Saffron: Adulteration Concerns for the Most Expensive Spice in the World
- Pain Point: Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is gaining in popularity as a supplement. A growing body of research suggests that it might be helpful for various mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder. However, its high price has led to rampant adulteration, producing saffron products that are unlikely to provide benefits.
- Solution: Patients may be interested in trying a saffron supplement, and providers may be interested in recommending this as an alternative therapy for certain mental health disorders. But patients are unlikely to experience the benefits if they purchase a low-quality supplement that has been adulterated with other ingredients. In this article, we provide guidance on what to watch for, and how to identify high-quality saffron spices and supplements.
Put New Heart Failure Guidelines in Perspective
- Pain Point: New guidelines for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) are catching up with the evidence and raising questions about practical application. For many years, we’ve used “triple therapy” for HFrEF (an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker [ARB], an evidence-based beta-blocker, and aldosterone antagonist) to reduce hospitalizations and death. Now guidelines are recommending “QUAD” therapy with sacubitril/valsartan (Entresto) instead of an ACE inhibitor or ARB and adding an SGLT2 inhibitor to further reduce hospitalization and death. However, less than 1% of HFrEF patients are currently on traditional triple therapy at target doses, plus QUAD therapy adds more than $1000/month to med cost.
- Solution: Our Pharmacist’s Letter, Prescriber’s Letter, and Pharmacist’s Letter Canada articles focus on optimizing traditional triple therapy first, then using shared decision making to determine whether the new guidance is practical for individual patients. Recommendations are provided about how to increase therapy for patients with persistent symptoms, as well as special considerations for patients with diabetes. Tips are also included about safety monitoring related to angioedema, genitourinary infections, and acute kidney injury. Readers can use our Guide for Helping Patients Afford Their Meds, for assistance with whittling duplicate or unneeded medications. Also included is our Improving Heart Failure Care Toolbox, with patient education tools and strategies to improve adherence.
This month’s Insights also features PTU Elite: Soft Skills, a training program that helps pharmacy technicians build and develop essential competencies that lead to better patient care and improved staff retention. Available for group purchases.
And don’t miss out on our most popular charts, as well as helpful resources from our Transitions of Care Resource Hub. You’ll also get details on freshly released CE/CME courses, and can’t-miss webinars.
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