A new study has found that many people who stopped taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were also taking an average of three other drugs that interfered with the normal metabolism of the statins.
The other drugs can contribute to a common side effect of taking statins – muscle pain – and often led people to discontinue use of a medication that could otherwise help save their life, researchers learned.
The interactions of many drugs with statins have been known of for some time, researchers said, but are not being adequately managed by physicians and pharmacists, who could often choose different medications or adjust dosages to retain the value of statin drugs without causing this side effect.
The research, done as part of a survey of more than 10,000 current and former statin users, found that use of medications which interfere with statin metabolism almost doubles the chance that a person will discontinue statin use due to muscle pain.
The issue is of growing importance because statin drugs are some of the most widely used medications in the world, proven to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and decrease the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and death. About 20 million people in the U.S. now take statins, and new guidelines have just been issued to further expand the types of health conditions for which statins may be of benefit. Based on those guidelines, the number of statin users could increase to more than 30 million.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology by scientists from Oregon State University and four other universities or research institutes.
“We’ve known for some time of many medications that can interact with statins, but only now is it becoming clear that this is a significant contributor to the side effects, and often the reason some patients stop taking statins,” said Matt Ito, a professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy and president of the National Lipid Association, which funded this study.
“This issue is something physicians, pharmacists and patients all need to be more aware of,” Ito said. “There’s a lot we can do besides discontinue use of these valuable medications. You can change dosages, use drugs that don’t cause interactions, use different types of statins. Patients need to be proactive in understanding this issue and working with their health care providers to address it.”
Persons who have problems taking statins should discuss options with their physicians or pharmacists, Ito said, and not assume the drug has be to discontinued. A Medscape web site at http://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker also can help individuals learn more about possible interactions between statins and the full range of medications they may be taking.
Statins are usually well-tolerated, but in the recent survey, a muscle-related side effect was reported by 29 percent of participants. In former statin users, 62 percent of the people said that side effects, mostly muscle pain, were the reason they stopped taking the drugs.
There are many drugs that can interfere with statin metabolism, increase systemic exposure to the statin and raise the risk of this muscle pain, the researchers said in their report. This can include some common antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, and others taken for treatment of cancer, mental health, HIV treatment and other conditions.
These interactions are not always adequately considered by physicians and pharmacists, however. One recent report found that as many as 20 percent of significant statin-drug interactions were missed in 64 pharmacies.
Besides drug interactions, statin side effects are also more common in women and associated with increasing age, history of cardiovascular disease, and some other conditions. Statin discontinuation has been associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and death.
About the OSU College of Pharmacy: The College of Pharmacy prepares students of today to be the pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical sciences researchers of tomorrow by contributing to improved health, advancing patient care and the discovery and understanding of medicines.
Study by Harvard Medical School Researchers Examines Senior Living’s Role in Changing Health Care System
Individuals in senior living communities require an array of health and supportive services to maintain an optimum quality of life. Often, these older adults receive fragmented care through multiple providers and payers, resulting in unnecessary health care expenditures and lower quality-of-care. To address these challenges, Brookdale is partnering with researchers at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and other senior living industry peers to establish the Assisted Living Sector Healthcare Policy Research Fund.
“This support allows us to examine what role senior living providers have in the new models of care that have emerged under health care reform,” says David Grabowski, PhD, professor of health care policy at HMS, who is leading this research study.
Grabowski and his team will examine whether providing more comprehensive, coordinated services in the senior living sector reduces the need for Medicare-paid services and Medicaid-financed nursing home services.
According to Will Clark, Brookdale’s senior vice president of strategy and brand and a member of the HMS Health Care Policy Advisory Council, society’s ability to meet the needs of an aging population is an important political, economic, clinical, and social imperative.
“Harvard’s reputation for tackling some of health care’s biggest challenges and generating meaningful insights that shape our nation’s policy is unparalleled. We are confident Dr. Grabowski and his colleagues’ research will be influential in determining the appropriate role senior living can and should play in our evolving health care system,” Clark said.
Brookdale’s goals for this effort are to create awareness for the potential senior living has to positively impact the health, well-being and overall cost of care for seniors; to identify barriers to creating more integration among senior living and the health care system; influence policy; and identify innovative models that integrate senior living with our health care system.
The initiative is funded through a cumulative contribution of $150,000 from Brookdale and eight other senior living providers — Atria Senior Living, Elmcroft Senior Living, Emeritus Senior Living, Erickson Living, HCP, Inc., Health Care REIT, Inc., Sunrise Senior Living, and Ventas, Inc. Together, these organizations hope to begin a dialogue among health care providers, policy makers, regulators, and consumers on the value of senior living and its role in creating an integrated, outcomes-driven health care system.
