PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis, NSF launch sleep education program

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Sanofi-Aventis, which manufactures the insomnia drug Ambien, and the National Sleep Foundation are launching a new campaign called Sleeping Smart which is designed to educate the millions of Americans who suffer from sleeping problems about the importance of a good night’s sleep, proper sleeping habits, the consequences of insomnia and the safe and appropriate use of prescription sleep medications.

As part of the campaign, results of a new survey of over 1,000 American adults aged 18 and over released yesterday showed that while nearly 60 percent of those at increased risk for insomnia say that their symptoms affect their daily activities at least a few days a week, only about half of those at increased risk for insomnia have actually initiated a conversation with their healthcare professional about their sleep issues.

One key note of the survey according to Helene A. Emsellem, MD, FAASM, medical director, The Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders, Chevy Chase, Maryland and a volunteer with the National Sleep Foundation was that the, “survey found that 85 percent of all respondents believed that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.” And that it is, “It is important for patients to work with their healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for their insomnia, including lifestyle changes, adjusting bedtime sleep routines, cognitive behavioral therapy, and/or prescription medications that help people fall and stay asleep,” added Emsellem.

For more information about the program the Web site is www.sleepingsmart.org.

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Gestational diabetes results in increased risk for Type 2 diabetes

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Gestational diabetes greatly increases a woman’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life, a new study confirms, according to Reuters.

Gestational diabetes is a known risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Denice Feig of the University of Toronto and her team looked at 633,449 women who gave birth in Toronto between 1995 and 2002. A total of 21,823 (3.3 percent) of the women were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

While just 2 percent of the women who didn’t have gestational diabetes went on to develop Type 2 diabetes during the 9-year follow-up period, 19 percent of those with gestational diabetes did, the researchers found.

Moreover, they say the strongest risk factor for Type 2 diabetes was gestational diabetes, which increased risk more than 37-fold.

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Russian antihistamine appears effective against Alzheimer’s

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A study that lasted a year and a half has found that an antihistamine developed in the former Soviet Union may be able to stabilize Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, found that the drug Dimebon could stabilize the disease for at least the time of the study. Researchers tested the drug against a placebo in 183 patients in Russia who had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

Conditions of patients who received the placebo deteriorated, while those of the people who received Dimebon improved or deteriorated only slightly.

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