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Weekly Drug News Round Up - April 23, 2014

Rare Neurologic Problems May Be Seen with Epidural Corticosteroids

Patients should review benefits and risks of epidural injections with their doctor prior to administration Read More...

Epidural corticosteroid injections, such as those with methylprednisolone, are sometimes given to treat neck and back pain, and radiating pain of the extremities. Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that injections of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine could result in rare but serious side effects, such as loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death. Epidural injections are frequently used, but the FDA has not officially approved corticosteroids for this use. FDA is requiring the addition of a Warning to the drug labels of injectable corticosteroids to describe these risks.

FDA Approves Lilly’s Cyramza for Advanced Stomach Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 22,220 Americans will be diagnosed with stomach cancer this year Read More...

Cyramza (ramucirumab) is a human vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) antagonist indicated to treat patients with advanced stomach cancer or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, a form of cancer located in the region where the esophagus joins the stomach. On April 21 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cyramza based on a clinical trial of 355 participants. Those treated with Cyramza experienced a median overall survival of 5.2 months compared to 3.8 months in participants receiving placebo. Additionally, participants who took Cyramza experienced a delay in tumor growth (progression-free survival) compared to participants who were given placebo.

Mylan’s Xulane Launched as First Generic for Ortho Evra Patch

In 2013, Ortho Evra had U.S. sales of approximately $153 million Read More...

A new generic, lower-cost birth control patch, Xulane (norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol transdermal system 150/35 mcg per day), is now available for women who use Janssen’s Ortho Evra patch. Xulane, the first generic for Ortho Evra, is used to prevent pregnancy in women who elect to use a transdermal patch as a method of contraception. Other non-pill hormonal birth control options include: the birth control ring, also known as NuvaRing; the birth control implant, also known as Implanon or Nexplanon; the intrauterine device or IUD, also known as Mirena or Skyla; and the birth control shot, also known as Depo-Provera or Depo-subQ Provera 104.

Merck and Catalent’s Ragwitek Approved for Adult Ragweed Allergies

The most common side effects with Ragwitek included throat irritation and itching of the mouth and ears Read More...

In an effort to aid seasonal allergy sufferers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Ragwitek, a once-daily sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablet that contains an allergen extract from short ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen. Treatment should begin 12 weeks before the start of ragweed season -- which in the U.S. includes late summer and early fall -- and continued throughout the season. The first dose is given in a doctor’s office so that the patient can be monitored for any serious allergic reactions. Other tips for seasonal allergies can be found here.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: This Saturday

Your meds will be disposed of safely, legally, and in an environmentally-friendly manner, too, with no questions asked Read More...

It’s important we all do our part to fight drug abuse. This Saturday, April 26th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm local time, communities will team up with law enforcement to host the eighth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can drop off your unused, expired and/or dangerous medicines at local venues in your town. Expired or unused drugs often stay in the back of cabinets for months or even years. Studies show most people who abuse prescription drugs get them (or steal them) from friends or relatives. Be sure to drop off any expired or dangerous medicines at local venues in your town this weekend.