November 2013

Uniformed Pharmacists Take Half of Next Generation Pharmacist Awards

By Annette M. Boyle LAS VEGAS, NV — Of the 30 finalists in this year’s Next Generation Pharmacist awards, 30% worked in military or public health pharmacies, the strongest representation seen in the awards program. Even more telling, uniformed pharmacists… Read More

Fixing healthcare and fixing the economy are two sides of the same coin

“Fixing healthcare and fixing the economy are two sides of the same coin.” — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) As I ponder this editorial, the country is in the grip of its second day of government shutdown. I cannot help but… Read More

VA Backlog Elimination Slowed, Not Stopped by Government Shutdown

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Despite dire warnings by VA officials, last month’s 16-day government shutdown did not halt progress on eliminating VA’s disability claims backlog. In fact,the number of pending claims list declined despite the appropriations cut-off, although the… Read More

First-in-Class Product Approved for Rosacea-Caused Facial Redness

FT. WORTH, TX — The first treatment for facial erythema in adults caused by rosacea has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Galderma Laboratories announced the approval of Mirvaso (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33%* for the topical treatment of… Read More

Expanded Options Available for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

SUMMIT, NJ — The approved uses of Abraxane — paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension, albumin-bound — have been expanded by the Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer in late stages. “Patients with pancreatic cancer… Read More

New Therapy Approved for Adults Suffering Major Depressive Disorder

DEERFIELD, IL — Brintellix (vortioxetine) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). “Major depressive disorder can be disabling and can keep a person from functioning normally,” said Mitchell Mathis, MD,… Read More

How Effective is Pay-for-Performance In Improving VA Healthcare Outcomes?

By Brenda L. Mooney Laura Petersen, MD, MPH HOUSTON — Should pay-for-performance be more widely used to incentivize VA clinicans to improve healthcare quality? That was the question raised by a new study finding that modest financial incentives paid to… Read More

Legislators Call on VA to Stop Over-Prescription of Powerful Painkillers

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In the wake of accusations that veterans are over-prescribed powerful painkillers, a House of Representatives subcommittee chairman called on VA to adopt more effective pain management protocols.  “The stakes are too high for VA to… Read More

New ‘Roadmap’ Seeks Better Tools for PTSD, TBI, Suicide Research

By Sandra Basu FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The newly released National Research Action Plan has created a “common roadmap” for federal agencies to tackle mental health research to include PTSD, TBI and suicide, DoD and VA officials said recently. “It… Read More

Proteinuria Lowering Can Adversely Affect Some CKD Patients

MEMPHIS, TN — Proteinuria-lowering interventions in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) should be implemented cautiously, considering the potential for adverse outcomes, according to a new study led by researchers from the Memphis, TN, VAMC. According to the report,… Read More

New Model Helps Predict ESRD Onset

MINNEAPOLIS — A newly-developed risk model can be used to predict the occurrence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and appropriately prepare for renal replacement therapy in veterans with advanced chronic kidney disease, according to a new study. “A new model… Read More

‘Ideal’ Blood Pressure Not Always Best for CKD Patients

MEMPHIS, TN — What’s considered ideal blood pressure measurement in most situations actually was linked with higher mortality rates in chronic kidney disease compared with patients with moderately elevated BP. A study led by Csaba P. Kovesdy, MD, chief of… Read More

New Bill: VA Must Provide for Veterans Seeking Outside Mental Health Services

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Amid controversy about treatment backlogs at some medical centers, VA recently announced a new initiative to ensure timely healthcare, including mental healthcare, to its veteran patients. The program also supplements care in a new area… Read More

VA Provides Racially Equitable Lung Cancer Care

DURHAM, NC –  The VA healthcare system is providing racially equitable care in terms of time to initiation of treatment and referral to supportive care for lung cancer patients, according to a new analysis.1 Researchers from the Center of Excellence… Read More

Veterans Overwhelmingly Want Lung Cancer Screening

CHARLESTON, SC – Nearly all surveyed veterans said they would be interested in being scanned for lung cancer and would willingly undergo surgery if the disease were diagnosed, according to a study published recently in the journal Chest. With lung… Read More

Low Radiation Scans Detect Very Early Lung Cancer

PHILADELPHIA – Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can be extremely valuable for identifying tiny lung nodules which can indicate the earliest stages of lung cancer, according to a study of veterans at high risk of the disease.1 The study, presented this… Read More

VA Patients’ Special Challenges Often Reduce Glioblastoma Survival

By Annette M. Boyle David Cory Adamson, MD ATLANTA — Because of unique challenges faced by many veterans treated at VA, their median survival rate with Stage IV glioblastoma multiforme is half that reported by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillancel Epidemiology… Read More

Emphasizing Tradition to Reduce Diabetes in American Indians/Alaska Natives

By Annette M. Boyle Judy Goforth Parker, PhD, RN TAHLEQUAH, OK – Fifty years ago, the Cherokee had no word for diabetes. Today, American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults have 2.3 times the risk of developing diabetes, and AI/AN… Read More

Hypoglycemia Poses Risk for All Blood Glucose Levels in Diabetes

By Annette M. Boyle Candis Morello, PharmD SAN DIEGO — For the more than one million veterans with diabetes, recent research raises new concerns about the risks of severe low blood glucose levels or hypoglycemia. In clinical trials, hypoglycemia occurs… Read More

Conference Cancellations Push DoD, VA Clinicians to Find Other CME Sources

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — With stricter oversight of government conference spending, medical and pharmacy components within DoD and VA are working to ensure providers are still getting their necessary continuing medical education. “In response to government-wide financial constraints on… Read More