February 1 Pharmacy Week in Review: Syphilis Increasing Among Pregnant Women, Pharmacies Offering Measles Vaccine in Outbreak Areas

FEBRUARY 01, 2019


This weekly video program provides our readers with an in-depth review of the latest news, product approvals, FDA rulings, and more. Our Week in Review is a can't miss for the busy pharmacy professional.


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

A recently published study investigated syphilis trends among pregnant women and examined high-risk behaviors, Pharmacy Times reported. Syphilis trends were examined from all 50 states and the District of Columbia through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System from 2012-2016. Additionally, risk behavior information was collected through case interviews during routine public health department investigations of syphilis cases.

The study found that the number of syphilis cases among pregnant women increased 61%, from about 1,500 to more than 2,500. Yet, 49% of pregnant women with syphilis did not report any high-risk sexual behaviors in the past year. Among the 51% who did report high-risk sexual behaviors, the most commonly reported were a history of a sexually transmitted disease (43%), and more than one sexual partner in the past year (30%).

Rite Aid pharmacies are providing measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations in Oregon and Washington, states that are seeing an increase in reported measles cases, Contemporary Clinic reported. Immunizing pharmacists can administer MMR vaccinations, without an appointment, at Rite Aid sites in that region.

A measles outbreak in Washington has led to a state of emergency designation by the state’s Department of Health. In Washington’s Clark County, near the Oregon border, 31 cases of measles have been confirmed. Those cases include 21 involving children between ages 1 and 10.  One additional case of measles was reported in Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle.

Using point-of-care CD4 testing for individuals in low- and middle-income countries could help identify and prevent opportunistic infections and related deaths in patients with HIV, Specialty Pharmacy Times reported. Rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy or ART has been crucial to the progress made in treating HIV. However, a significant proportion of patients starting ART in low- and middle- income countries continue to present with severe immunosuppression, according to a new report published in PLOS Medicine.

CD4 testing remains the only way to identify those with HIV who are at higher risk of death, with studies having consistently shown CD4 as a key predictor of mortality after ART initiation, according to the authors of the report. Although most HIV high-burden countries recommend baseline CD4 testing, some guidelines state that baseline testing is not required for starting ART.  

Pharmacists may get more questions about St. Joseph Low Dose Aspirin if their patients have seen a new commercial for the OTC product. In the spot, called “A Little Love,” an animated heart goes around spreading love. According to the commercial, St. Joseph Low Dose Aspirin lowers the risk of a recurring heart attack or stroke.

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Thanks for watching our Pharmacy Week in Review. I’m Nicole Grassano at the Pharmacy Times News Network.

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