July 21, 2017
Norfolk, VA--H. Edward Davidson, PharmD, MPH, and Lisa Han, MPH, partners of Norfolk-based Insight Therapeutics, a research and patient care consulting firm, recently co-authored a study published in the prestigious international journal, Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study, “Comparative Effectiveness of High-Dose Versus Standard-Dose Influenza Vaccination on Numbers of US Nursing Home Residents Admitted to Hospital: A Cluster-Randomised Trial,” is the largest national nursing home study to date to examine the impact of a high-dose flu vaccine on residents. The article can be found here.
The study, which involved 823 Medicare-certified nursing facilities and over 92,000 residents throughout the US, found that when compared to standard-dose vaccines, high-dose vaccines resulted in significantly reduced risk of hospitalization for respiratory illnesses and other causes during flu season. Specifically, the authors found a 12.7% reduction in the incidence of hospitalization for respiratory illness, such as pneumonia, and an 8.5% reduction in hospitalizations from all causes among Medicare beneficiaries who lived at nursing homes and received high-dose flu vaccines.
The study was funded through an investigator-initiated grant by Sanofi Pasteur.
These findings are significant, as lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and tracheobronchitis are the leading cause of infection-related hospitalizations and death in older adults. These illnesses particularly take their toll on frail older adults such as nursing home residents. In this population which generally is older, frailer, and has more illnesses and chronic conditions than their community-dwelling counterparts, even a minor respiratory illness can result in hospitalization, numerous complications, and even death. At the same time, the flu alone affects 4 million adults over the age of 65 in the U.S. annually at a cost of $8.3 billion, according to Dr. Davidson and his co-authors. “Preventive efforts that both improve outcomes and reduce costs are key elements of quality care; and we need to identify those interventions that provide maximum value,” says Dr. Davidson.
Dr. Davidson is pleased to be part of an innovative study that will encourage facilities to revisit their vaccine policies and consider the benefits of high-dose vaccinations for their residents. “The results of this study should help those in the nursing home community with decisions regarding vaccine choice for their residents,” he says.
In addition to his work with Insight Therapeutics, Dr. Davidson also is Assistant Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine with the Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. He is Editor-in-Chief of The Consultant Pharmacist, the official journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. The other authors on the study are Stefan Gravenstein, MD; Monica Taljaard, PhD; Jessica Ogarek, MS; Pedro Gozalo, PhD; Lisa Han, MPH; and Vincent Mor, PhD.