Thursday, March 29, 2012

Patients in Clinical Drug Trials

When it comes to clinical trials of prescription drugs, Consumer Health Information Corporation recommends that patient adherence must be higher than the general public. If it’s lower, people taking the recommended dose could be taking one that’s too high, which could lead to toxicity and unexpected drug effects.  

When people take the recommended dosing of a drug, they assume it’s the right amount and safe.  

The last 20 years of research on patient adherence in clinical trials have been reviewed by Dr. Dorothy L. Smith, and she has found that up to 30 percent of clinical trial patients are not taking the full dose or missing them altogether. In order to find the safest dose, study investigators say it’s very important that patient adherence in clinical trials need to be higher than that of the general population.  

Unfortunately, some people participating in clinical trials like to please the study team when it comes to giving feedback. Some do not report that they had missed doses, and others just don’t give honest answers. The findings come from the decisions the study patients make and their behavior.  

Depending on the results from tests, the dose recommended for the public could be too high.  

According to the article from PRWEB, there are things that can be done in the clinical trials that would help protect the public.   

Study patients should feel comfortable and safe in order to provide honest feedback about the trials. Study investigators could make it easier for study patients to remember their role in the research, such as reminding them to take their doses texts, Smartphone Apps, diaries and detailed instructions. Also, information given to study patients needs to be easy to read and understand.

Therefore, clinical trial investigators need to develop a strategy where honest answers are given, and one where study patient adherence is higher than the general public.  

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

ICU Bed Shortages

According to an article from Reuters, a study performed in France has discovered that more seriously ill patients can die when there is a shortage of beds in intensive care units.  

The study found that over the span of three months, 15 percent of the 1,332 patients referred to the hospitals’ ICUs were turned away, all because there were no available beds. The focus was on 10 hospitals in western France.  

In some cases, people were turned away because they did not look or seem “sick enough.” All of the patients who had been turned away had a higher risk of dying than those who got into the ICU right away.  

According to the study, 33 percent of patients who were turned away died within the next 60 days, versus 27 percent of those who were admitted into the ICU immediately.  

There were 193 patients who were turned away from the ICU in this study because of bed shortages. Later on, the majority were later admitted. However, 65 patients were never admitted.  

The study suggests that the shortage of ICU beds is leading to preventable deaths.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Breast Cancer Screening

Despite the U.S. Preventive Task Force suggesting that women get mammography screenings starting at age 50, a consensus among leading organizations believe that the best age to begin annual mammograms is at 40. 
According to an article from UCLA, breast cancers that go untreated are more likely to spread to other parts of the body, so regular screenings are very important.  

The goal of a mammography screening is to find breast cancers before they are large enough to be identified and detected in a clinical exam.  

In the article, Lawrence Bassett, M.D. from the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging says that between the ages of 40 and 50, about 15 percent of breast cancers occur.

Women who are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer should begin getting screenings sooner than age 40. Those who have a strong family history of breast cancer or know that they carry mutations on their BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes may be recommended to get screened every six months.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

National Patient Safety Foundation: Ask Me 3

Ask Me 3 is a patient education program that was developed from the National Patient Safety Foundation. Below are three questions that every patient should ask their doctor so they can understand what is going on.

1. What is my main problem?
2. What do I need to do?
3. Why is it important for me to do this?

Side Effects for Cholesterol Drugs

Rare risks of memory loss, muscle pain, and diabetes have now been added to the prescribing information for cholesterol-reducing drugs, also known as statins.

Among the drugs with the risks are Lipitor, Crestor, Vytorin and Zocor. Statin use has now officially been linked to cognitive problems by the Food and Drug Administration, citing forgetfulness and confusion as some of the risks. 

According to an article from The New York Times, 21 million patients were prescribed statins just last year alone in the United States.  

Federal officials have said that people should not be scared by the newly published information on statins; they still have great value when it comes to preventing heart disease.  

The FDA has received reports on how patients have noticed feeling “fuzzy” or unfocused after taking statin drugs. The new reports on the rare risks associated with cholesterol drugs have been noted in all age groups and with all statin drugs.  

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If You Feel OK, Maybe You Are

Early diagnosing has become a fundamental aspect of modern medicine. Early screening can tell if patients have any medical problems, such as cancer or heart disease. And when something is in fact found, it’s better to catch and deal with problems then not knowing at all, right? 

From The Opinion Pages off of The New York Times website, “is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health? The truth is, the fastest way to get heart disease, autism, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular problems, osteoporosis or cancer ... is to be screened for it. In other words, the problem is overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”  

Although early screening can save lives, it also drags many people into the system for no good reason. People are expected to go through needless tests, appointments, and operations.  

According to the article, “This process doesn’t promote health; it promotes disease. People suffer from more anxiety about their health, from drug side effects, from complications of surgery. A few die. And remember: these people felt fine when they entered the health care system.” 

Before early screening was encouraged, people used to visit the doctor to see what was wrong with them if they were experiencing medical problems. Today, people go to the doctor to stay healthy and then learn that they have an issue.  

By turning people into patients, as stated in the article, a lot of money can be made for the pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and hospitals just by performing preventive screenings.  

To read the entire article, click here. 

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.