December 2014 Focus

In this Issue:

Focus on HIV-HCV

New Treatments Offer More Options, Fewer Side Effects for HIV-Infected Veterans

Despite High Costs, VA Makes Sure Veterans Have Access to Newest HCV Drugs

Pharmacy Update

Partnerships, Drive-Throughs Seek to Increase Veterans’ Flu Immunization

Gout Clinical Consult

Allopurinol Reduces Death Rate in Gout Patients

Dermatology Clinical Consult

Consensus Report Touts Lasers for Scar Treatment

U.S. MEDICINE NEWS UPDATE

Skin Cancer Risk High During Deployment
NASHVILLE – Military personnel deployed abroad in climates such as Afghanistan and Iraq have increased risk factors for skin cancer, according to a new study. The increased risk is especially serious when servicemembers serve in tropical and sunny climates, according to a presentation at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin. Researchers from the Tennessee Valley VA Healthcare System and Vanderbilt University conducted a retrospective study of about 200 veterans and found that 62% of military personnel reported getting sunburned while deployed abroad, including cases of skin blistering. More
http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-defense-dod/skin-cancer-risk-high-during-deployment/

FOCUS ON HIV-HCV

David Rimland

New Treatments Offer More Options, Fewer Side Effects for HIV-Infected Veterans
ATLANTA – Therapeutic options for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continue to expand, enabling more veterans to begin treatment with fewer adverse side effects and far less complicated regimens than even a few years ago. Furthermore, with HIV, unlike many other conditions, dissemination of information on new treatments is extremely rapid. That’s good news for the more than 24,000 HIV-infected veterans who receive healthcare through the VA. Recent studies may bring even better tidings to veterans who have been unable to take or tolerate the most common combinations of HIV medications. More
http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-veterans-affairs/new-treatments-offer-more-options-fewer-side-effects-for-hiv-infected-veterans/

Despite High Costs, VA Makes Sure Veterans Have Access to Newest HCV Drugs
WASHINGTON – While commercial insurers responded to the approval of the breakthrough drug sofosbuvir for hepatitis C (HCV) by implementing prescribing restrictions, limiting use to the sickest patients and charging higher co-pays because of the drug’s expense, the VA has left use of the drug up to the physician and patient to determine. VA guidelines issued in May recommend use of the drug for treatment of HCV genotypes 1, 2 or 3 with or without co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As of September, 5,500 veterans have taken sofosbuvir. More
http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-veterans-affairs/despite-high-costs-va-makes-sure-veterans-have-access-to-newest-hcv-drugs/

PHARMACY UPDATE
Partnerships, Drive-Throughs Seek to Increase Veterans’ Flu Immunization
SAN FRANCISCO – The VA typically has influenza vaccination rates well above the national average but is trying some innovative measures to do even better. As part of the effort to increase immunizations, particularly among higher-risk veterans, the agency recently announced a national partnership with Walgreens to enable veterans to receive a flu shot at any of the chain’s retail pharmacies. Overall, more than 70% of veterans receive influenza immunizations each year, but the VA wants to increase the rate to more than 90% among high-risk individuals. More
http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-defense-dod/partnerships-drive-throughs-seek-to-increase-veterans-flu-immunization/
GOUT CLINICAL CONSULT

Allopurinol Reduces Death Rate in Gout Patients
BOSTON – Despite fears of a rare but potentially fatal adverse reaction with use of allopurinol, the drug modestly reduces risk of death in patients with hyperuricemia and gout, according to a recent study. The article, published recently in The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, noted that gout itself has been associated with an increased risk of premature death and that the rare reaction to allopurinol, which can lead to death, affects only about 1 in 260 allopurinol users. Despite reluctance among some physicians to prescribe the drug because of the possiblity of severe skin reactions, it remains one of the most widely prescribed for gout. More
http://www.usmedicine.com/current-issue/allopurinol-reduces-death-rate-in-gout-patients/

DERMATOLOGY CLINICAL CONSULT

Consensus Report Touts Lasers for Scar Treatment
BOSTON – Patients with disfiguring and debilitating scars suffer poor cosmetic outcomes, restricted motion, pain and itching, despite traditional therapy such as expert wound care. A consensus report published earlier this year in JAMA Dermatology discusses a breakthrough within the past decade in the treatment of traumatic scars and the restoration of function and cosmetic appearance for injured patients, ablative fractional photothermolysis. The study group, led by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital Boston and including representatives from Lackland Air Force Base, TX, and the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, lamented, however, that the procedure is not widely used. More
http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-defense-dod/consensus-report-touts-lasers-for-scar-treatment/

Brenda L. Mooney
Editorial Director, U.S. Medicine
[email protected]
39 York Street
Lambertville, NJ  08530



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