Vital Record » Pharmacy https://news.tamhsc.edu Your source for health news from the Texas A&M Health Science Center Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:42:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Texas A&M pharmacy researchers developing tool to test effectiveness of drugs https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=texas-am-pharmacy-researchers-developing-tool-to-test-effectiveness-of-drugs https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=texas-am-pharmacy-researchers-developing-tool-to-test-effectiveness-of-drugs#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:51:16 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=20760 A team of Texas A&M scientists in collaboration with Michigan-based 21st Century Therapeutic Inc., hope to develop a technology to measure the effectiveness of novel drugs used in prevention of transplant rejections or cancer treatments]]>
Narendra Kumar, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, Jayshree Mishra, Ph.D., research assistant, serve as co-investigators on a sub-contract in an NIH-funded initiative to develop a device that measure drug effectiveness. Texas A&M University-Kingsville electrical engineering graduate students Lakshmi Korrapati and Saikrishna Krishna work in the lab on the project.

Narendra Kumar, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, Jayshree Mishra, Ph.D., research assistant, serve as co-investigators on a sub-contract in an NIH-funded initiative to develop a device that measure drug effectiveness. Texas A&M University-Kingsville electrical engineering graduate students Lakshmi Korrapati and Saikrishna Krishna work in the lab on the project.

KINGSVILLE, Texas – Someday, doctors might specifically attack diseased cells and – at the same time – protect the normal, healthy cells fighting infections and inflammation caused by treatments.

Supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health-Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR/STTR), a team of Texas A&M scientists in collaboration with Michigan-based 21st Century Therapeutic Inc., are working toward turning that idea into a reality.

Narendra Kumar, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, is the inventor of the idea and serves as the principal investigator on the sub-contract of this award at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.

“Our college is involved in translational research,” said David Potter, chair of pharmaceutical sciences at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. “Our researchers are in the process of developing new agents to treat inflammatory diseases.”

The researchers are involved in the development of technology to measure the effectiveness of novel drugs used in prevention of transplant rejections or cancer treatments. Their findings could create more effective drugs for inflammation related complications that will reduce the overall health care cost to the patient and aid doctors by providing tools to treat diseases.

“Most of the diseases stem from sustained chronic inflammation culminating into diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s diseases and different cancers,” Kumar said. “We want to work on a way for the pharmaceutical industry to make potent drugs that can enhance the therapeutic treatment of multiple diseases that originate from chronic inflammation and compromise the immune system.”

By doing this, the immune system remains strong to fight only the diseased cells, sparing the healthy cells that could fight infections and increase the acceptance of the transplanted organ. The technology can also increase the potency of the drug and reduce the health care cost for the treatment of different diseases that originate from chronic inflammation including different types of cancer.

“Through this innovative technology we can adjust the activation and deactivation of a key enzyme that regulates chronic inflammation in the human body,” said Jayshree Mishra, Ph.D., research assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. Both Kumar and Mishra have filed a patent application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the technology.

The discovery will be beneficial to patients by increasing the therapeutic effects of treatments and reducing the recovery time. Additionally, this could also be used in asthma and allergy patients.

“With the skyrocketing health care cost, drug companies and hospitals along with universities have shared responsibility to provide better tools and technologies that can lower the cost of treatment and increases the success rate particularly for inflammation related complications such as transplants and cancer,” Kumar said. “This timely project strives to achieve just that.”

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Online Viagra samples filled with impurities https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=online-viagra-samples-filled-with-impurities https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=online-viagra-samples-filled-with-impurities#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 19:22:57 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=20481 Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy researcher finds that versions of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra are flooding the internet pharmacy market and it could be harmful to your health]]>
Research shows that typical generic sildenafil products from the internet contain impurity levels higher than allowed in the U.S. In addition, the generic products are made to be similar in appearance to those from legitimate drug manufacturers.

Research shows that typical generic sildenafil products from the internet contain impurity levels higher than allowed in the U.S. In addition, the generic products are made to be similar in appearance to those from legitimate drug manufacturers.

