Pharmacy Week in Review: Obesity in Rural Areas, Epstein-Barr and Multiple Sclerosis Link

A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.

A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.

Nicole Grassano, Host:

Hello and welcome to the Pharmacy Times News Network. I’m Nicole Grassano, your host for our Pharmacy Week in Review.

Wednesday, June 27, was National HIV Testing Day, when the CDC encourages people to get tested for the disease,

Pharmacy Times

reported. The CDC recommends a screening frequency of at least once a year, though, according to an analysis of national population-based survey data collected from 2006 to 2016, people at high risk for contracting


are not adhering to this recommendation. This year’s National HIV Testing Day theme, Doing It My Way, reflects on the various reasons people have for getting HIV tested. Additional information for patients and health professionals on National HIV Testing Day, basic testing information, and guidelines for testing can be found on

Adults living in rural counties in the United States are still more likely to be obese than those residing in urban counties, as was the case 4 years ago, according to a recent CDC report,

Contemporary Clinic

reported. Based on 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data, the findings are consistent with results published in 2012, using data from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. The recent data analysis, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, compared obesity based on self-reported weight and height among adults living in the United States in 2016, and identified states, census regions, and divisions, and noted the greatest difference in prevalence occurred between the South and Northeast regions.

The report researchers concluded that, in 2016, obesity prevalence was 34.2% among adults living in rural counties, compared with 28.7% of adults in metropolitan areas. Overall, obesity prevalence was 29.6% among adults in the United States.

A new study links Epstein-Barr virus infection with multiple sclerosis, confirming evidence from previous studies and providing support for targeting EBV-infected immune cells associated with chronic MS lesions as a potential treatment,

Specialty Pharmacy Times

reported. In the study, which was published in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, the researchers analyzed autopsied brain samples from an MS brain tissue bank and from healthy, non-MS samples. After analyzing for EBV presence, the researchers found signs of EBV latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1) in 93% of MS brain samples, and in 78% of healthy, non-MS brain samples. There was a greater percentage of MS brains containing CD138+ plasma cells and LMP-1 rich populations. EBV early lytic protein was also seen in 46% of MS brains, primarily in association with chronic lesions, and 44% of non-MS brain tissue. Additionally, the researchers noted that 85% of MS brain samples contained a higher percentage of B-cells positive for EBV-encoded RNA, but almost none of these cells were present in brain samples from the control group.

Pharmacists may get questions about Chantix if their patients who smoke have seen a commercial for the prescription medication. In the spot, called “Favorite Role,” actor Ray Liotta says that thanks to Chantix, he was able to stop smoking. Although he played the tough guy in movies like “Goodfellas,” he wasn’t tough enough to quit on his own until he tried the prescription medication, and now his favorite role is being a non-smoker. According to the commercial, Chantix can be used as part of a support program to quit smoking, along with counseling and educational materials.

For more great coverage and practical information for today’s pharmacist, visit our website and sign up for our Daily eNews. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks for watching our Pharmacy Week in Review. I’m Nicole Grassano at the Pharmacy Times News Network.