Can A New Molecular Test Enhance MRSA Detection?

By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor
All four drugs were responsible for a total of 568 GHA AERs in the United States between 1997 and 2003, according to the study. Of those 568 adverse events, researchers note gatifloxacin was responsible for 453, or 80 percent, including 17 fatal GHA AERs. As the study notes, patients who had GHA AERs were more likely older and being treated for diabetes. Researchers recommended that practitioners use alternatives to gatifloxacin in patients with diabetes. Gatifloxacin’s effect on glucose homeostasis may not be limited to patients with diabetes. A case study in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy examined a non-diabetic patient with progressive renal dysfunction, who was treated for severe hyperglycemia. On day nine of a 10-day course of gatifloxacin 200 mg/day, doctors discovered her blood glucose was 1121 mg/dL, and accordingly discontinued her gatifloxacin regimen, notes the case study. Sifting Through Alternative Antibiotics For Diabetic Foot Infections What alternatives to gatifloxacin are feasible for diabetic patients with lower extremity infections? Mark Kosinski, DPM, cites levofloxacin (Levaquin, Ortho-McNeil) and moxifloxacin (Avelox, Schering-Plough). While both have been reported to cause GHA AERs, Dr. Kosinski says these are “rare,” a finding supported by the Clinical Infectious Diseases study. Dr. Kosinski describes levofloxacin as “the workhorse drug of its class,” with an FDA indication for uncomplicated and complicated skin and skin structure infections. Levofloxacin has better activity than ciprofloxacin against Staphylococcus aureus, according to Dr. Kosinski, a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Moxifloxacin recently received an indication for complicated skin and skin structure infections and has good activity against anaerobes such as B. fragilis, unlike levofloxacin, says Dr. Kosinski, a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “Quinolones are running the risk of becoming an overused class of antibiotic with an increasing incidence of resistance being reported,” says Dr. Kosinski, adding that gatifloxacin is not the first quinolone to be associated with an unacceptably high rate of side effects. He says temafloxacin, grepafloxacin and trovafloxacin have been withdrawn or restricted because of adverse events. DPMs Gain Access To Medication Histories Provided By Pharmacies By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor Physicians and their patients may gain easier access to medication histories, thanks to an emerging program by a company that provides electronic prescribing services. The plan by SureScripts is to garner patients’ medication histories from pharmacies. The company will also collaborate with doctors to make these medication histories available to patients. Doctors will be able to access a view of the patient’s medication history across all prescribers and SureScripts notes that physicians will get a complete view of current and past medications. With the system, DPMs will have a consistent view of the pharmacy’s instructions that accompany the prescription as well as data on patient allergies and the dispensation date of the medication, according to SureScripts. The company uses the software Certified Solutions Provider. What advantages can podiatrists gain from the program? Steven Peltz, CHBC, says estimates show that many negative drug interactions occur because the prescribing doctor may not know all the drugs the patient is taking. Accordingly, he says the plan will make physicians more aware of the medication history to alert them to potential drug-drug interactions. “Many patients travel around the country and may have more than one primary care physician. This will help all of the patient's doctors see what every other doctor has prescribed and confirm that all prescriptions are consistent,” says Peltz, the President of Peltz Management and Consulting Services. In addition, Peltz notes that with all the new drugs on the market, it may be difficult for DPMs to stay on top of all the potential side effects and he feels this system will help facilitate appropriate prescription writing. Since some pharmacists cannot read a doctor’s handwriting, he feels another advantage of the SureScripts plan is its elimination of the prescription pad and the correct and rapid transmit of information. What about privacy concerns?

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