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Weekly Drug News Round Up - April 22, 2015

Amgen’s Corlanor Approved Under Priority Review for Heart Failure

Heart failure is a common condition affecting about 5.1 million people in the United States Read More…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Amgen’s Corlanor (ivabradine) to reduce hospitalization from worsening heart failure. Corlanor is an oral hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channel blocker. It slows the heart rate by inhibiting the I(f)current ('funny' current) in the body's cardiac pacemaker. In clinical trials of 6,505 participants, Corlanor reduced the time to first occurrence of hospitalization for worsening heart failure compared to an inactive drug (placebo). Common side effects observed in clinical trials included a slowed heart rate, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, and visual flashes of light.

Glatopa FDA-Approved as First Generic Version of Copaxone

MS affects about half a million individuals in the US alone; only half of those diagnosed are currently treated Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Sandoz’s Glatopa, the first generic version of Teva's Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) 20 mg/mL one-time-daily multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy. Glatopa is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of MS, including those who have experienced a first clinical episode and have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features consistent with MS. Glatiramer is a combination of four amino acids (proteins) that affect the immune system to lessen MS relapses. Glatopa is a substitutable generic version of Copaxone.

New Guidelines Released That Address Treating a First Seizure

One in 10 people worldwide will have a seizure in his or her lifetime Read More...

As published in Neurology, health experts have updated guidelines that address how to treat a first-time seizure. Adults who have a first seizure are at greatest risk for another seizure within two years, and the risk varies from 21 percent to 45 percent. The evidence-based guidelines, released by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society, conclude that taking epilepsy drugs immediately after a first seizure may reduce the risk of more seizures. Evidence also revealed that the risk of a second seizure is highest in people with a previous brain problem -- such as stroke, brain tumor, head injury, or signs of epilepsy through an EEG.

FDA Weighs Tighter Control of Homeopathic Medications

The agency has issued nearly 40 warning letters since 2009 regarding the safety of various homeopathic products Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering whether or not to control homeopathic medications with the same scrutiny as over-the-counter medicines. Currently, homeopathic drugs can be placed on shelves without any pre-market approval by the FDA. However, if FDA regulated them, manufacturers would have to show safety and effectiveness of their products before marketing, and the FDA would review the label to inspect for false claims. Although homeopathic medicine is growing rapidly in the U.S., the FDA has seen many safety concerns with products like Zicam, Hyland's Teething Tablets, and homeopathic products that promise to treat asthma symptoms.

Should You Take Aspirin to Ward Off Stomach Cancer?

Experts do not recommend regular aspirin use to prevent cancer because it’s not known if the overall risks are greater than the benefit Read More...

A recent study from Harvard looked at data on aspirin use and cancer risk from over 130,000 participants. Researchers found that those who took at least 325 mg of aspirin two times a week had a lower risk of cancer. The reduced risk was largely due to fewer cases of gastrointestinal cancers, including colon cancer, rectal cancer and esophageal cancer. There was a 20 percent lower risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the colon and rectum, among people taking aspirin. However, no link was found between aspirin use and a lower risk of breast cancer, advanced prostate cancer or lung cancer.