The study will occur in two phases. The first phase will consist of analyzing the role of assisted living in new payment-delivery models and presenting a conceptual model of how an integrated model might work, as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with such an approach. Building on the results of the first phase, the second phase of the project will consist of primary data work and potentially the development of a pilot program.
For additional information about the study, contact David Cameron, HarvardMedicalSchool’s director of science communications, at 617-432-0441 or email@example.com.
For more information about Brookdale, visit www.brookdale.com.
Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is a leading owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the United States. The Company is committed to providing senior living solutions within properties that are designed, purpose-built and operated with the highest-quality service, care and living accommodations for residents. Currently, Brookdale operates independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers, with more than 650 communities in 36 states and the ability to serve approximately 67,000 residents. Through its Innovative Senior Care program, the Company also offers a range of outpatient therapy, home health, personalized living and hospice services. For more information, visit http://www.brookdale.com.
Contact: Andrea Turner, 615-564-6829, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Amir Bacchus
The annual election period during which seniors can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans began on Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. During this open enrollment period, many of Nevada’s senior citizens will assess their health care needs and weigh their options carefully to determine whether a Medicare Advantage plan is right for them.
As a physician and the chief medical officer of HealthCare Partners Medical Group, I have a great deal of knowledge and experience related to Medicare Advantage plans, and I urge seniors to make informed decisions this fall.
Medicare Advantage plans can be an excellent choice for seniors without private supplemental insurance, as many offer improved access to coordinated care and protection against high out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to what is known as Medicare Fee-For-Service or “original Medicare.” Medicare Advantage plans typically provide prescription drug coverage and eliminate the need to purchase a Medigap policy. The premiums tend to be lower than you would pay by purchasing original Medicare, Part D (prescription drug coverage) and Medigap separately.
When comparing Medicare Advantage plans, it is essential to consider the costs, benefits and health care provider choices within each available plan. You should take time to learn about the “in-network” providers associated with the health insurance plan. It is important to know whether the providers have a reputation for offering high-quality, coordinate care and if they have a large enough network to meet your health care needs. Finally, you should also consider access to the primary care physicians, specialists and other providers you use on a regular basis under each plan. Consistency of care has numerous benefits, especially for those who feel comfortable with their current health care providers.
When considering your coverage options this fall, pick the plan that works best for you. It’s a big decision, and I hope seniors explore their options during this year’s enrollment period.
Dr. Amir Bacchus is the chief medical officer and co-founder of HealthCare Partners Medical Group. Bacchus received his M.D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1993 and is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Recovering from Hip Replacement Surgery
One of the most complex joints in the human body is the hip. In order for the thighbone to move smoothly and normally in the socket, the body must have healthy cartilage and adequate joint fluid.
Disruption of this system — disintegrating cartilage, fluid imbalance, fractures, etc. — can cause the joint to swell, bringing severe pain and stiffness that makes daily activities and work almost impossible. Osteoarthritis, overuse of the joint, injury and other medical conditions can cause these problems.
If physical therapy and medication do not control hip pain or improve mobility, doctors may consider one of two surgical options. One treatment is hip resurfacing, a procedure that caps the ball of the joint with a metal prosthesis and replaces the socket. The other treatment option is hip replacement, a procedure that replaces the original joint with an artificial one.
Hip Replacement Surgery and Complications
Hip replacement surgery is a very serious procedure that requires a lot of preparation on the patient’s end. In addition, it is important that recovery plans and follow-up treatment are tailored carefully to the needs of the patient to ensure safe and effective healing. Without a proper recovery plan, complications and additional surgeries could follow.
The most common complications from hip replacement surgery are infection and blood clots. To reduce the risk of infection, patients are usually given antibiotics after surgery. To prevent blood clots, health care providers may choose medication and/or physical therapy.
Some patients experience complications with the hip implants themselves. Implants with two or more metal parts, including some made by manufacturers Biomet and DePuy, can lead to metal poisoning and other severe complications. Zimmer manufactures the Durom Cup, which can come loose and cause serious pain. Patients need to contact their surgeon right away if they have any serious complications after hip surgery.
After hip replacement surgery, it is important to do mild strengthening exercises, such as contracting and releasing the leg muscles, and short pumps of the ankles. However, patients must limit the movement of their hips. Exercises should be initially performed with a physical therapist, and then at home after proper instruction has been given.