In the age of online shopping where “buy now” seems easier than scheduling an appointment with your doctor, many people have taken to buying medicines – even those that typically require prescriptions – online. A popular suspect? Versions of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra are flooding the internet pharmacy market and it could be harmful to your health.

“Most people who want to purchase this drug might be too embarrassed to request it from a doctor,” said Michael Veronin, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “It’s much easier to buy it online in the privacy of their home.” Even more than that, it’s the top-selling drug sold on the internet, according to reports dating back as far as 2002. Pfizer, the company that sells the name brand Viagra, now sells its own line of the drug online in order to curb the sale of counterfeits, according to a report in May from CNN Money.

Veronin and his colleagues have discovered that many of the drugs sold as Viagra are filled with impurities or contaminants that are above the acceptable limits for drugs sold in the U.S. Impurities can happen when the drug is produced or stored. When customers receive the tablets, they appear to be the same as the real deal, with the same look and feel as the brand version, but what’s inside is anyone’s guess.

“We set out to find the levels of impurities in the different versions of the drugs sold online,” Veronin said. “What we found that some of the samples were more than five times the qualification threshold for impurities.”

While the prescriptions written for Viagra have increased over the years, the counterfeit purchases online without a prescription have risen even more. A simple internet search for Viagra online can result in more than 1.5 million hits, Veronin found in his research.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that consumers purchase medicines from legal sources, but they can only recommend. Most of the drugs tested by Veronin were from sources not regulated in the same way drugs in the U.S. and other international sources are today.

In previous studies, scientists have proven that the potency or the active ingredient of the drugs sold online were inconsistent and, in some cases, ineffective. Now, with Veronin’s findings that these drugs truly are risky, he hopes consumers purchase drugs where they know the source of production to ensure safety and potency.

“This is a form of counterfeiting, and I believe there are certain health risks involved when people use these drugs,” Veronin said. “Some of the findings in this research showed unacceptable levels of impurities and might cause alarm in the U.S. if patients were taking them. There are health risks especially in long-term use, but in addition, we aren’t sure what the impurities do in the human body.”

Veronin’s next step is to test the impurities to see what damage could be happening to people who use the substandard drugs they purchase online.

This research will be published in the coming months by “Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety” journal. Veronin says it is important for consumers to know the facts and the risks, especially after the market has seen a sharp rise in internet purchases of the drug.

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Pharmacy researcher receives Gates grant to develop HIV-protective contraceptive https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=pharmacy-researcher-receives-gates-grant-to-develop-hiv-protective-condom https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=pharmacy-researcher-receives-gates-grant-to-develop-hiv-protective-condom#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 21:57:19 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=20459 Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy researcher receives grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for groundbreaking idea to explore ways to tackle a global health issue of HIV. ]]>
Mahua Choudhury, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, works with second-year professional student pharmacist Jason Chau and research assistant Yudisthar Singh Bedi, MS, on designing the contraceptive that will protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted disease.

Mahua Choudhury, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, works with second-year professional student pharmacist Jason Chau and research assistant Yudisthar Singh Bedi, MS, on designing the contraceptive that will protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted disease.

KINGSVILLE, Texas – Mahua Choudhury, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, has received the Grand Challenge in Global Health award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a contraceptive that will protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Choudhury was one of 54 applicants selected among 1,700 total applications from across the globe.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for Dr. Choudhury and her team toward the development of a product that will have an impact on the health of populations around the world,” said Allison Rice-Ficht, Ph.D., interim vice dean of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy and interim vice president for research at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. “We encourage young talented scientists like Dr. Choudhury to turn basic scientific discoveries into life-saving therapies, further propelling Texas A&M as a national leader in translational research.”

Over the next several years, Choudhury and team will work toward creating a contraceptive that could protect against HIV, a disease that, according to the World Health Organization, affects more than 35 million people. If successful, the contraceptive could be producible large-scale and offer protection and prevention against a number of sexually transmitted diseases, while still guarding against pregnancy.

“It’s an honor to receive the award and also to work for the foundation’s humanitarian mission,” Choudhury said. “HIV is an overwhelming global health challenge and prevention is the best cure. Our project could ultimately save lives across the globe.”

