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Am Fam Physician. 2001 Sep 1;64(5):715-716.

AAFP Releases Recommendations for Distribution of Influenza Vaccine

According to recommendations approved in July by American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Board Chair Bruce Bagley, M.D., Albany, N.Y., family physicians should target their available influenza vaccine during September and October to persons at increased risk of influenza complications and to health care workers, and should encourage patients at low risk of complications to wait until November to receive a vaccination. The AAFP joins the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in encouraging organizers of mass immunization campaigns to postpone these activities until late October or early November when more vaccine is available. The new recommendations are in response to the CDC's announcement that the distribution of the influenza vaccine will be delayed again this year, with only 64 percent of the supply available by the end of October. The CDC expects that more vaccine will be available for 2001 than was distributed in 1999 and 2000, but the supply will not be completely distributed until the end of December. For a complete listing of the AAFP's current influenza immunization policy statement, visit http://www.aafp.org/policy/camp/27.html. Updated vaccine recommendations from the CDC can be found on the Web at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5027a3.htm.

Robert Graham, M.D., Is Selected as Director of CPTA

Robert Graham, M.D., former executive vice president of the AAFP, was recently selected to be the new director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)'s Center for Practice and Technology Assessment (CPTA). Dr. Graham's duties will include overseeing the AHRQ's evidence-based practice and technology assessment programs, monitoring research and evaluation on translating evidence-based findings into clinical practice, and overseeing the National Guideline Clearinghouse. CPTA also houses the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Dr. Graham replaces Douglas Kamerow, M.D., who directed the CPTA from 1984 until his retirement from the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. “[Dr. Graham's] experience in both the public and private sectors will enhance AHRQ's capacity to work in partnership with a broad range of organizations within the health care system,” said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., director of the AHRQ.

HHS Announces Grants to Improve HIV/AIDS Care for Women

Federal grants totaling $53.7 million have been awarded to 71 organizations in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to support HIV/AIDS care and services for women and their families, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced recently. The grants will be shared by a variety of HIV/AIDS care providers, including community and faith-based organizations, medical schools, children's hospitals, and state and county departments of health. Eleven of the 71 grantees are newly funded in fiscal year 2001. Funded under the Title IV Comprehensive Family Services Program of the Ryan White CARE Act, the grants are targeted to women, children, youth and families and provide primary and specialty medical care, psychologic services, logistical support, outreach and case management, and provide access to clinical trials and research. “Because women frequently neglect their own health care to care for their families, making sure they have access to quality HIV/AIDS care and services is critical,” said Acting Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Elizabeth M. Duke, Ph.D. “Before women can adequately care for their families, they must care for themselves, and these grants help bridge that gap.” For more information and a list of grantees, visit http://www.hrsa.dhhs.gov/Newsroom/releases/2001%20Releases/hivtitleivgrants.htm. More information about the CARE Act programs is available at http://hab.hrsa.gov/care.html.

Bayer Withdraws the Anticholesterol Drug Baycol from the Market

Bayer Pharmaceutical Division voluntarily withdrew cerivastatin (Baycol), their cholesterol-lowering medication, from the United States market in August because of a side effect called rhabdomyolysis that was linked to 52 deaths worldwide. Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, an acute condition where muscle cells are destroyed and released into the bloodstream, include severe muscle pain usually in the calves or lower back, weakness, tenderness, fever, dark urine, nausea and vomiting, and can lead to the development of fatal kidney or other organ failure. While all of the popular anticholesterol drugs known as statins have been linked to rare reports of rhabdomyolysis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) linked Baycol to significantly more fatal cases. The FDA stated that this side effect of Baycol was reported most frequently when used at higher doses, when used in the elderly, and especially when used in combination with gemfibrozil, another lipid level lowering drug. The FDA recommends that the 700,000 Americans currently taking Baycol consult their physician about switching to alternate medications to control their cholesterol levels. For more information regarding the withdrawal of Baycol, contact Bayer Customer Service at 800-758-9794 or the FDA's Drug Information Office at 888-INFO-FDA, or visit http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/2001/ANS01095.html.


Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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