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April 2014 Briefing - Pharmacy

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Pharmacy for April 2014. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

FDA Considering OTC Use of Singulair for Allergies

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Over-the-counter use of Singulair as a treatment for allergies is being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Health Highlights: April 30, 2014

Limited Associations for Antiretroviral Tx, Birth Defects

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is a specific association between in utero exposure to zidovudine and heart defects; however, most ART drugs are not linked to birth defects, according to a study published online April 29 in PLOS Medicine.

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Modafinil Doesn't Improve NSCLC-Related Fatigue

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The central nervous system stimulant modafinil is not effective in treating non-small-cell lung cancer-related fatigue, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Nongroup Insurance Market Lacked Stability Before ACA

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The nongroup insurance market has been characterized by frequent disruptions in coverage before implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to research published online April 23 in Health Affairs.

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Pharmacist Service Can Be Considered 'Incident to' Service

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians may bill for pharmacist services as part of the "incident to" services provided to Medicare patients, according to communication between the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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High-Dose Antidepressants Tied to Increased Self-Harm

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Children and young adults taking high-dose antidepressants are at heightened risk of deliberate self-harm, compared to those taking modal-therapeutic doses, according to a study published online April 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Aspirin Use Cuts CRC Risk With High 15-PGDH Expression

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Regular aspirin use is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in association with high hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase 15-(nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) (15-PGDH) expression, according to a study published in the April 23 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Winter's Polar Vortex Ushers in Spring's 'Pollen Vortex'

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Allergy experts say that the long, cold winter kept trees dormant for longer than usual, which means tree pollen season will overlap with grass pollen and mold seasons this year.

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Medical Marijuana May Aid Some MS Symptoms

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Certain forms of medical marijuana can help treat some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), but there is not enough evidence to support its utility in treating motor problems associated with other conditions, according to a review published in the April 29 issue of Neurology.

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Meta-Analysis: Vitamin D Does Not Cut Falls by ≥15 Percent

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D supplementation, with or without calcium, does not reduce the risk of falls by 15 percent or more, according to a trial sequential meta-analysis published online April 24 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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FDA: Psychiatric Side Effects of Chantix to Be Reviewed in Fall

MONDAY, April 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The mental health risks associated with Chantix will be reviewed at a public meeting scheduled for October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. The meeting will feature a panel of experts who will discuss the psychiatric and behavioral side effects of Chantix and how best to manage them, The New York Times reported.

Health Highlights: April 28, 2014

For Statin Users, Caloric, Fat Intake Up Since 1999 to 2000

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For statin users, but not nonusers, caloric and fat intake increased significantly from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010, according to a study published online April 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Benzodiazepines May Worsen Respiratory Outcomes in COPD

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New use of benzodiazepines may increase the risk of adverse respiratory outcomes in older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to research published online April 17 in the European Respiratory Journal.

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One in 13 U.S. Schoolkids Take Psych Meds

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than 7 percent of American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties, and more than half of the parents said the drugs are helping their children, according to an April data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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CDC: Measles on Upswing Despite Vaccines' Effectiveness

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 732,000 deaths, 21 million hospitalizations, and 322 million illnesses among U.S. children born in the last 20 years, according to a government report published in the April 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA Approves Sylvant for Multicentric Castleman's Disease

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Sylvant (siltuximab) to treat patients with multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD), according to a news release issued by the agency today.

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Physician Groups Find Fault With Medicare Payment Data Release

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physician groups cite major problems associated with the release of Medicare payment data, according to an article published April 16 in Medical Economics.

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Out-of-Pocket Costs Decline for Patients With Diabetes

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- During the past decade, out-of-pocket (OOP) costs have declined for individuals with diabetes, according to research published online March 25 in Diabetes Care.

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Educational Changes Suggested for Patient-Centered Medicine

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Changes in medical education and training are suggested to help new physicians address the needs of patients and their families, according to an ideas and opinions piece published in the April 22 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Statins May Reduce Risk of Progression of Renal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of statins is associated with a reduced risk of progression of localized renal cell carcinoma, according to research published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.

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FDA Proposes Accelerated Medical Device Approval Plan

WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a new program that would provide expedited access to high-risk medical devices intended for patients with serious conditions whose medical needs are not met by current technology.

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FDA Approves Cyramza for Gastric Cancer

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Cyramza (ramucirumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat cancer of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.

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Majority of Americans Support ACA Birth Control Mandate

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 70 percent of Americans support the new health care law's mandated coverage of birth control, according to research published online April 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Lorazepam No Better Than Diazepam for Epilepsy in Kids

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Lorazepam should not be preferentially used over diazepam in pediatric patients with convulsive status epilepticus, according to a study published in the April 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Some Docs Still Prescribe Codeine for Peds Cough/URI

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Despite national guidelines recommending against its use in children, some physicians continue to prescribe codeine for pediatric cough or upper respiratory infection (URI), according to research published online April 21 in Pediatrics.

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New Muscular Dystrophy Drug's Chances for Approval Improve

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy may be closer to becoming the first approved treatment for the disease.