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.  Choudhury’s project is one of more than 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 12 grants announced this month by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Choudhury received an award from the Gates Foundation in 2011 to explore early epigenetic biomarkers in preeclampsia. The latest research is an extension of this work.

“Our first award focused on finding early epigenetic biomarkers for the prediction of preeclampsia,” Choudhury said. “We are currently investigating the reversal of those epigenetics biomarkers with several antioxidants. This latest project uses antioxidants in a novel polymer to safeguard against numerous sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.”

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Pharmacy student impacts community with immunizations https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=student-impacts-community-in-pharmacy-immunizations https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=student-impacts-community-in-pharmacy-immunizations#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:03:18 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=20014 Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy professional student pharmacist Kelsi Gulick of Pearsall, Texas, directly impacted her hometown community in Frio County when she shared the importance of immunizations during her internship. She received Intern of the Year in the Gulf Coast and Southwest Region for H-E-]]>

From left to right, Jennifer Lopez, H-E-B pharmacy recruiter, Patsy Cavazos, director for the Gulf Coast and southwest region, Kelsi Gulick, third-year professional student pharmacist, and Robert Suarez, H-E-B pharmacy recruiter, present Gulick with the Intern of the Year for the Gulf Coast and Southwest region award.

From left to right, Jennifer Lopez, H-E-B pharmacy recruiter, Patsy Cavazos, director for the Gulf Coast and southwest region, Kelsi Gulick, third-year professional student pharmacist, and Robert Suarez, H-E-B pharmacy recruiter, present Gulick with the Intern of the Year for the Gulf Coast and Southwest region award.

Immunizations can protect you against many diseases yet some children, adolescents and adults do not receive them.

This year the American Academy of Pediatrics published new immunization guidelines for children and adolescents. Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age 2 is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles.

Some of the vaccines that babies get can wear off as they get older. And as they grow up they may come in contact with different diseases than when they were babies. There are vaccines that can help protect teens from illnesses, such as tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Teens also require tetanus, diphtheria and activated pertussis vaccine (TDaP) and meningococcal vaccine, but the human papillomavirus vaccine is the least received by adolescents, according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

One way to share the message to Americans, especially those in medically underserved areas, is through education.

That message was important to a third-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.

Kelsi Gulick of Pearsall, Texas, directly impacted her hometown community in Frio County when she shared the importance of immunizations during her H-E-B internship in summer 2013. She was rewarded when she witnessed changes in the underserved community and received the honor of Intern of the Year in the Gulf Coast and Southwest Region for H-E-B.

Pearsall is in the middle of the more than 119 counties in Texas that are medically underserved, where patients do not have enough information or the resources for necessary immunizations. Gulick wanted to share the importance of immunizations and the schedule of vaccines that children need to have for prevention.

Gulick spent part of each day walking the Pearsall H-E-B and talking with patients face-to-face about the importance of vaccines. She gave customers fliers and discussed the schedule for children entering school.

“Most of them were happy for the reminder and many were not aware of the vaccination schedule,” Gulick said.

In addition, Gulick prepared informational immunization packets describing the vaccines available at her pharmacy. She included vaccines that doctor’s offices typically do not keep because of price or storage capacity, such as Pneumovax for pneumonia, and Zostavax, that prevents herpes zoster- shingles.  

In the store, Gulick placed immunization lists on bright paper next to the school supply lists that parents needed for back-to-school shopping.

“I put the lists at every register and in prescription bags for customers,” she said.

Immediately, Gulick said, the pharmacy saw an increase in vaccinations because Gulick was letting patients know that vaccines were available at the pharmacy.

“Our summer promotion on vaccines focused on back to school needs for those entering the seventh grade and entering college freshmen,” said Patsy Cavazos, H-E-B Pharmacy director for the Gulf Coast and southwest region.

The vaccine for meningitis was the main vaccine tracked.  During the promotion period, Gulick’s program generated a 31 percent increase in vaccine delivery over the previous year.

“Even though the Pearsall H-E-B is one of our newest locations, they led the southwest region in vaccine numbers,” Cavazos said. “These results were a direct result of our intern of the year making vaccines a focus in her underserved rural community.”

