Clinical trial: How a CU Pharmacy professor’s research is helping people with severe epilepsy

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Video courtesy of Stephanie Carlson, Digital Media Manager, 9Health

For patients with a severe form of epilepsy, it can be dangerous to drive, go to work or even walk to the mailbox alone. A fear of falling and blacking out prevents many patients with medically refractory epilepsy from living lives most people take for granted.

“They can’t have a job, they can’t really live a normal life,” said Tom Anchordoquy, PhD, professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “These patients, before, had to always have someone with them because there was a fear of seizures.”

On top of that, the drugs patients with the severe form of epilepsy take to manage their disorder — which are needed in high concentrations in the brain — are typically taken orally and then distributed throughout the entire body, resulting in problematic side effects. Read More

CU Pharmacy professors weigh in on Denver’s historic psychedelic mushroom initiative

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Denver made history this month by effectively decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms — and experts at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences say the vote marks an important development for the drug, but only time will tell of its impact in a clinical setting.

The initiative, which passed by a close margin and was certified by the city of Denver on May 16, means that arresting anyone for personal possession, consumption or growth of “magic mushrooms” is a low priority for law enforcement. It also prohibits Denver from using city funds to prosecute similar cases.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms haven’t been fully legalized — and unlike marijuana, people won’t be able to legally buy and sell them in the city. Read More

Gene McMahan

Eugene McMahan’s legacy lives on through scholarship

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We are saddened to report that a great friend to our school, Mr. Eugene “Gene” McMahan, has passed away. He was 92 years old.

Gene was an extraordinary, generous person. For 25 consecutive years, he donated a full, in-state tuition scholarship to a pharmacy student in memory of his daughter and CU Pharmacy alumna Teresa McMahan-Shulkin, beginning at a time when in-state tuition was approximately $4,000 and continuing through last year when in-state tuition was nearly $31,000. Read More

Stock Show

Student Postscript from the Stock Show

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“Volunteering for the AHEC health screening booth at the National Western Stock Show has become one of my favorite volunteer opportunities thus far. I first volunteered last year as a first-year pharmacy student. As a first-year student, I jumped at the chance to have more direct patient care experiences and was excited to do so in such a fun environment like the stock show. This opportunity was more rewarding than I had hoped, and I volunteered again to participate in this year’s stock show. This year I not only was able to complete health screenings, but I also helped coordinate and administer donated flu vaccines.

Bringing resources directly to patients, such as free health screenings and free flu shots, helped reach a patient population that is often left underserved. I could not count the number of patients I spoke with that do not have a relationship with a primary care physician in their community or don’t see a doctor on a regular basis. Providing resources in a relaxed environment in which they are comfortable, helps us build rapport and create that first link with the healthcare system. Read More

FIP’s Duggan Issues Global Call to Action at SNOW Symposium

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Pharmacists will – and must – play key roles in tackling the world’s health challenges, Dr. Catherine Duggan, chief executive officer of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, said in her keynote address to the second Pharmacy Strategies for New Opportunities Worldwide (SNOW) Symposium in Breckenridge, Colo. on Jan. 25, 2019.

Dr. Duggan cited the World Health Organization’s 2019 list of global health issues ranging from the potential for an influenza pandemic to antimicrobial resistance to HIV to primary health care in her speech. “Pharmacy is absolutely front and center in all these challenges,” said Dr. Duggan, who recently became CEO of the federation, know as FIP for its French name Fédération Internationale Pharmaceutique. Read More

Capitol building

Bills to curb opioid crisis on legislative docket

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The Colorado Legislature is back in session, and once again faculty from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences are working closely with lawmakers to provide their expertise on the opioid crisis.

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy is the home of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, which coordinates Colorado’s statewide response to the opioid epidemic. School of Pharmacy professor Robert Valuck, PhD, RPh, is the Consortium’s executive director, and he has helped lawmakers understand the crisis and provided them with reliable information for the past several years.

The Legislature convened in early January, and its agenda included bills that would expand medication-assisted treatment and create new law enforcement programs. “The bills the legislature passed last year and the ones it will consider this session will make an impact to Coloradans dealing with substance use disorder and help the public understand the risks of opioids,” Valuck said. Read More

Skaggs School of Pharmacy Faculty

CU Pharmacy investigators receive PhRMA Foundation Award

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The University of Colorado Center for Pharmaceutical Value (PValue) has been established with a Value Assessment Center of Excellence Award from the PhRMA Foundation.

The foundation grant of $500,000 was awarded to Jonathan Campbell, PhD, R. Brett McQueen, PhD, and Melanie Whittington, PhD, who have primary faculty appointments in the field of Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

PValue will be a center of excellence within the D2V initiative, a Transformational Research Funding project supported by the Dean’s Office of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. D2V will support PValue through a matching award of $500,000. Additional D2V support will include peer review, shared professional research assistance, project management expertise, and institutional accountability. The total award will be allocated over three years to establish PValue initiatives. Read More

Scholarship Luncheon

Inspiration for future pharmacists

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Sheldon “Shelly” E. Steinhauser knows the value of pharmacy – it was instilled in him during his childhood. His father, an immigrant, was a Navy doctor and, later, a neighborhood physician who worked closely with a trusted community pharmacist.

“My father wouldn’t make a key decision about prescribing drugs for his patients without consulting the pharmacist,” said Shelly. “Today, people are just as likely to turn to pharmacists whenever they have questions about prescription drugs and other health aids. They’re critical to our health care system.” Read More

Survey: Coloradans think there is a prescription drug abuse problem in their communities

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Coloradans are concerned about prescription drug abuse and support increased state funding for initiatives to address the epidemic, according to a survey commissioned by the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention to measure the public’s awareness of the opioid crisis.

More than half of the survey’s 1,400 respondents (57 percent) thought there was a problem with people in their community misusing prescription medication such as opioids, and 57 percent said they had heard or seen a message about prescription drug abuse being a problem in Colorado. Many of those surveyed had a personal connection to the crisis, as 37 percent said they knew someone who was or had been addicted to prescription medication. Read More