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The Effects of HAART on HBV

The Effects of HAART on HBV

Research has shown that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can decrease the risk of acquiring hepatitis B virus (HBV), regardless of a patient’s HIV infection status. Other studies have shown that men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for HBV infection. However, data on the effects of HAART on incident HBV infection in MSM who are infected and not infected with HIV are limited. “Little is known about how the rates of incident HBV infection changed from the era prior to HAART availability through the present day,” says Chloe Thio, MD. A Closer Look For a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Thio and colleagues sought to determine predictors of incident HBV infection in nearly 2,400 MSM in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Participants were not infected with HBV at baseline but had HIV or were at risk for contracting the virus. “The study was designed to understand more about how HAART affected new hepatitis B infection,” adds Dr. Thio. “Enrollment began in 1984, 12 years before HAART became available.” During more than 25,000 person-years of follow-up, 244 incident HBV infections occurred. Overall, unadjusted incidence rates of HBV infection were higher in HIV-infected participants than in those without HIV; rates were significantly lower during the HAART era than during the pre-HARRT era among those with and without HIV. “Most importantly, effective HAART that reduced HIV RNA levels to less than 400 copies/mL was protective against incident HBV infection independent of whether an anti-HBV drug was part of the HAART regimen,” says Dr Thio. During a median follow-up of 9.5 years, MSM with HIV...

Improving Survival After Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) is among the leading causes of hospitalization in the United States, afflicting more than 5.8 million men and women each year. The disease has been associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expenditures. The 5-year mortality rate for HF has been estimated at more than 50%, and roughly $40 billion is spent annually in costs related to HF. Previous studies have shown that there are gaps, variation, and disparities in the use of evidence-based, guideline-recommended therapies for HF. Regardless of the clinical setting, many eligible HF patients do not receive one or more of the therapies that have been proven to be effective in reducing all-cause mortality in clinical trials and analyses. Non-adherence to recommended HF therapies can significantly reduce quality of life and lifespan in sufferers with the disease. Examining Benefits of Proven HF Therapies A study published in the February 21, 2012 Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases evaluated the individual and incremental benefits of guideline-recommended therapies. “While certain therapies are recommended for HF patients in national guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, our study was the first to examine the specific incremental contribution of each of these therapies in improving survival when combined in a real-world clinical practice,” says Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, who was the lead author on the investigation. The study by Dr. Fonarow and colleagues utilized a nested case-control design that included HF patients who were enrolled in the Registry to Improve the Use of Evidence-Based Heart Failure Therapies in the Outpatient Setting (IMPROVE HF) cohort. The analysis involved 1,376...
Performance Measures for CAD & Hypertension

Performance Measures for CAD & Hypertension

During the past decade, there has been increased awareness of the need to improve the quality of care delivered to patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and hypertension. In keeping consistent with this focus, the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have developed guidelines and related performance measures that focus on these areas of care. In the July 12, 2011 issue of Circulation, the ACCF and AHA revised their original performance measures for adults with CAD and hypertension, which were developed in conjunction with the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI) and previously released in 2005. More Than a “Routine” Update for CAD & Hypertension With a general policy to revise performance measures no more than every 3 years, the AHA, ACCF, and PCPI had been working on revising the measurement sets for more than a year before they were published. “These new measurements represent a change in the science and methodology of how per­formance measures are typically developed,” says Joseph Drozda, Jr, MD, FACC, who co-chaired the PCPI panel. “The new mea­surements bring a focus on the outcomes of treatment rather than purely measures of process. We’re focusing on the things that make a difference and doing it in a way that will allow physicians to track their own per­formance in these key areas.” The 2011 ACCF/AHA performance measure sets consist of 10 total measures derived from several professional guidelines. It includes revisions to measures that were released in the 2005 document and five new measures (Table 1). “There are robust guidelines for CAD, supported by strong levels of evidence with respect...

Battling CKD in Patients with Diabetes

This Physician’s Weekly feature on chronic kidney disease and diabetes was completed in cooperation with the experts at the American Diabetes Association. Each year in the United States, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure, and diabetes is the most common cause of it, accounting for nearly 44% of new cases. Even when diabetes is controlled, it can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure. “According to current estimates, about 20% to 30% of people with diabetes have at least some CKD, although not necessarily end-stage renal disease,” explains M. Sue Kirkman, MD. “More patients with diabetes also have very early signs of kidney damage, such as microalbuminuria. Fortunately, we now have interventions to help prevent early CKD from progressing or worsening in people with diabetes.” Diabetic kidney disease takes many years to develop. In some patients, the filtering function of the kidneys is higher than normal in the first few years of the development of diabetes. Over several years, patients may develop low levels of albuminuria—termed microalbuminuria—but the kidneys’ filtration function usually remains normal during this period. Greater amounts of albuminuria (macroalbuminuria) occur in parallel with the kidneys’ filtering function declining, forcing the body to retain various wastes along the way. As kidney disease progresses, physical changes in the kidneys can increase blood pressure. As such, early detection and treatment of even mild hypertension are essential for people with diabetes. Early Screening is Imperative The American Diabetes Association recommends that every patient diagnosed with diabetes be screened for CKD (Table 1). “It’s better to diagnose it early and address problems at that time rather...
Analyzing Poor Medication Adherence After MI

Analyzing Poor Medication Adherence After MI

Approximately, 1.5 million cases of myocardial infarction (MI) occur each year. An estimated 5% to 10% of patients who survive an MI die within the first year after the index event, and half are rehospitalized. Studies have demonstrated that medications such as aspirin, β-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and statins taken after MI are associated with improved short- and long-term outcomes, providing protection against subsequent cardiovascular events. Despite proven benefits, a large proportion of patients who have had an MI appear to discontinue use of their prescribed medications over time. Most medications should be taken indefinitely, but long-term data on factors affecting medication adherence are lacking. New Data on Medication Adherence In a study published in the October 2009 American Journal of Medicine, my colleagues and I published an analysis assessing patients hospitalized with MI from 1997 to 2006 to determine adherence to statins, β-blockers, and ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). The study also looked at factors that appeared to be associated with improved adherence. Data demonstrated that adherence to guideline-recommended medications decreased over time, with 3-year medication continuation rates of 44%, 48%, and 43% for statins, β-blockers, and ACE inhibitors/ARBs, respectively. Our findings illustrated that many patients discontinued use of prescribed cardioprotective medications after MI, with less than half continuing medications 3 years after their MI. Results were particularly striking because the study included patients who were well-insured with relatively low out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs. Considering the insurance status of the patients assessed, adherence is presumably even worse among the general population. Assessing Adherence Factors A potential cause of poor medication adherence after MI may be a “knowledge translation...
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