Jillene Magill-Lewis, RPh, is a medical writer based in the Seattle area.
Caution: Heparin errors can have fatal resultsApril 2nd 2007
Last September, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) reported an incident that occurred at a Midwestern hospital. A pharmacy technician had stocked an automated dispensing cabinet with heparin 10,000 units/ml vials in a drawer reserved for heparin 10 units/ml. The nurses retrieving the vials did not notice the discrepancy in strength and used the 10,000 units/ml heparin for umbilical line flushes of six premature infants. Three of the babies died of heparin overdose.
New drugs join guidelines for multiple myelomaJanuary 22nd 2007
Multiple myeloma (MM) is not curable, according to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), but it is treatable. The MM panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has added several drugs and drug combinations to the MM guidelines. Bortezomib (Velcade, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson), lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene), and melphalan (Alkeran, GlaxoSmithKline) are all included in several combinations with cortico-steroids and other chemotherapy drugs. Lenalidomide is also recommended as single-agent treatment for salvage therapy.
Washington State weighs limiting narcotic dosesJanuary 8th 2007
Deaths associated with opioid use have been on the rise in Washington State. In Seattle and surrounding King County, for example, opioid-related deaths increased by 40% between 2003 and 2004, according to Caleb Banta-Green, MPH, MSW, a research scientist for the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington. Banta-Green reported that the increase in opioid-related deaths coincided with an increased rate of opioid prescriptions for the treatment of chronic pain.
Dasatinib added to guideline for CMLNovember 20th 2006
Dasatinib (Sprycel, Bristol-Myers Squibb) is a new tyrosine kinase inhibitor for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The Food & Drug Administration approved the drug in June, and now the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has added dasatinib to its CML guidelines.
Metabolic syndrome and cardiodiabetes: Similar, but not the sameOctober 9th 2006
Studies have found that diabetes is closely linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD). With this being the case, "the trend is to look more and more at the factors that cause cardiovascular problems," according to R. Keith Campbell, B.Pharm., CDE, MBA, professor of pharmacy at Washington State University College of Pharmacy.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in America. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans. Doesn't it seem odd, then, that there is currently only one drug indicated to treat stroke? What's more, fewer than 5% of stroke patients ever receive this drug, according to the American Stroke Association (ASA). There are dozens of drugs for heart disease and cancer. Where are the drugs for stroke?
New combination therapies aim at preventing colon cancerNovember 22nd 2004
At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Seattle meeting in October, researchers focused on prevention strategies for cancer. Presenters were particularly excited about the potential for new combination therapies to prevent colorectal cancer.
COPING WITH CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASESeptember 27th 2004
According to the National Institute of Diabetes & Di-gestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), over seven million adult Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD). The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) estimates that more than 20 million people actually have CKD, and that an equal number are at risk of developing the disease. In 1991, there were about 201,000 Ameri-cans with end-stage renal disease (ESRD); by 2001, the number had reached 406,000.