cut back on healthcare spending by skipping medications or reducing blood glucose testing, we’re working to remind people how important it is to follow the diabetes care regimen recommended by their healthcare professional to help safeguard their health.”
Miller and OneTouch offer the following tips, which include ways to reduce co-pays and find savings through employers and lifestyle modifications – all of which can help people with diabetes maintain their physical and financial health.
For people with health insurance, Miller recommends that consumers:
- Talk to their pharmacist or insurance company to make sure they’re getting prescriptions and testing supplies at the lowest co-pay. If not, they should talk to their physician about switching prescriptions to the products with the lowest co-pays covered by their health plan.
- Buy prescriptions in quantity. For example, a three-month prescription may save money on dispensing fees, which can make it less expensive than buying it month to month. Take advantage of a flexible spending account, if offered by their employer. It reduces taxes by letting consumers pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses and over-the-counter products with pre-tax dollars.
- Find out if their employer health plan offers any special programs for individuals with chronic conditions that may provide certain needed prescriptions and products for free. For instance, United Healthcare has recently launched a diabetes plan with incentives for prevention.
For people with inadequate or no insurance, Miller suggests consumers:
- Search for one of the many free or low-cost programs, including individual pharmacy plans, that offer assistance with getting prescriptions or supplies for those who qualify. Good resources for researching these programs include: www.TogetherRxAccess.com; www.Access2wellness.com; www.pparx.org; www.rxassist.org; and www.needymeds.org.
- Look into free or low-cost health clinics. Federally funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, there are thousands of health centers around the U.S. that provide low-cost healthcare to people based on financial need.
For all people with diabetes, Miller recommends:
Study: Higher doses of Vitamin D reduce bone fractures in seniors
CHICAGO A meta-analysis published Monday in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” determined that higher doses of vitamin D supplementation, of more than 400 International Units daily, could reduce the number of fractures in seniors by at least 20%.
The meta-analysis was performed on the efficacy of oral supplemental vitamin D in preventing nonvertebral and hip fractures among older individuals, and included 12 double-blind randomized controlled trials for nonvertebral fractures and 8 RCTs for hip fractures comparing oral vitamin D, with or without calcium, with calcium or placebo.
The higher dose reduced nonvertebral fractures in community-dwelling individuals by 29% and institutionalized older individuals by 15%, and its effect was independent of additional calcium supplementation.