Health Highlights: April 21, 2014

Task Force Recommends Ways to Improve Price Transparency

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Price transparency frameworks, which provide price information presented in the context of other relevant information, should be developed to meet patients' needs, according to recommendations presented in a report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

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Sprifermin May Aid Cartilage Thickness Loss With Arthritis

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Sprifermin (recombinant human fibroblast growth factor 18) does not significantly reduce central medial femorotibial compartment (cMFTC) cartilage thickness, but does benefit cartilage loss in the lateral femorotibial compartment, according to a proof-of-concept study published online April 16 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

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Antibiotics Improve Children's Growth in Poorer Nations

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In low and middle income countries, antibiotics have a growth promoting effect in prepubertal children, according to research published online April 15 in BMJ.

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FDA Approves Ragwitek for Adult Ragweed Allergy

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Ragwitek has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat allergy to short ragweed among adults aged 18 to 65.

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AMA Examines Economic Impact of Physicians

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

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Free Drug Samples Tied to More Branded Prescriptions

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Free drug samples drive the prescribing practices of physicians away from less expensive generic medications, according to a study published online April 16 in JAMA Dermatology.

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Trust in Provider Improves Antidepressant Adherence in DM

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with diabetes who lack trust and shared decision-making with their providers are less likely to be adherent to antidepressant therapy for depression, according to research published online April 5 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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White House: 8 Million People Signed Up for Health Insurance

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Eight million Americans signed up for private health insurance during the just-concluded first enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, the White House announced Thursday afternoon.

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Experimental Measles Drug Shows Promise in Animal Trials

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have successfully tested in animals a new drug that might one day protect people infected with measles from becoming ill, according to research published in the April 16 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Cancer 'Vaccine' for Advanced Disease Passes Early Hurdle

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Early progress has been made in developing a treatment that might one day help the immune system defend itself against cancer, according to research published in the April 16 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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CDC: Regional Trends Seen for Complementary Health Services

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga and meditation are popular on the West Coast, Midwesterners often turn to chiropractors or osteopathic doctors, and nearly one in every five Americans use herbal supplements. These are among the findings of a new federal government report published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's April edition of the National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief.

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Informed Patients Question Unnecessary Prescriptions

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Well-informed patients might make better choices about what prescriptions they take, according to the evaluation of an educational intervention aimed at encouraging seniors to discontinue sleeping pill use published online April 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Evidence Lacking for Long-Term Opioid Use in Low Back Pain

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is evidence of short-term efficacy (moderate for pain and small for function) of opioids for treatment of chronic low back pain (CLBP) compared with placebo; however, the effectiveness and safety of long-term opioid therapy for treatment of CLBP remains unproven, according to a review published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

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Continued Reliance on Windows XP May Threaten Data Security

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who use Windows XP in their practices may be affected by Microsoft's recent discontinuation of support for the program, according to an article published April 8 in Medical Economics.

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Extensive Atypical Antipsychotic Use in Medicaid-Insured Youth

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Medicaid-insured youth, particularly those in foster care and those diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), have considerable exposure to atypical antipsychotics, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

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FDA Approves Tanzeum for Type 2 Diabetes

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Tanzeum (albiglutide) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help control blood glucose, along with diet and exercise, in adults with type 2 diabetes.

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Patients Paying Much More for Specialty Drugs

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans are paying less for prescription drugs, but some are having to deal with sharp rises in the cost of specialty medicines for rare or serious diseases, according to a new report.

Health Highlights: April 15, 2014

Tripterygium Wilfordii Hook F Found Effective in Active RA

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Herbal Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF) is effective for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in disease-modifying antirheumatic drug-naive patients, according to a study published online April 14 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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NSAIDs With Anticoagulant Tx Ups Major Bleeding in VTE

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Concomitant use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or aspirin in patients with venous thromboembolism receiving anticoagulant therapy is tied to increased risk of bleeding, according to a study published online April 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Intensive Insulin Rx Lowers Glycemic Variability in Early DM

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Short-term intensive insulin therapy (IIT) can improve β-cell function in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in association with decreased glycemic variability, according to a study published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.

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iPLEDGE Isotretinoin Counseling May Need Updating

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The iPLEDGE program needs to provide women with information about more contraceptive choices, including reversible contraceptives, according to research published in the April issue of JAMA Dermatology.

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Prenatal SSRI Exposure May Up Odds of Autism in Boys

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For boys, prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is associated with increased likelihood of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental delays (DDs), according to a study published online April 14 in Pediatrics.

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New Health Secretary to Confront Health Care Reform Hurdles

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- With the resignation of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday, the Affordable Care Act will get a fresh face. But turning around public perception of the controversial health care reform law in a politically charged mid-term election year poses an enormous challenge for the department's next leader, policy experts said.

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AAFP Provides Tips to Address Patients' Vaccine Concerns

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians remain the biggest influence on whether patients get vaccinated, and must be prepared to address patients' reservations, according to an article published in the March/April issue of Family Practice Management.

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Sebelius Stepping Down As HHS Secretary

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is stepping down from her position, after overseeing the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act that remains unpopular with some Americans and virtually all Republican lawmakers.