Patients should plan ahead to have family and/or friends assist them at home for at least the first week or two after hip replacement. In addition, patients will not be allowed to drive for up to four weeks and will need to plan transportation to doctor appointments, physical therapy and the grocery store.
After hip replacement, patients should avoid using lotions or oils on the hip area, especially around or near the incision. Keeping the area dry is important in order for the incision area to heal properly. Within one to two months, physical activities and daily routines should start to return to normal, however, these activities should be resumed gradually to avoid falls and other injuries that might damage the hip again.
Slow walks with leverage from a crutch or cane can be helpful during recovery. Patients should avoid steps, hills and slopes. Routine visits to the physician should occur at three, six and 12 weeks, as well as six and 12 months after surgery.
Jennifer Mesko is the managing editor of Drugwatch.com. She keeps the public informed about the latest medical news, recalls and FDA warnings.
Filed under: Health and Home Care, Press-Media Releases
There’s No Place Like Home
By Michael Clark
If you are on Medicare and have had a recent hospital stay, experts say there is about a 1-in-5 chance you will find yourself back in the hospital again within a month. Hospital readmissions are not only expensive they are hard on both patients and families. According to analysts, three-fourths of these readmissions are potentially avoidable.
Now, the Nevada Partnership for Value-driven Healthcare (NPV) has an initiative with an ultimate goal of reducing these hospital readmissions by at least 10%. The No Place Like Home Campaign is being implemented in Nevada by HealthInsight, the state’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization.
Typically, problems begin when patients receive inadequate preparation for discharge from the hospital. The handover from the hospital to outpatient providers is poorly handled, and patients and their family caregivers are left to cope on their own with medical issues that they don’t understand. In fact, only about half of discharged patients follow up with their primary-care physicians after they leave the hospital, and those who don’t are much more likely to be readmitted than those who do see a doctor.
“Have we properly prepared the patient for a return home?” asks Deborah Huber, executive director of the non-profit organization HealthInsight, a prominent member of the NPV. “Poor communication is at the heart of the problem.”
Huber points out that too often people released from hospital care do not know when to go to their primary-care doctor, or which medications to take, or the costs involved. Making matters worse, there are no clear lines of authority. As a result, the system sets these individuals up to fail and creates a dangerous situation for patients, according to Brian Jack, an expert on hospital engineering.
In one study, for example, 78 percent of patients discharged from the ER did not understand their diagnosis, their ER treatment, home care instructions, or warnings signs of when to return to the hospital. Health care providers are partly responsible for this lack of comprehension.
IHI, a Boston-based nonprofit organization, advises hospitals and other institutions to use a patient-centered approach that looks at post-discharge care through a patient’s eyes. By doing “deep dives” into several patient histories, IHI says, and finding out why the patients were readmitted, it’s possible to understand where the entire process falls short and begin to fix it.
Another area that needs improvement has to do with what is called the transitions of care…do the health care providers receiving the patient know what the ones sending the patient home knows? “The patient gets stuck in the middle. They don’t know what to do,” Huber noted. And what about Advanced Planning…end of life care? Have patients and their families made these ultimate decisions? If not, these issues must be addressed. What if patients don’t want to go back to the hospital? Are they aware of what palliative care or hospice can do? “Medicare provides a good hospice benefit. The whole family can benefit from that.”
Here the goal is to make someone as comfortable as possible and give family members the support they need to help them through this difficult time. “These are the type of things I see every day with my home health patients, I see where patients would not have to return to acute if the goals set here could be obtained,” said Lucia Cleveland a home health occupational therapist.
HealthInsight’s goal is to reduce 30-day readmissions by 20% by October 2013. Finally, Huber observes “this is a community problem, not merely a hospital problem.” This community effort will produce sustainable and replicable strategies to achieve high-value health care for individuals in our communities and save potentially millions of dollars in healthcare costs.
“One way we support this statewide community effort is through a web-based campaign where providers, payers, and patients can pledge their support and become an active participant,” noted Jackie Buttaccio, HealthInsight’s Quality Improvement Manager. “The website is a one stop shop for all things readmissions with resources and tools that can be downloaded, and local success stories can be shared. “ The address is http://noplacelikehomenv.com
HealthInsight also supports this work through face to face workshops for providers to learn more about what they can change about their systems of care to keep patients safe from an avoidable hospital readmission.
Community Partners for Better Health (CPBH) is hosting the 8th Annual Choose and Move Festival on Saturday, September 8, 2012, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Doolittle Community Center, 1950 North J Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. We invite you to join us as an exhibitor at this educational, interactive, and fun event. The festival has proven to be a very popular event for health care providers, health care agencies and Southern Nevada residents. With more than 200 participants last year, we anticipate new additions will draw over 300 people to the event.
