When boosting adherence means saving lives
More evidence is emerging that interventions by pharmacists can have a profound beneficial effect on patient outcomes.
The latest example comes from Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, which released the results of a study May 17 showing that more than two-thirds of patients with hepatitis C “achieved sustained virologic response or cure after completing newer ‘triple therapy’ treatment” backed up by a regimen of care and oversight by pharmacists, according to a Drug Store News report from senior editor Michael Johnsen.
Why the pharmacist interventions? They help improve patient compliance with the complicated drug therapy, which involves the administration of two newer protease inhibitors to prevent the HCV virus from reproducing, in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin. According to Johnsen, that powerful medicinal cocktail “significantly increased the cure rate and cut treatment time in half” for the 406 HCV patients in the study who received triple therapy with either telaprevir or boceprevir.
Active involvement by Walgreens pharmacists was critical to the success of the program, because “many patients have a difficult time completing the treatment due to the side effects and because they usually don’t feel sick when they have HCV,” Johnsen reports. “This makes pharmacist follow-up and support particularly important.”
The news from Walgreens and DSN was of special interest to me: One of my best friends underwent an intensive, yearlong medication regimen a few years ago to rid his body of HCV, and it saved his life. The drugs and the treatment regimen “cured” him, reducing his viral load down to undetectable levels and allowing him to go on with his life.
It’s another reminder, if one was needed, of the critical role pharmacists play in this nation’s overtaxed, disjointed healthcare system by helping patients stay on track with their medication therapies, monitoring their progress and providing the ongoing counseling that helps patients stay adherent and regain their health.
If you’ve encountered similar situations as a pharmacist or pharmacy resident, please share them by clicking on the comment link. Your feedback, as always, is much appreciated.
Jolly Time Pop Corn introduces healthier Smart Balance options
SIOUX FALLS, Iowa — Jolly Time Pop Corn announced this week two new varieties of microwavable popcorn made with the Smart Balance unique blend of oils, according to the company.
Jolly Time Butter and Butter Light made with the Smart Balance blend offer health-conscious consumers zero grams of trans fat naturally and absolutely no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. The Smart Balance blend contains a blend of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats. When used as part of the Smart Balance Food Plan — a recommended diet with no more than 30% of calories from total fat, no more than 10% of calories from other fat and low levels of cholesterol — this blend of fats can support healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.
"Smart Balance is an extremely popular and visible brand that’s known for offering heart healthier alternatives," said Garrett Smith, president of Jolly Time Pop Corn. "Consumers across the country trust the Smart Balance name, and we are proud to offer popcorn lovers these new additions to the Jolly Time lineup."
"Millions of U.S. consumers are looking for new ways to eliminate trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, and hydrogenated oils from their diets," said Amy Fischl, a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "Jolly Time Pop Corn made with the Smart Balance blend gives health-conscious consumers a better snacking alternative."
Jolly Time Pop Corn is a gluten-free snack and is a good dietary source of whole grains.
New Jolly Time Pop Corn made with the Smart Balance patented blend of oils is now available at select U.S. retailers in three-pack boxes (SRP $2.69) and individual trial bags (SRP 50¢ or 2/$1.00).
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Evol Foods markets products through Target
BOULDER, Colo. — Evol Foods is marketing its line of natural and organic frozen meals and snacks through Target stores around the country, the company said Tuesday.
The Boulder, Colo.-based packaged-food maker said it would promote the products by offering discounts, which started Sunday and will run through June 15, allowing customers to purchase two frozen entree bowls for $7 and two frozen burritos for $4.
"Our partnership with Target marks an exciting time for Evol Foods as we expand and grow," COO Phil Anson said. "We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share our love of food with the Target community and provide shoppers with real food that is not only all-natural and healthy, but convenient and, perhaps most important, delicious."