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Blood Glucose Levels Set for Achieving HbA1c Targets

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The average self-monitored blood glucose (SMBG) concentrations needed at premeal, postmeal, and bedtime have been established to achieve a range of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) targets, according to research published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.

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Benefits/Risks for Fibrinolytic Therapy in Intermediate-Risk PE

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A single intravenous bolus of tenecteplase reduces early death and hemodynamic decompensation in normotensive patients with intermediate-risk pulmonary embolism, but increases the risk of major hemorrhage and stroke, according to a study published in the April 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Updated Reviews Issued for Oseltamivir, Zanamivir Use in Flu

THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Oseltamivir and zanamivir reduce the time to symptomatic improvement in influenza by about half a day, but evidence to support claims of reduced admissions to hospital or complications of influenza is lacking, according to two systematic reviews of regulatory information published online April 10 in BMJ.

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NSAID Use Linked to Increased Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly adults, current and recent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use is associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation, according to a study published online April 8 in BMJ Open.

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Financial Incentives Improve Completion of HBV Vaccination

THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Modest financial incentives significantly improve adherence to hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination programs among patients receiving opioid dependence treatment, according to a study published online April 9 in The Lancet.

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Fewer Americans Overwhelmed by Medical Bills

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While millions of Americans still feel hamstrung by medical expenses, a new government report shows that some people are getting relief.

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Spironolactone Doesn't Improve Set of Outcomes in Diastolic CHF

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Spironolactone did not significantly reduce a composite outcome end point in heart failure patients with a preserved ejection fraction, according to a study published in the April 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Some Doctors Paid at Least $3 Million Each by Medicare

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A small number of doctors received at least $3 million each in Medicare payments in 2012, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion, according to an analysis of Medicare claims data released Wednesday by the White House. In total, Medicare paid individual physicians nearly $64 billion in 2012. The median payment was just over $30,000, the Associated Press reported.

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Conventional Chemo May Be Better for Some Advanced NSCLC

TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and wild-type (WT) epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, conventional chemotherapy improves progression-free survival (PFS) better than first-generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), according to research published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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NCQA Updates Recognition Standards for Medical Homes

TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has updated its guidelines for patient-centered medical homes, according to an article published March 27 in Medical Economics.

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USPSTF Recommends Low-Dose Aspirin to Prevent Preeclampsia

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends low-dose aspirin after 12 weeks' gestation for women at high-risk of preeclampsia. This draft recommendation statement is based on an evidence review published online April 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Newly Eligible for Expanded Medicaid Are Healthier

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Persons newly eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not sicker than pre-ACA enrollees, according to research published online March 26 in Health Affairs.

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IL-18 Could Benefit Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The inflammatory cytokine interleukin-18 (IL-18) prevents choroidal neovascularization but does not affect retinal pigment epithelial cell viability, and may be a viable therapeutic option for wet age-related macular degeneration, according to an experimental study published in the April 2 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Vitamin D Supplementation May Be Beneficial in Depression

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D supplementation has no overall effect on depressive symptoms, but may have a significant effect for those with clinically significant depression, according to a review published online March 14 in Psychosomatic Medicine.

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AMA Provides Resources to Aid Physicians' Collections

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) has released resources to help doctors confront policy jumpers who may pose a financial risk to physicians during the Affordable Care Act's 90-day premium grace period, according to an article published March 25 in Medical Economics.

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Transplant Drugs Cut Persistent HIV Levels

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Immunosuppressant therapy taken following kidney transplantation may help reduce persistent HIV burdens in infected patients, according to a study published online April 3 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

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Study Examines Fertility Drug Effect on Breast Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women with ever use of clomiphene have no increased breast cancer risk, although women undergoing multiple clomiphene cycles have an increased risk of invasive breast cancer, according to a study published online April 3 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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FDA Approves Sublingual Tablet for Grass Allergies

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Oralair has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first sublingual treatment for certain grass allergies.

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Half of Uninsured Don't Intend to Sign Up for Health Coverage

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About 50 percent of uninsured adults do not intend to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges, according to an article published March 26 in Medical Economics.

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Lack of Clear Evidence for Health Benefits of Vitamin D

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence is lacking for the associations between vitamin D and health outcomes, according to one review published April 1 in BMJ; however, lower levels of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D correlate with increased mortality, according to another review also published April 1 in BMJ.

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Attention to Postpartum Contraception Needed

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women in the postpartum period should receive counseling and access to contraceptive methods to promote optimal birth spacing, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Tadalafil Not Helpful for ED in Prostate CA Post-Radiotherapy

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Among men receiving radiotherapy for prostate cancer, daily use of tadalafil is not more effective than placebo in preventing erectile dysfunction, according to research published in the April 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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ACEIs, Not ARBs, Reduce Cardiac Mortality in Diabetes

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), but not angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), reduce all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality, according to research published online March 31 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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CMS: Medicare Beneficiaries Saved $3.9B on Meds in 2013

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In 2013, 4.3 million seniors and people with disabilities saved an estimated $3.9 billion on prescription drugs, an increase from the 2012 savings, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Nearly One-Third of Initial Prescriptions Remain Unfilled

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A sizable number of patients fail to fill their initial drug prescriptions, according to research published in the April 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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