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Concept: Pharmacy


To assess the number of parents who visited community pharmacies in London seeking pain medications for their children’s pain and specifically for oral pain, to identify which health services parents contacted before their pharmacy visit and to estimate the cost to the National Health Service (NHS) when children with oral pain who visit pharmacies also see health professionals outside dentistry.

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Medicine, Health, National Health Service, Pharmacy, Health science, Massachusetts


Pharmacists play a role in providing medication reconciliation. However, data on effectiveness on patients' clinical outcomes appear inconclusive. Thus, the aim of this study was to systematically investigate the effect of pharmacist-led medication reconciliation programmes on clinical outcomes at hospital transitions.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, Medical statistics, Effect, Effectiveness, Meta-analysis, Pharmacy


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between occupational contamination and exposure levels to antineoplastic drugs and the application of control measures in a hospital work environment. Methods : Wipe samples of equipments were collected at a hospital in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, from 2007 to 2011. These samples were subjected to measurements of cyclophosphamide (CP), gemcitabine (GEM), platinum-containing drugs (Pt), and fluorouracil (5FU). Additionally, 24-h urine samples were collected from pharmacists who handled antineoplastic drugs, which were analyzed for CP and alpha-fluoro-beta-alanine (AFBA). The application of control measures was scored according to a checklist, which consisted of the following five items: safety equipment and maintenance, training and documentation, devices for safe handling, personal protective equipment, and emergency care. The aim was to obtain a score of 80%. Results : The median CP, GEM, and 5FU concentrations of all wipe samples were significantly lower during the period when the mean score was >80% (attainment period) versus when the mean score was ≤80% (nonattainment period; all P < 0.001, Mann-Whitney's U-test). Additionally, the median urinary CP and AFBA concentrations of pharmacists during the attainment period tended to be lower than that of those during the nonattainment period (P = 0.061 and 0.061, respectively, using Mann-Whitney's U-test). Conclusions : Contamination and levels of exposure to antineoplastic drugs decreased with a score higher than 80%. The scores of the items on the checklist appeared to adequately reflect the condition of the control measures, as increases in all five items were associated with reductions in the contamination by and levels of exposure to all drugs.

Concepts: Arithmetic mean, Scores, Personal protective equipment, Protection, Pharmacy, Occupational safety and health, Prefectures of Japan, Osaka Prefecture


Taking medications as prescribed is imperative for their effectiveness. In populations such as Medicare, where two thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have at least 2 or more chronic conditions requiring treatment with medications and account for more than 90% of Medicare health care spend, examining ways to improve medication adherence in patients with comorbidities is warranted.

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Medicine, Health insurance, Pharmaceutical drug, Pharmacy, Health science, Diagnosis-related group


Automatic monitoring of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs), defined as adverse patient outcomes caused by medications, is a challenging research problem that is currently receiving significant attention from the medical informatics community. In recent years, user-posted data on social media, primarily due to its sheer volume, has become a useful resource for ADR monitoring. Research using social media data has progressed using various data sources and techniques, making it difficult to compare distinct systems and their performances. In this paper, we perform a methodical review to characterize the different approaches to ADR detection/extraction from social media, and their applicability to pharmacovigilance. In addition, we present a potential systematic pathway to ADR monitoring from social media.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Performance, Adverse drug reaction, Pharmacy, Pharmacovigilance, American Depositary Receipt, Medical informatics


Background Fungal infections are rare complications of injections for treatment of chronic pain. In September 2012, we initiated an investigation into fungal infections associated with injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate that was purchased from a single compounding pharmacy. Methods Three lots of methylprednisolone acetate were recalled by the pharmacy; examination of unopened vials later revealed fungus. Notification of all persons potentially exposed to implicated methylprednisolone acetate was conducted by federal, state, and local public health officials and by staff at clinical facilities that administered the drug. We collected clinical data on standardized case-report forms, and we tested for the presence of fungi in isolates and specimens by examining cultures and performing polymerase-chain-reaction assays and histopathological and immunohistochemical testing. Results As of October 19, 2012, more than 99% of 13,534 potentially exposed persons had been contacted. As of December 10, there were 590 reported cases of infection in 19 states, with 37 deaths (6%). As of November 26, laboratory evidence of Exserohilum rostratum was present in specimens from 100 case patients (17%). Additional data were available for 386 case patients (65%); 300 of these patients (78%) had meningitis. Case patients had received a median of 1 injection (range, 1 to 6) of implicated methylprednisolone acetate. The median age of the patients was 64 years (range, 16 to 92), and the median incubation period was 20 days (range, 0 to 120); 33 patients (9%) had a stroke. Conclusions Analysis of preliminary data from a large multistate outbreak of fungal infections showed substantial morbidity and mortality. The infections were associated with injection of a contaminated glucocorticoid medication from a single compounding pharmacy. Rapid public health actions included prompt recall of the implicated product, notification of exposed persons, and early outreach to clinicians.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Epidemiology, Fungus, Glucocorticoid, Pharmaceutical drug, Pharmacy, Pharmacist, Compounding


