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Weekly Drug News Round Up - April 8, 2015

FDA Approves Teva’s ProAir RespiClick for Asthma

ProAir RespiClick is expected to become commercially available to patients during the second quarter of 2015 Read More...

ProAir HFA is a currently approved albuterol asthma inhaler. Now, ProAir RespiClick (albuterol sulfate), also a short-acting beta-agonist (SABA) inhaler has been okayed. ProAir RespiClick is used for the relief or prevention of acute asthma symptoms and for exercise-induced bronchospasm in patients 12 years of age and older. The difference? ProAir RespiClick is the first breath-actuated, dry-powder inhaler to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of acute asthma symptoms. As opposed to sprays, it eliminates the need for hand-breath coordination during inhalation.

More Young People May Be Statin Candidates

Some experts prefer lifestyle changes only in younger patients, while others believe statins have merit in this age group Read More...

Cholesterol guidelines for younger people are at odds. Some cholesterol guidelines recommend that all people aged 17 to 21 get their cholesterol checked to determine if statin treatment is needed, while others are more restrictive for adults under 40 years. A new study from JAMA Pediatrics found that 2.5 percent (483,500) of those with elevated "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol would qualify for statin treatment under the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines for children, compared with only 0.4 percent (78,200) under the ACC/AHA adult guidelines.

Use of Long-Term Birth Control in Teens is Climbing

Teens should talk to their doctor or family planning counselor about long-acting, reversible contraception and other options Read More...

The CDC encourages teens who are not sexually active to continue to wait, but for those that do choose to have sex, the decision should be an informed one. A new U.S. government report states that for teens who use birth control, the use of longer-acting forms of birth control like the IUD and hormonal implants are on an upward trend. Among teens aged 15 to 19, the use of long-acting reversible contraception rose from less than 1 percent in 2005 to about 7 percent in 2013. Teen births continue to decline in the U.S, reaching an all-time low in 2013.

Does More Expensive Treatment Equal Better Outcomes in Breast Cancer?

With recent advances in drug therapy, genomics and technology, will higher costs be the new normal? Read More…

This may be medical news we don’t like to hear: costlier treatments being associated with better outcomes. A recent study published in Health Affairs found an association (but not a cause-and-effect link) between more expensive medical care and improved survival rates among breast cancer patients. Researchers looked at Medicare billing records of 9,800 U.S. women between 67 and 94 years old. Comparing trends from 1994 to 1996, and then from 2004 to 2006, costs for treating women with stage 3 breast cancer jumped from $18,100 to roughly $32,600. Meanwhile, the five-year survival rate for these women improved from 38.5 percent to 52 percent.

Investigational Skin Cancer Vaccine Shows Early Promise

Each patient showed an increase in immune system T-cells that could zero in on their specific cancer Read More...

Cancer immunotherapy, a general term for treatments that enhance the immune system's ability to fight cancer, is a buzz word in medicine today. A new experimental vaccine has shown early results that it can muster an immune response targeted at the skin cancer (melanoma). However, results are early - only three people have been tested - and it’s not known yet if it can be used to treat melanoma. There’s a difference with this vaccine; it can be personalized for a patient’s selected gene mutations unique to that person's cancer. Now Phase I trials will look at the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in six patients.