In fact, the store that sees about 1,000 prescriptions in a week had more vaccinations than any other store the southwest region.

“My thought was: ‘What if every pharmacist did this?’ I wish others could take the time to teach patients about immunizations,” Gulick said.

In addition to vaccine needs of children and adolescents, thousands of adults in the United States die each year because they are not protected against diseases that could be prevented by routine vaccinations. Adults are recommended to discuss vaccinations with their primary care physician often to ensure that they are immunized against these preventable diseases.

According to the CDC, “vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the U.S. and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks.” Even with the risk being rare in the U.S., these diseases can enter the country, which would put unvaccinated children at risk.

One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases is an increase in measles cases or outbreaks that were reported in 2013. “Data from 2013 showed a higher than normal number of measles cases nationally and in individual states, including an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City that was the largest reported outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1996,” the CDC reported.

As Gulick shared with patients during her internship, it’s important to vaccinate to put the immune system on high alert to protect against preventable diseases. And it’s a simple shot at your local pharmacy.

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Texas A&M Rho Chi receives most improved chapter in the nation https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=texas-am-rho-chi-receives-most-improved-chapter-in-the-nation https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=texas-am-rho-chi-receives-most-improved-chapter-in-the-nation#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:29:30 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=19896 The honor society, Rho Chi Gamma Omega chapter, was recently selected as the most improved chapter in the nation]]>
The Rho Chi Society Gamma Omega Chapter recently initiated 16 students and one faculty member into the chapter.

The Rho Chi Society Gamma Omega Chapter recently initiated 16 students and one faculty member into the chapter.

The Gamma Omega Chapter of the Rho Chi Society at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy was recently selected as the most improved chapter of the organization. The Gamma Omega Chapter was chosen out of 116 currently active chapters in the nation.

A plaque was presented to the Gamma Omega Chapter third-year professional student pharmacists current president, Nhu Quyen Dau of Sugar Land, Texas, and current secretary, Annie Lozano of Premont, Texas, at the Rho Chi award presentation at the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting on March 30 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Orlando, Fla.

“As the former president of this chapter, I am overwhelmingly proud and excited for the Gamma Omega Rho Chi Chapter and its accomplishments,” said Jesse Castillo of Fort Worth, Texas, and fourth-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.

In addition to recognizing chapters for various achievements throughout the year, Rho Chi also awards one chapter in the nation the most improved award—one of the highest recognitions from the society.

According to the requirements for the most improved chapter, The Rho Chi Society looks at the inactivity within the past few years. The organization then looks at the most recent involvement and takes into account the work and effort that current students and advisers are making to increase the activities and projects of individual chapters.

The vision of The Rho Chi Society is to achieve universal recognition of its members as lifelong intellectual leaders in the pharmacy field. As a community of scholars, the society instills the desire to pursue intellectual excellence and critical inquiry to advance the profession.

In addition to this, the mission of the society is to encourage and recognize excellence in intellectual achievement and foster fellowship among its members. Further, the society encourages high standards of conduct and character and advocates critical inquiry in all aspects of pharmacy.

“Our Rho Chi chapter members worked hard to revitalize tutoring, pharmacy advocacy, mock interviews, academic challenge games, and service to the community,” Castillo said. “The Most Improved Chapter Award is one of my proudest accomplishments during my pharmacy school career.”

The Rho Chi Society Chapter Gamma Omega started in 2008 at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. 

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Disaster Day simulation grows in size, scope and intensity with community help https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=disaster-day-simulation-grows-in-size-scope-and-intensity-with-community-help https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=disaster-day-simulation-grows-in-size-scope-and-intensity-with-community-help#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:02:30 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=19709 A helicopter rushes a critically injured patient to the nearest hospital, nurses hurry to the sides of panicked, bloody patients and desperate faces beg for help. This was the scene March 20 at Central Baptist Church as the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) hosted ... ]]>
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Approximately 300 TAMHSC and Blinn students, and more than 500 patient volunteers made the 7th annual Disaster Day the largest to-date.

A helicopter rushes a critically injured patient to the nearest hospital, nurses hurry to the sides of panicked, bloody patients and desperate faces beg for help. This was the scene March 20 at Central Baptist Church as the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) hosted its seventh annual Disaster Day.

