Part Fills for June 29

A few short updates on topics of interest to SBP visitors.

I was on the Skeptically Speaking radio show a few weeks ago discussing vitamins. If you missed the live broadcast, you can download the podcast here. I’ll be blogging about the vitamins soon.  For a preview, here’s a nice summary of the evidence supporting vitamin supplementation for cancer prevention.

In the United Kingdom, physicians are calling on pharmacists to work to evidence-based standards. They’re also raising concerns about “unproven” and “unhelpful” products sold in pharmacies. It’s expected that physicians will call for a ban on goverment funding for homeopathy.

From the antivaccine files, intentionally unvaccinated children resulted in a measles outbreak in California. And no, measles isn’t innocuous – it still kills. Also in California, the state has just  declared an epidemic after whooping cough killed five infants.

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgMy post from last week, on the Science of Dosing Errors, was given the nod from as Editor’s Selection over at the Research Blogging site. Thanks for the support!

And a nice post from David Bradley at Science Base, on the evidence behind several herbal remedies: 10 Herbal Remedies:  Cohosh or Tosh?

From Science-Based Medicine:

From Skeptic North:

The Science of Dosing Errors

With the warnings this week in Canada and the United States about the risks of dosing errors with vitamin D drops, I thought it was an appropriate time to discuss dose measurement as barrier to science-based care.  Dosing errors are the among the most common and most preventable causes of adverse drug events in children.  Why children? Drugs for children are often in liquid form for ease of measurement and administration. Typically dosed based on milligrams per kilogram, liquid formulations allow us to (in theory) deliver the exact dose that’s appropriate. But measurement isn’t always easy or intuitive. What’s the best way to measure 2.5mL (half a teaspoon)? How easy is it to confuse teaspoons (5mL) and tablespoons (15mL)? And what instructions should health professionals give parents and caregivers to ensure they can measure and administer a dose accurately?  Despite the prevalence of dosing errors, there is little evidence telling us what health professionals, or parents, can do better. Until now. Continue reading

Pushing Pharmacy Towards Evidence-Based Practice

Today’s post is from a pharmacist who blogs under the pseudonym Avicenna, who looks at how to bring evidence to bear on decision-making. With this post Avicenna officially joins SBP as a contributor. Go check out his bio and his prior posts.

I am a community pharmacist who spends little time practicing evidence-based pharmacy. Most of my workday is devoted to medication distribution instead of medication management, patient care and education. Although I must say, I love being a community pharmacist with a passion and I’m glad that I chose this career. It’s incredibly fulfilling to realize that you’ve made a difference in a patient’s health, and being thanked for just doing your job.

When a someone asks me why they need a second medication to decrease their blood pressure, I must be ready to form a good answer. Part of what constitutes a good answer is if it is supported by evidence, while the rest is the result of counseling and communication skills. I need to emphasize the benefits and specify any harm of such therapy in a understandable way that relates to my patient. If I am limited in time but need to update my knowledge, I can offer my patient a callback when I’ll have done a bit of research. However, in order to increase my ability to find and use new evidence for my answer, I need to have a process to help me quickly locate and apply the latest studies. Evidence based practice is a process that deals with this important issue. Continue reading