Personalized medicine, in modern drug therapy, aims at a tailored drug treatment accounting for inter-individual variations in drug pharmacology to treat individuals effectively and safely. The inter-individual variability in drug response upon drug administration is caused by the interplay between drug pharmacology and the patients' (patho)physiological status. Individual variations in (patho)physiological status may result from genetic polymorphisms, environmental factors (including current/past treatments), demographic characteristics, and disease related factors. Identification and quantification of predictors of inter-individual variability in drug pharmacology is necessary to achieve personalized medicine. Here, we highlight the potential of pharmacometabolomics in prospectively informing on the inter-individual differences in drug pharmacology, including both pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) processes, and thereby guiding drug selection and drug dosing. This review focusses on the pharmacometabolomics studies that have additional value on top of the conventional covariates in predicting drug PK. Additionally, employing pharmacometabolomics to predict drug PD is highlighted, and we suggest not only considering the endogenous metabolites as static variables but to include also drug dose and temporal changes in drug concentration in these studies. Although there are many endogenous metabolite biomarkers identified to predict PK and more often to predict PD, validation of these biomarkers in terms of specificity, sensitivity, reproducibility and clinical relevance is highly important. Furthermore, the application of these identified biomarkers in routine clinical practice deserves notable attention to truly personalize drug treatment in the near future.

Concepts: Scientific method, Pharmacology, Medicine, Prediction, Medicinal chemistry, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacy, Pharmacodynamics


The Italian herbal products market is the most prosperous in Europe. The proof is represented by the use of these products in several marketing categories, ranging from medicine to nutrition and cosmetics. Market and legislation in Italy are at the same time cause and consequence of this peculiar situation. In fact, the legislation on botanical food supplements in Italy is very permissive and at the same time the market shows an overall satisfaction of users and strong feedback in terms of consumption, which brings a widening use of medicinal plants, formerly the prerogative of pharmaceuticals, to other fields such as nutrition. This review summarizes the market and normative panorama of herbal products in Italy, highlighting the blurred boundaries of health indications, marketing authorizations and quality controls between herbal medicines and non pharmaceutical products, such as food supplements, cosmetics and other herbal-based “parapharmaceuticals”.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Botany, Pharmaceutical drug, Herbalism, Herb, Pharmacy, Food and Drug Administration


Patients receiving psychiatric services at community mental health centers (CMHCs) are often prescribed medication that is critical to the treatment of behavioral health conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. Previous studies have shown correlation between rates of medication adherence and risk of hospitalization, but potential differences in medication adherence and other outcomes for patients of CMHCs by pharmacy type have not been widely studied.

Concepts: Psychology, Hospital, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Bipolar disorder, Pharmacy, Suicide


Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are common in older adults, with falls, orthostatic hypotension, delirium, renal failure, gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding being amongst the most common clinical manifestations. ADR risk increases with age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, increasing burden of comorbidity, polypharmacy, inappropriate prescribing and suboptimal monitoring of drugs. ADRs are a preventable cause of harm to patients and an unnecessary waste of healthcare resources. Several ADR risk tools exist but none has sufficient predictive value for clinical practice. Good clinical practice for detecting and predicting ADRs in vulnerable patients includes detailed documentation and regular review of prescribed and over-the-counter medications through standardized medication reconciliation. New medications should be prescribed cautiously with clear therapeutic goals and recognition of the impact a drug can have on multiple organ systems. Prescribers should regularly review medication efficacy and be vigilant for ADRs and their contributory risk factors. Deprescribing should occur at an individual level when drugs are no longer efficacious or beneficial or when safer alternatives exist. Inappropriate prescribing and unnecessary polypharmacy should be minimized. Comprehensive geriatric assessment and the use of explicit prescribing criteria can be useful in this regard.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Clinical trial, Drug, Pharmaceutical industry, Adverse drug reaction, Pharmaceutical drug, Pharmacy