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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: April 19, 2017

Population Expanded for Tecentriq Urothelial Carcinoma Treatment

Bladder cancer is the most common type of urothelial carcinoma Read More...

Tecentriq (atezolizumab) from Genentech is a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) blocking antibody indicated for the treatment of patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma and patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Urothelial carcinoma, a type of cancer that occurs in the urinary system, includes cancers of the bladder, urethra, ureters and renal pelvis. On Monday, the FDA expanded the urothelial carcinoma indication to include those who are not eligible for cisplatin chemotherapy, which may include up to 50% of patients. Tecentriq was previously approved for people with locally advanced or metastatic disease who have disease progression during or following any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or within 12 months of receiving chemotherapy before or after surgery.

FDA Approves Lucentis for All Forms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 Read More...

Lucentis (ranibizumab) is a humanized anti-VEGF antibody fragment now FDA-approved for the monthly treatment of all forms of diabetic retinopathy, as well as neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration, macular edema following retinal vein occlusion, diabetic macular edema (DME), and myopic choroidal neovascularization. Lucentis, from Genentech, is the only treatment for diabetic retinopathy in people who have been diagnosed either with or without DME, a complication of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the back of the eye. The most common eye-related side effects linked with Lucentis include increased eye redness, eye pain, small specks in vision and increased eye pressure.

Statin Guidelines Mismatch Leaves Some Patients in the “Gray Zone”

Critics argue these two guidelines are not optimal

Research from Duke and published in JAMA questions whether the US has an optimal set of guidelines for high cholesterol treatment. Both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association have published statin guidelines for primary prevention that focus on a calculated overall heart risk. However, according to the research, when risk is assessed for individual patients, the difference between the two sets of guidelines leaves 9 million Americans in a statin "gray zone." Ultimately, patients and doctors must have discussions about the benefits and risks of high cholesterol treatment, including statin side effects such as muscle pain or elevated blood sugars.

Does Azithromycin Antibiotic Cause an Abnormal Heart Rhythm?

Can a Z-Pak cause an irregular heartbeat like its cousin antibiotic erythromycin? Read More...

The macrolide antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax Z-Pak) is frequently prescribed for urinary tract and respiratory infections. But concern exists about azithromycin causing abnormal heart rhythms. To clarify this concern, researchers looked at data from more than 14 million new antibiotic users in Europe. The study found that 0.1% of the 14 million people, or 14,000, developed ventricular arrhythmia; however, only 30 of those patients were new users of azithromycin. Still, this rate was higher than those who did not take any antibiotic. The risk of ventricular arrhythmia is more likely to be due to a person's poor health and caused by their infection than due to azithromycin.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments Aren’t All Alike: FDA

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects about 15.3 million people in the US, with women more frequently Read More…

Common symptoms of the gastrointestinal disorder irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, excessive gas, mucous in the stool, and alterations in bowel habits (constipation and/or diarrhea). Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects the large intestine (colon) but doesn’t cause inflammation or permanent damage. Some patients will alternate between constipation and diarrhea. As noted by the FDA, there are no medications that cure IBS. Some treatments, such as Viberzi (eluxadoline), used for diarrhea-predominant IBS, or Linzess (linaclotide), used for constipation-predominant IBS, can lessen symptoms, but should be used only as a last option. Changes in diet, nutrition and exercise should be tried first.