The festival encourages our community to adopt healthier lifestyles especially when it comes to regular physical activity and selecting more nutritious foods. Festival planners include the Southern Nevada Health District, City of North Las Vegas, Governor’s Office for Consumer Health Assistance, Clark County Fire Department, 100 Black Men-Las Vegas Chapter, Las Vegas Metro Police Department, American Lung Association, HealthInsight, Nathan Adelson Hospice and numerous other community stakeholders. The festival will feature a variety of free and low-cost health screenings, healthy food demonstrations and information, and free physical activity classes including African dance, belly dance, Latin dance, hula, and Zumba. Additionally, we are working with Jump for Joy Foundation to offer physical activities for our younger attendees.
Attached you will find an exhibitor registration form. We truly appreciate your consideration to participate in the event. We believe that you will find involvement beneficial to your organization’s mission and to the community you serve. You are a valuable resource in helping our community citizens live healthy lives and make positive health choices. The planning committee is developing a strategy to engage attendees more fully with vendors. Look for more on this in July.
If you have questions, please call Community Partners for Better Health, at 702- 256-2724 or Jackie Knudsen, Choose & Move Co-Chairman at 702-755-9035 or email: email@example.com
HealthCare Partners Nevada is a network of more than 200 primary care physicians and more than 1,300 specialists. With medical clinics and specialty care affiliates throughout Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Pahrump, HealthCare Partners Nevada (HCPNV) is committed to delivering the highest quality of care to all our patients.
Through our total care model, HealthCare Partners provides patient centered comprehensive primary care, specialty, and urgent care services. Founded in 1996, HealthCare Partners Nevada is an affiliate of HealthCare Partners LLC with offices in California, Florida and Nevada.
At HealthCare Partners we approach your health with Total Care. Our mission is to deliver the highest quality care to all our patients. We do this by offering you complete access to our services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also accommodate same-day appointments.
Our health care providers are ready and able to offer expert care when you need it most. While our mission is to deliver the best possible care for our patients, our promise is to provide the personal attention you deserve. It is our pleasure to ensure your individual healthcare needs are met.
When you choose HealthCare Partners, you are choosing to manage your health through what we call our Total Care Model. Total care means that you are actively involved with a team of healthcare professionals lead by your primary care physician who is responsible for coordinating your care and ensuring the best outcome possible for your medical needs.
HealthCare Partners is continually adding medical specialties to our team of healthcare professionals, including cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and podiatry.
Cardiologists are doctors with special training and skill in finding, treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Click here to find a HealthCare Partners Medical Group cardiologists.
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Repair
- Atrial Fibrillation Management
- Cardiac Catheterization /Angiography
- Cardiovascular Disease Management
- Carotid Ultrasonography
- Catheter Ablation (CA)
- Cholesterol Management And Testing
- Coagulation Monitoring
- Coronary Angioplasty/Stenting
- Doppler Ultrasound
- Echocardiography (Echo)
- Electrophysiological Studies (EPS)
- Gated Blood Pooling Imaging
- Heart Rhythm Management
- Holter/Event Monitoring
- Implantable Cardioverter /Defribrillator (ICD)
- Laser Lead Extractions
- Nuclear Cardiac Imaging
- Patent Foramen Ovale Repair (PFO)
- Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Rotational Atherectomy (PCTRA)
- Peripheral Vascular Disease Management And Testing
- Peripheral Vascular Interventions
- Permanent Pacemaker Implantation
- Stress Testing
- Structural Heart Disease
- T-Wave Alternans
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
- Transesophageal Echocardiography
- Ventricular Septal Defect Repair (VSD)
- Women And Heart Disease
Endocrinologists are doctors that focus on the medical aspects of hormones and their associated diseases and conditions. Endocrine disorders may include: cholesterol disorders, coronary artery disease, diabetes, hormone replacement therapy, hypertension, hypoglycemia, obesity, osteoporosis, reproductive medicine and thyroid disorders.
Dermatologists are doctors that specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
Internal medicine specialists are doctors that focus on adult medicine and have had special study and training focusing on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. Internists are sometimes referred to as the “doctor’s doctor”, because they are often called upon to act as consultants to other physicians to help solve puzzling diagnostic problems.
Pediatricians are doctors that focus on babies, children, adolescents, and young adults from birth to age 21. Pediatricians manage the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their patients in every stage of development.
Podiatrists are doctors that diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.