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Weekly Drug News Round Up - August 14, 2013

Q2 2013 Drug Sales Data Released: Humira Climbs and Posts Double-Digit Growth

Humira jumps from the number six to the number three spot in top quarterly sales Read More... has released the latest U.S. drug sales data. Since Q2 2012, Otuska’s antipsychotic Abilify and AstraZeneca’s acid reducer Nexium have held either the number one or two spot in top dollar sales. This quarter, both agents continue to maintain their stronghold; each drug posts close to $1.5 billion in sales. Humira, AbbVie’s key tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker, climbs three notches and sees a double-digit gain for the quarter. Biogen Idec’s Avonex takes a hit this quarter and loses $187 million in sales; complete data can be viewed here.

FDA Approves GSK's Tivicay to Treat HIV Infection

Roughly 50,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year; about 15,000 died from the disease in 2010 Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved GlaxoSmithkline’s Tivicay (dolutegravir), an oral treatment for HIV-1 infection. Tivicay, an integrase inhibitor, interferes with an enzyme necessary for HIV to multiply. Tivicay was evaluated in four trials with over 2,500 participants who received Tivicay or Isentress (raltegravir), each in combination with other antiretroviral drugs, or Atripla, a fixed-dose combination of efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir. Results showed Tivicay-containing regimens were effective in reducing viral loads. Tivicay is also approved for children ages 12 years and older weighing at least 88 pounds who have not previously taken other integrase strand transfer inhibitors.

Powerful Antibiotics Inappropriately Prescribed for Viral Infections: Study

Using an antibiotic to treat a virus leads to antibiotic resistance - antibiotics lose their power to kill bacterial infections Read More...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rank antibiotic resistance as one of the top health concerns facing the nation. In a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, researchers analyzed data from over 238,000 U.S. outpatient clinic visits made by adults from 2007 to 2009. Broad-spectrum antibiotics such as azithromycin (Z-Pak) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro) -- drugs that are capable of killing multiple types of bacteria -- accounted for 61 percent of antibiotic prescriptions. More than a quarter of these prescriptions were inappropriately written for viral infections, which increase the risk of antibiotic resistance.

Is Anesthesia Safe for A Young Child’s Brain?

More than 1 million children under the age of four require anesthesia for surgery in the U.S each year Read More...

When infants or young children need surgery, does anesthesia affect their developing brains? As noted in a recent FDA consumer update, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other research facilities are working to answer this question. Studies in very young children have been conflicting about the effect of anesthesia on the brain. To prompt research, the FDA and the International Anesthesia Research Society have started an initiative called SmartTots (Strategies for Mitigating Anesthesia-Related neuroToxicity in Tots). SmartTots seeks to ensure that children under age 4 will be as safe as possible when they need anesthesia such as ketamine during surgery. New research will work towards determining the safest anesthesia regimens possible.

FDA Alert: Specialty Compounding Sterile Products Recalled

Cultures from calcium gluconate compounded by Specialty Compounding show growth of bacteria consistent with Rhodococcus species Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting healthcare providers and the public of a voluntary nationwide recall of all sterile products received from Specialty Compounding, LLC, Cedar Park, TX since May 9, 2013.  Healthcare providers, facilities and patients should discontinue use, quarantine the products, and return the products to Specialty Compounding. There have been recent reports of bacterial bloodstream infections of Rhodococcus equi potentially related to the company's calcium gluconate infusions. The recall was initiated after reports of bacterial infections affecting 15 patients at two Texas hospitals, Corpus Christi Medical Center Doctors Regional and Corpus Christi Medical Center Bay Area.