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News Round Up - July 26, 2011

2011-2012 Flu Vaccine Formulation Approved by FDA

Flu vaccine make-up remains the same for this season, but re-vaccination required nonetheless Read more...

While our friends in the southern hemisphere are still in the midst of flu season, we in the US are already preparing for the upcoming 2011-2012 season. The FDA announced this week that this year’s flu vaccine will contain the same viral strains as the 2010-2011 flu season. Does that mean you can skip this year’s vaccine? Absolutely not. You’ll still need to get re-vaccinated this Fall because flu vaccine protection declines each year. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all persons 6 months of age and older get a flu shot every year.

Preventive Care Recommendations Include Free Birth Control for US Women

Eight preventative care services for US women are at the forefront of new Institute of Medicine recommendations for health care reform Read more....

Free is good. But free health care is not the norm for most US consumers. American women share an even larger burden of health care costs due to birth control and pregnancy-related costs. However, according to new recommendations made this week by the Institute of Medicine, women should be covered by more preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs. Recommendations include FDA-approved birth control methods and sterilization, HPV testing, screening for pregnancy-related gestational diabetes, breast-feeding support, and screening and counseling for HIV, domestic violence, and sexually transmitted diseases. At least one preventive care medical visit per year is also recommended to gain access to the services.

Brilinta Approved to Reduce Heart Attack and Death in Acute Coronary Syndrome

Astra-Zeneca’s Brilinta receives FDA approval for patients with acute coronary syndrome: aspirin doses limited in prescription label Read more....

This fact you know: heart disease continues to rank as the leading cause of death in the developed world. The US FDA has approved Brilinta (ticagrelor) to be used with 75-100 mg aspirin per day in patients with acute coronary syndrome at risk of heart attack and death. Brilinta, a blood thinner, helps to prevent the formation of new blood clots that may lead to acute coronary events. Brilinta’s approved label includes a boxed warning stating that aspirin doses greater than 100 mg per day decrease the drug’s effectiveness. Astra-Zeneca will conduct a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program to ensure prescribers are aware of the aspirin dose limitations.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Dosing Errors in Children Addressed by FDA

The FDA warns consumers about acetaminophen overdose if multiple over-the-counter or prescription acetaminophen products used in children Read more....

It always seems overwhelming at the pharmacy: which cough, cold or allergy product should you choose for your little one? Fact is, many of these products available over-the-counter (OTC) also contain acetaminophen, (Tylenol) a common fever and pain reliever for children. Acetaminophen is a safe medicine if dosed correctly for kids. But mixing acetaminophen with other OTC medications that also contain acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver, and may even lead to death if given in excess doses. The same holds true for prescriptions you might receive at the pharmacy, which may list acetaminophen as “APAP” on the label. The FDA and their advisory panel of experts provide consumer tips, suggested label changes and expert recommendations. Your pharmacist knows which medications contain acetaminophen, too, so be sure to ask.

Study: Zoloft and Remeron Shown Ineffective for Depression in Alzheimer’s Disease

Zoloft and Remeron have been shown ineffective and with greater side effects in Alzheimer’s patients with depression Read More...

Here’s a staggering statistic: 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Another common disease, depression, also frequently occurs in Alzheimer’s patients. A new study suggests health care providers may need to reconsider common drug treatment for depression in Alzheimer’s patients. Two antidepressants, Zoloft (sertraline) and Remeron (mirtazapine) are frequently prescribed to Alzheimer’s patients, but trials evaluating their effectiveness and safety for depression are lacking. In a recent study in 218 patients, neither drug was shown more effective than the placebo (sugar pill) over a 13-week period. Side effects, sometimes serious, were also more common in patients who received Zoloft or Remeron.