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Weekly News Round Up - April 11, 2012

FDA Approves Diagnostic Agent Amyvid To Scan for Alzheimer's Disease

New tool utilizes radioactive imaging to detect beta-amyloid plaques during brain PET scan Read More...

Cognitive impairment may include memory loss, language difficulties, and behavioral issues. The diagnosis of cognitive decline received a boost this week as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Amyvid (Florbetapir F 18 Injection), a radioactive diagnostic agent to detect beta-amyloid plaques in patients with cognitive impairment and suspected Alzheimer’s disease. Amyvid attaches to the amyloid plaque, which is a characteristic feature in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques are visualized by using PET scan images of the brain. A positive scan is used in conjunction with patient history and clinical evaluation to make the Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

Victoza Label Reflects Superior Blood Sugar Control Over Januvia

Victoza label updates: superior A1C control compared to Januvia, greater weight loss, adjunct insulin safe Read More...

Metformin may be the initial treatment to help lower blood sugar for many type 2 diabetic patients who are insulin resistant and overweight. But often, additional therapies are required to reach adequate A1C, a measure of blood glucose control. A Victoza (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) label update now indicates superiority to Januvia (sitagliptin) in controlling A1C. From a 26-week, open label, randomized study, Victoza treatment plus metformin resulted in greater A1C reductions than Januvia plus metformin (-1.2 percent and -1.5 percent for Victoza vs. -0.9 percent for Januvia). Patients also lost an average of 4 to 5.5 lbs more using Victoza. The use of Levemir (insulin detemir) with Victoza plus metformin was also shown to be safe and effective.

Drospirenone in Birth Control Pills Does Lead to Higher Blood Clot Risk

FDA completes review of drospirenone; the contraceptive hormone is linked to as much as 3-fold higher risk for blood clots Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after a completed review of epidemiological studies, is reporting that the oral contraceptive hormone drospirenone may be associated with a higher risk for blood clots than other progestin-containing birth control pills. The labels of drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives, such as Beyaz, Safyral, Yasmin, and Yaz will be updated with the pertinent studies. Some studies reported up to a 3-fold increase in the risk of developing a venous thromboembolic event (VTE), while other studies found no increased risk. Women should speak with their healthcare professional about the risk of blood clots prior to deciding on a contraceptive method.

Side Effects Lead to Poor Adherence With Urinary Incontinence Drugs

Side effects such as dry mouth and constipation often lead women to stop therapy for overactive bladder Read More...

Urge incontinence is marked by abrupt urges to urinate that can result in leaks and accidents. Medication is often used in conjunction with exercises to treat overactive bladder. But many of these medications have anticholinergic side effects, such as dry mouth and constipation, that women find bothersome. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine analyzed 94 studies to evaluate drug effectiveness and tolerance. There were few comparative studies, but treatments such as Detrol LA, Ditropan XL, and Vesicare were reviewed. Researchers point out that while the drugs did help women to stay dry, there was only a small improvement and discontinuation of treatment was frequent. Vesicare had the lowest rate of treatment discontinuation due to side effects.

Breast Cancer Risk May Be Higher With Use of Depo-Provera

Risk fades within months after discontinuation; association seen but cause-and effect not proven Read More...

The occurrence of breast cancer in young women is rare, but it is still important to identify risks associated with various birth control options. Researchers compared roughly 1,000 Seattle women age 20 to 44 who had a previous breast cancer diagnosis with about 900 women who did not. Recent use of Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) was associated with a 2.2-fold increased risk for invasive breast cancer. The risk appears to fade within months after discontinuation of Depo-Provera, and there is no risk if use is less than one year or if treatment had been stopped for one year or more. Researchers point out the study has some limitations, and more evaluations are needed.