The TAMHSC College of Nursing created Disaster Day as an emergency mass simulation for students to gain hands-on experience responding to a mass casualty disaster. This year, the scenario (kept secret until the morning announcement) was a hurricane with an additional spin-off tornado. This was the largest Disaster Day in TAMHSC history with more than 800 participants.

The one-day event is carefully planned and executed by students within the Texas A&M College of Nursing and provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond in mass emergency situations. Each year, a new scenario is chosen to push students to test their emergency response skills outside the classroom. The scenario is kept secret until the day of the event in order to provide a more realistic simulation.

The 2014 Disaster Day boasts the largest inter-professional engagement in its history. More than 300 students from Texas A&M College of Nursing, Medicine and Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, as well as Blinn College nursing, radiology and EMS students participated. Approximately 500 community volunteers also participated as simulated patients, including approximately 200 local high school students from Bryan and College Station.

The interdisciplinary nature of the event provides TAMHSC and Blinn students the opportunity to practice working together across medical specialties to develop appropriate role expectations, respect and teamwork. This year also included P.H.I. Flight Service helicopter evacuation and the Brazos County Regional Advisory Council’s mobile medical unit to provide additional real-life, and real-time experiences.

One of the most unique aspects of Disaster Day is that it is almost entirely student led. “This is planned start to finish by students,” said Laura Livingston, associate director of the Clinical Learning Resource Center. “The students make all this happen – they have ownership of it. We just help guide them through the process.”

Disaster Day is part of the larger simulation educational experience of Texas A&M nursing students and is a component of the required nursing curriculum. Simulation offers an educational experience that allows students to develop, refine and apply knowledge and critical thinking skills in realistic, interactive learning experiences. Simulated patients were applied with “moulage” makeup to mimic injuries and acted-out injuries and medical cases. Simulated patients were seen crying, screaming and reacting to various conditions, there were even a few births.

“This experience empowers our students and gives them confidence,” said Jerry Livingston, Ph.D, M.S.N, RN, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing. “They learn how to negotiate the best possible outcome for the patient in a fast paced and unknown challenge, and how to cooperate across medical disciplines.”

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FDA rotation offers student unique experience https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=fda-rotation-offers-student-unique-experience https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=fda-rotation-offers-student-unique-experience#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:39:06 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=19644 Andrew Himsel, a fourth-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, recently completed a rotation with the Food and Drug Administration where he practiced in programs, such as the Drug Shortage Program, Office of Compliance and the Division of Pharmacovigiliance. ]]>
Andrew Himsel, a fourth-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, recently completed a rotation with the Food and Drug Administration.

Andrew Himsel, a fourth-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, recently completed a rotation with the Food and Drug Administration.

Professional student pharmacists learn more about the profession and gain valuable hands-on experience by participating in rotations that focus on specific areas in pharmacy.

Andrew Himsel, a fourth-year professional student pharmacist at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, recently completed a rotation with the Food and Drug Administration.

The student experiential program at the FDA emphasizes a well-rounded experience for students like Himsel and gives them the opportunity to learn about programs and offices within the FDA, such as the Drug Shortage Program, Office of Compliance and the Division of Pharmacovigiliance.  Students also have an opportunity to learn about the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), a program that regulates over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including biological therapeutics and generic drugs.

“The FDA rotation was vastly different from the others that I have had the opportunity to take part in,” Himsel said, who is from Baytown, Texas. “This rotation was largely based on regulatory issues, which is quite different from the clinical or operational rotations that I have had and will do in Texas. There are not a lot regulatory opportunities in Texas, so I was very thankful to get the opportunity to rotate at the FDA.”

On average, 10-15 students from all over the United States rotate through this program every five to six weeks. This provided Himsel with a great opportunity to work along with fellow students who bring with them varying educational backgrounds and pharmacy experiences.

“The FDA rotation is open to student pharmacists from schools nationwide, and has a highly competitive process for student selection,” said David Matthews, Pharm.D., director of the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. “The college has had students apply for this rotation previously, but Mr. Himsel is our first student to be offered this highly coveted slot.”

