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Weekly Drug News Round Up - April 25, 2012

Fentanyl (Duragesic) Patches Must Be Utilized and Disposed of Properly

Healthcare providers urged to educate consumers about fentanyl patch safe use and disposal Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received 26 reports of accidental pediatric exposures to the potent narcotic analgesic fentanyl (Duragesic). Exposures have occurred via the fentanyl transdermal skin patch. Of these 26 cases, 16 involved children 2 years of age or younger, 12 resulted in hospitalization, and 10 exposures were fatal. FDA is reminding consumers and healthcare providers of the proper use and disposal of fentanyl patches. The adhesive side of the fentanyl patch should be folded together and then flushed down the toilet. The patches should not be placed in the trash where children or pets can find them.

FDA Update: New Warnings and Contraindications For Aliskiren

Blood pressure-lowering medication aliskiren (Tekturna and combination brands) has important label updates Read More...

FDA has issued a Medwatch Alert to inform patients and healthcare providers that the antihypertensive medication aliskiren (Tekturna) and related combination drugs that contain aliskiren (Amturnide, Tekturna HCT, Tekamlo, Valturna) have a new labeled contraindication. These drugs should not be used with ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) or ACEIs (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) in patients with diabetes because of the risk of renal impairment, hypotension, and hyperkalemia. In addition, a warning has been added to these labels to avoid use of aliskiren with ARBs or ACEIs in patients with moderate to severe renal impairment (where glomerular filtration rate is less than 60 milliters per minute). Valturna will no longer be marketed after July 2012. Patients should not stop taking aliskiren-containing medications without talking to their healthcare professional.

Sterile Compounded Triamcinolone May Be Associated With Infections

FDA issues second warning to healthcare providers about sterile triamcinolone from Franck’s Pharmacy in Ocala, Florida Read More...

The Centers for Disease Control is advising healthcare providers to stop use of all sterile triamcinolone-containing products purchased from Franck’s Compounding Lab in Ocala, Florida due to infection risk. FDA also now requests that physicians report all cases of suspected fungal or bacterial infections that have occurred within the last six months associated with any drugs labeled as sterile from Franck’s Pharmacy. Previously, on March 19, 2012 a Medwatch alert was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to warn ophthalmologists that four lots of Brilliant Blue G (BBG) were associated with fungal eye infections in patients having eye surgery. Practitioners were asked to immediately quarantine and return any BBG product received from Franck’s Pharmacy.

Guidelines: Preventive Migraine Medications Are Underutilized

Most migraine sufferers are not using preventive treatment; new guidelines make recommendations for optimal choices Read More...

Throbbing headache pain, sensitivity to light and sound, severe nauseousness - these are all symptoms of the worst migraine headache attack that can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. New migraine headache guidelines, published in Neurology, suggest that many migraine sufferers may not be using the available treatments that prevent migraine attacks. Twenty-nine studies were evaluated to build the guideline recommendations, which include affordable generic drugs such as the anti-seizure medications divalproex sodium, topiramate, valproate sodium, and beta-blockers like metoprolol, propranolol, and timolol. Treatment should be tailored to the needs of the patient, taking into consideration past treatment failures, side effects and other concurrent diseases that may need treatment, as well.

Botox Has Limited Effectiveness For Certain Migraine Headaches

Botox of little help for people with episodic migraines, chronic or episodic tension-type headaches Read More...

You may know Botox as the anti-wrinkle treatment of Hollywood stars, but did you know it is also approved for prevention of chronic migraine headaches, as well? Chronic migraine headaches are defined as occurring 15 or more days each month and lasting at least 4 hours each day. A review of Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed 31 placebo-controlled and comparative clinical trials in over 5300 patients. Researchers found Botox was not associated with a reduction in the frequency of chronic migraines compared to topiramate or amitriptyline, or in a reduction of the frequency of chronic or episodic migraines compared to valproate. However, experts still contend that there may be some small benefit from Botox in decreasing the frequency of chronic migraine and chronic daily headache.