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Weekly Drug News Round Up - April 24, 2013

Amitiza Approved for Treatment of Opioid-Induced Constipation

Studies show that roughly 40-80 percent of patients taking opioids for non-cancer pain report constipation Read More...

Amitiza (lubiprostone) has been FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in adult patients with chronic, non-cancer pain. Amitiza clinical trials included opioids such as morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl; however, Amitiza has not been shown to be effective for constipation due to diphenylheptane opioids such as methadone. Amitiza is also approved for chronic idiopathic constipation and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Amitiza, an osmotic laxative, activates CIC-2 chloride channels to increase intestinal motility and fluid secretions. Relistor (methylnaltrexone) is another agent available for the treatment of OIC in patients with terminal illnesses when laxatives are not effective.

Simbrinza Combination Approved for Glaucoma

Glaucoma affects more than 2.2 million Americans and is the second-leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Alcon’s Simbrinza (brinzolamide and brimonidine tartrate suspension) for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that lead to progressive damage of the optic nerve and possible blindness. Simbrinza is the only fixed-dose combination therapy for glaucoma in the U.S. that does not contain a beta-blocker. Brinzolamide is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor and brimonidine is an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist. Treatment side effects include blurred vision, eye irritation, bad taste, dry mouth and eye allergy.

Ingredient in New MS Drug May be Linked to Brain Disease

The ingredient in Biogen’s Tecfidera, dimethyl fumarate, is linked to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) Read More...

The active ingredient in Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate), a drug recently approved in the U.S. for multiple sclerosis (MS) has been linked to four European cases of a rare but possibly fatal brain disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The ingredient, dimethyl fumarate, is also found in a psoriasis drug called Fumaderm that was approved in Germany in 1994. As published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Biogen stated that Tecfidera may be safer because it only contains dimethyl fumarate, while Fumaderm also contains three other fumaric acid esters. However, the physician author states that the two drugs are identical once they are broken down in the body. Other MS drugs have been linked to PML, as well.

Home Medicine Cabinet Repository for Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

Abuse of prescription drugs in high school students has increased 33 percent from 2008 Read More...

A new survey shows that 24 percent of high school students -- more than 5 million kids -- have abused prescription medications. The findings stem from a 2012 poll given by The Partnership at and MetLife Foundation. The survey involved nearly 3,900 teens in public, private and parochial high schools, and more than 800 parents. About 13 percent of students admitted to experimenting with stimulants such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) or Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), both used for treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Twenty percent of those who admit to the abuse say they did it before age of 14, and many feel the use of prescription drugs is safer than street drugs.

Save the Date: April 27th - National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Free and safe medication disposal will once again be available nationwide - with no questions asked Read More...

Communities will team up with law enforcement this Saturday, April 27th to host the sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm local time. Drug disposal at local community sites will help to reduce prescription drug abuse, safeguard homes, and provide an environmentally friendly answer to neglected medications. Throwing away medications in trash cans or flushing them down the toilet can be a safety and health hazard. At the last Take-Back Day in September 2012, over 244 tons of unwanted or expired medications were surrendered for safe and proper disposal at over 5,200 sites. Call 1-800-882-9539 to locate local collection sites.