- U.S. regulators have approved the first drug to treat all forms of hepatitis C in as little as eight weeks called Mavyret. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is an estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million Americans have hepatitis C.
- Nurses at two western Massachusetts hospitals are planning an informational picket outside their parent company’s corporate headquarters. The nurses say the hospital is understaffed and they are overworked, putting patient safety at risk.
- While children in the U.S. are often required to be current on their vaccinations or receive a special waiver in order to attend public school, there is no requirement for adult vaccinations, despite several diseases that continue to present dangers. Public health officials have long struggled to bring adults in the U.S. up to date on vaccines.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
U.S. regulators have approved the first drug to treat all forms of hepatitis C in as little as eight weeks.The pill combination from AbbVie Inc. was approved Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration for adults without significant cirrhosis, a type of liver disease, and many patients who were not cured by prior treatment. Mavyret joins two other AbbVie hepatitis C drugs that gives doctors and patients more options, and insurers more leverage to wring discounts out of companies to cover the pricey drugs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is an estimated two point seven million to three point nine million Americans have hepatitis C. It usually develops slowly over decades, with no symptoms until serious damage is done. Without treatment, the virus can cause liver failure and liver cancer, often requiring a liver transplant or resulting in death. For decades, hepatitis C treatment required a year of grueling shots and pills that gave patients flu-like symptoms and still barely cured half of them. Starting late in two thousand thirteen, Gilead revolutionized treatment with the first pill-only medicines that brought cures in twelve weeks for more than ninety percent of patients.
In testing that included two thousand three hundred adult patients, ninety seven point five percent who didn’t have cirrhosis were cured, meaning the virus was undetectable in their blood, in eight weeks after taking Mavyret. Among patients with severe kidney damage, ninety eight percent were cured after twelve weeks of treatment, according to AbbVie. Maryvet combines two hepatitis C medicines, glecaprevir and pibrentasvir, taken as three pills together once a day. The most common side effects were nausea, headache, fatigue and itchy skin. In patients who previously had hepatitis B infections, treatment with Maryvet can reactivate that virus, causing potentially fatal liver problems.
Nurses at two western Massachusetts hospitals are planning an informational picket outside their parent company’s corporate headquarters. Nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield and Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield are scheduled to picket Monday outside Baystate Health offices in Springfield. The unionized nurses have been involved in a long labor dispute with management and say they want corporate executives to allow local management to negotiate new contracts. Baystate Franklin’s nurses say the hospital is understaffed and they are overworked, putting patient safety at risk. The sides are also at odds over health insurance costs. The nurses staged a one-day strike in June and were locked out an additional two days.
Hospital administrators have said staffing levels are proper and they have been negotiating in good faith.
While children in the U.S. are often required to be current on their vaccinations or receive a special waiver in order to attend public school, there is no requirement for adult vaccinations, despite several diseases that continue to present dangers. Public health officials have long struggled to bring adults in the U.S. up to date on vaccines.
Doctor William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News that vaccinations are not just for kids and there are any number of vaccines that are targeted to adults. “We can do a much better job to deliver these vaccines”, he said. Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee on immunization practices released new recommendations for hepatitis B, influenza and HPV vaccines today as part of its annual vaccination guidelines.
Among the possible reasons the report cited for low vaccination coverage among adults in the U.S. were “competing priorities with management of patients’ acute and chronic health conditions, lower prioritization of immunization for adults compared with other preventive services, and financial barriers to providing vaccination services to adults. Not surprisingly, adults who had health insurance were more likely to be up to date on their vaccination coverage. Immunization rates for people with health insurance were two to five times higher compared to people without health insurance.
To protect against meningitis, healthy adults are now recommended to have only two — not three — doses of the serotype B meningitis vaccine. However, three doses are recommended in cases of meningitis outbreaks or if a person is at increased risk for contracting the disease.
For those with chronic liver disease or liver enzymes that are at worrying levels, the CDC now recommends receiving the hepatitis B vaccine to protect the liver from infection. Finally, the CDC recommends using the common injection flu vaccine, not the nasal mist, which was found to be less effective in studies.