Optimizing Medication Therapy & Improving Outcomes

September 24, 2015

Heart Disease in Women: Different Than in Men?

Coronary heart disease, which is the most common type of heart disease, is the number-one killer of women in the United States. Awareness of the prevalence of heart disease in women is increasing, but awareness is lower in younger women and in minorities. It has been suggested that women are being misdiagnosed because their symptoms may differ from those experienced by men. However, a recent study in which heart-attack diagnoses were made based on chest-pain characteristics (CPCs) such as location of pain/discomfort, onset and degree of pain, and pain radiation to other parts of the body concluded that these parameters alone are not powerful enough to confirm diagnosis. Sex-specific differences in CPC symptoms among women and men are subjective, and the exact differences remain unclear. Read more.

Pharmacogenomics in Women's Health

Pharmacogenomics, relating genetics to pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, is a rapidly expanding field that can be applied to drug and dosage selection. Pharmacogenomic biomarkers (e.g., proteins) used for drug selection and dosage alteration are found in the package labeling for many drugs. The use of these biomarkers can lead to improved drug efficacy while decreasing or avoiding the risk of adverse drug reactions. Examples of the application of pharmacogenomic biomarkers in diseases prevalent in women are presented. Pharmacists will be viewed as drug-gene interaction experts and must understand the application of pharmacogenomic information. Read more.

Contribution to Breast Cancer Prevention for Women: A Challenge for Pharmacists

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, second only to lung cancer, among American women. However, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989 due to earlier detection through screening, increased awareness, and treatment improvement. Besides being costly and toxic, breast cancer treatment is not 100% effective; therefore, clinicians should focus on prevention, such as risk factor reduction and/or use of chemoprevention. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a new guideline about using certain medications (tamoxifen or raloxifene) to prevent breast cancer in women. Since the use of chemoprevention is very low for eligible women, pharmacists can play an important role in educating women about the benefits versus risks of chemoprevention including benefit-risk evaluations, proper medications, dosing, indications, adverse effects, and drug interactions. Read more.

Medication Therapy Management in the News

No Neurodevelopmental Effects Found With SSRI Use During Pregnancy

Antidepressants used during pregnancy do not appear to have any long-term neurodevelopmental or behavioral effects on the unborn child. Read more.

Side Effects of Finasteride, Dutasteride Likely Are Understated

The common treatment for benign prostate hyperplasia and androgenetic alopecia, 5a-reductase inhibitors, appear to have more and longer-lasting side effects than generally assumed. Read more

Dexamethasone Added to Antibiotics Improves Pediatric Septic Arthritis Care

With a short course of adjuvant dexamethasone, children with septic arthritis showed show earlier improvement in clinical and laboratory parameters than those treated with antibiotics alone. Read more.

Common Blood Pressure Drug More Beneficial Than Thought

Beta-blockers may be even more beneficial than previously known following a heart attack according to a study in the journal Cell Death Discovery. Read more.