The students are grouped into divisions and offices at the FDA where they work on current FDA projects with their preceptor, an expert that guides the students during their rotation.

Himsel was assigned to the Office of Drug Information where he was able to work on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) project—a $15 billion initiative put into place under former President George W. Bush in 2003. This particular project ensured that the drug information packaged with anti-retroviral treatments received from drug manufactures from around the world, even those not FDA approved, were in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.

Other rotation experiences that Himsel took part in included attending lectures and assisting patients on the MedWatch phone system.

The lectures he attended were at various divisions within the FDA as well as organizations such as American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and American Pharmacists Association.

“It was through these lectures that I really began to understand how the medication approval process and post-marketing surveillance programs really worked,” Himsel said. “It was truly eye-opening to see how meticulous each part of the drug approval process was and how many resources drug applications consume from both the manufacture and the FDA.”

 While working in the MedWatch phone center—a reporting hotline for patients who have suffered an adverse drug event—Himsel was able to quickly access drug information from the FDA’s resources and effectively interpret and communicate it back to the patient.

He was able to provide information on adverse drug events and also general information for patients requesting more information on their drug therapies.

Himsel said he learned that there is an enormity of resources used to regulate drugs in the U.S. Experiencing parts of the drug approval process and post-marketing surveillance measures allowed Himsel to experience processes that he could not experience in any other rotation.

“I would absolutely recommend this rotation to students who are interested in learning more about regulatory affairs,” Himsel said. “It was a unique experience that I will likely never have the opportunity to do again and I am thankful that I did it.”

Story written by Art Niño, senior English major at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

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Students raise $33,000 for scholarships https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=students-raise-33000-for-scholarships https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=students-raise-33000-for-scholarships#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:42:03 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=19535 The professional student pharmacists with the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy have raised more than $33,000 for the Dr. James Robertson Jr. Memorial Scholarship fund in the Ties & Tennis Shoes 5K Memorial Run/Walk on Feb. ]]>

“We are elated that we were able to surpass our goal,” said Brittany Bateman of Boerne, Texas, who is a third-year professional student pharmacist and chair of the Ties & Tennis Shoes committee. “We hope a student can receive a scholarship very soon in Dr. Robertson’s honor.”

Mike DaSilva, reporter for Kiii-TV, Channel 3, in Corpus Christi, served as the master of ceremonies for the event, which was co-presented by Corpus Christi Gastroenterology, P.L.L.C., and Kleberg Bank.

Robertson was considered a cornerstone at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. He died after complications from pneumonia on Nov. 21, 2012, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Robertson was more than just the associate dean for student affairs. He was a friend, mentor, leader and considered family to many of the students and faculty at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. He was an inspiration to the college and positively influenced countless students to strive for their dreams of becoming pharmacists.

Dean Indra K. Reddy and Leslie Currie celebrate the start of the race with committee members and volunteers

Dean Indra K. Reddy and Leslie Currie celebrate the start of the race with committee members and volunteers

“We were like his children,” said Amy Morrow, a fourth-year professional student pharmacist. “He was committed to each and every one of us and saw the potential of what we could become individually and collectively. He supported us during difficult times, celebrated our accomplishments with us, and quickly became an icon of what a true professional is. If we can channel the natural sensitivity, display of fair-mindedness, innate intellectual acumen, and charisma that Dr. Robertson so profoundly manifested, we’ll have nowhere to go but up.”

As future health care providers and pharmacists, the professional student pharmacists at Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy hoped to bring awareness to this preventable condition and raise funds to support future students through the Ties & Tennis Shoes Memorial 5K Run/Walk.

“Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Dr. Robertson, will never forget him and feel very blessed to have had his guidance during our time here even if it was for a short time,” Bateman said. “We hope that this fun run will continue to honor him here each year and that future classes will come to know and appreciate who Dr. Robertson was and what he did for this school and this program.”

