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Drug guidelines are established for a reason: they allow doctors to give their patients the best possible pharmacological care without needing to know everything about every drug at their disposal.
But what’s recommended is not always put into practice, and sometimes those guidelines have unintended consequences.
Sarah A. Spinler, PharmD, BCPS (AQ Cardiology), professor of clinical pharmacy at University of the Sciences’ Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, studies what actually happens to patients who are hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes (ACS), like heart attack.
“Our research evaluates whether or not practice guidelines that were developed based upon results of clinical trials are working in everyday practice,” she said.
Her research has led to changes in the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation practice guidelines and to FDA-issued warnings about possibly deadly drug interactions that can be easily avoided. In particular, an FDA warning was issued regarding a simvastatin amiodarone drug interaction that was part of the study.
“We were ahead of the game by having the simvastatin amiodarone drug interaction already programmed into our hospital computer,” she said.