Rivaroxaban plus Aspirin for Stable Cardiovascular Disease?

Akpan Anani, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Xarelto® (rivaroxaban) is an oral anticoagulant with indications for the treatment and prevention of thromboses, but not for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. [1] Conversely, aspirin has been shown to lower the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events and even cardiovascular death compared to placebo. [2] As a result, low dose aspirin (≤100 mg) is recommended for all tolerant patients in need of secondary prevention. [3] Due to bleeding risks, anticoagulants have not been recommended for these same patients. [4]

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Efficacy of the 2015-2016 Flu Vaccine

Akpan Anani, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the influenza vaccine may reduce the incidence of flu illness by up to 60% in the overall population. [1] Data from the 2015-2016 flu season estimates that 5.1 million influenza illnesses were avoided in the United States by virtue of vaccination. [1] Each year’s vaccine profile is chosen to select for the influenza viruses most likely to abound in that given season. [1] But due to the evolution of surface antigens on the influenza virus (antigenic drift), annual epidemics can occur—necessitating constant surveillance of the strains in circulation and changes to the makeup of the vaccine as needed. [2]

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Air Pollution and Your Health: Are We Risking Our Lives for the Big City?

Caitlin Register, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), air pollution presents a negative effect on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and stroke. [1] The United States National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), as established by Environmental Protection Agency, recommends ozone concentrations below 70 parts per billion (ppb) and annual average particles with a mass median aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μg (PM2.5) concentrations less than 12.0 μg/m3 for “sensitive” populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. For public welfare protection, PM2.5 concentrations less than 15.0 μg/m3 are recommended. [2] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), outdoor air pollution is estimated worldwide to cause about 8% of lung cancer deaths, 5% of cardiopulmonary deaths, and 3% of deaths from respiratory infections. [3] It is suggested that negative impacts on respiratory and cardiovascular health can follow both short and long-term exposures to particulate matter air pollution, and long-term exposure may be linked to atherosclerosis and childhood respiratory disease. With regard to these factors and public health, increased mortality may be the ultimate effect of air pollution. [4]

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Could Cannabidiol be Effective for Seizures?

Reem Gebrekidan, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Dravet Syndrome is a genetic epileptic encephalopathy beginning in infancy that is characterized by febrile, prolonged, and lateralized seizures.[1] Epilepsy guidelines consider sodium valproate or topiramate as first-line treatment in children with Dravet syndrome while clobazam or stiripentol are supported as adjunctive therapy. Medications such as carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, pregabalin, tiagabine or vigabatrin were advised to be avoided. [2]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two synthetic cannabinoids based on a substance present in marijuana and a substance acting similarly to another compound in marijuana. Attempting to use components of marijuana is considered to be in the public’s best interest; however, safe and effective use has not been determined. [3] Continue reading

The Pro-oxidative Risks of a Red Meat Diet

Sahil A. Desai, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Consuming red meat has been shown to cause a higher risk of premature death [1] and the intake of processed red meat may be more likely to cause coronary heart disease, stroke, and/or diabetes. [2] Meats are stated to be rich in the pro-oxidants heme iron, nitrates, and nitrites which can cause oxidative damage and inflammation in different organs. [3] According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) [4] and American Heart Association (AHA) [5], both unprocessed and processed red meat can increase the risks of cancer and heart disease, respectively. It was recommended that substituting white meat and fish for red meat can reduce the risks of disease development. 

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