The mayor of Kingsville, Sam Fugate, and state Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, served as the starting officials for the race. Music was performed by Mathias (The Witness), Flashbang and Spanish Attack. Celanese powered the event festival which featured the Driscoll Children’s Hospital KidZone, CVS/Caremark Spirit Booth, Walgreens Cultural Diversity Booth, food booths stocked with donations from Sprouts, Wing Stop, LaraBar and many others and water stations from Everest.  AEP, Texas and Mike Shaw Toyota both sponsored the start and finish line while Deleon’s Pharmacy provided mile markers along the route. 

More information about the event.

The overall winners of the race for the women were first place Monique Mejia, second place Jill Thomas of Houston and third place Anna Brozick, Pharm.D., assistant professor and director of Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. The overall winners for the men were first place Andre Fuqua, second place Hunter Balzen of San Antonio, and third place Geoffrey Sanford. The complete list of winners.

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It’s not too late to vaccinate for flu https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=its-not-too-late-to-vaccinate-for-flu https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=its-not-too-late-to-vaccinate-for-flu#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:16:06 +0000 https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=19354 Each year, we hear about the importance of getting a flu vaccination to protect our health. Some people do so, but others opt against it, thinking they have a slim chance of catching the flu or they are simply immune. But the fact is that the influenza virus changes every single year and the season lasts through May]]>

Each year, we hear about the importance of getting a flu vaccination to protect our health. Some people do so, but others opt against it, thinking they have a slim chance of catching the flu or they are simply immune. But the fact is that the influenza virus changes every single year.

Influenza comes in three basic types: A, B and C. Those categories tell you a bit about how dangerous the viruses can be. Influenza C causes the mildest disease. Although influenza B can make you just as sick as influenza A, it has never triggered a worldwide pandemic. Those have all come from the influenza A strains. Among other things, influenza A usually masks itself, by covering itself with accessories. Totally, there are 144 different subtypes of influenza A that range from H1N1 to H9N16.

“The Influenza strain that is prevalent this year is H1N1,” said John Bowman, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “It is the same strain that was around in 2009, but there is still no immunity to it. Even if someone had it then, they can still contract it this year.”

As flu season approaches each year, vaccine manufacturers try to anticipate what the most likely influenza strain will be. That way, they can prepare a vaccine to combat the symptoms. Among all of the types, Influenza A is the most dangerous type, and the only one that has caused a worldwide epidemic.

“One problem with flu vaccinations is that there is a shortage,” Bowman said. “At a manufacturing level, there may be enough vaccines to supply to communities, but at a local level, some retailers are just not ordering enough.”

Flu vaccines are trivalent, meaning they immunize those receiving the vaccine from two types of influenza A and one type of influenza B. However, there is a new quadrivalent vaccine that is available this year—it will combat an additional type B strain.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that the flu is widespread throughout the state, with more than 99 percent of cases being the H1N1 strain. The signs and symptoms of influenza vary from person-to-person, but common symptoms include an abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue and body aches. Additional symptoms include flushed skin, dry cough and a sore throat.

Early treatment of influenza with an antiviral drug can shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms, and may reduce the risk of complications, such as ear infections in young children and pneumonia.

Antiviral medications are most effective when given within 48 hours of influenza illness onset. The two antiviral medications that are generally given to those suffering from the flu are Tamiflu and Relenza®. Tamiflu is approved for treating persons 2 weeks and older, while Relenza is approved for 7 years and older.  Side effects for both are generally mild.

Every flu season, there are more than 200, 000 people who are hospitalized because of the flu. This year, even more people will be visiting their local hospital because the flu has increased to the level of an epidemic. For many people, this can be avoided by receiving a flu shot.

“The main point is to get a flu vaccination because it is not too late,” Bowman said. “It is particularly critical for children from the ages of 6 months to 5-years-old and adults over the age of 65 to receive. They are more susceptible to pneumonia. For those in other age groups, it is still very important. This year, most deaths from the flu occurred in children and young adults. The flu vaccination can save your life.”

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This story was written by Art Niño, senior English major at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

 John Bowman, BSPharm, MS, BCPS, FASHP, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, teaches Public Health in the curriculum and was appointed to the Regional Health Awareness Board in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is a member of the Public Health Special Interest Group for American Associations of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

 For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Cheri D. Shipman, communications director, at 361-221-0606 or cshipman@tamhsc.edu.

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