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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: August 17, 2016

Long-Acting Sustol Approved for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

Sustol, due to its extended-release profile, can protect patients up to five days after treatment Read More...

Acute and delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) can be a side effect that alters cancer treatment schedules and may affect a patient's outcomes. This past week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Heron Therapeutics' Sustol (granisetron), a long-acting, injectable 5-HT3 antagonist for the prevention of CINV due to certain cancer treatments. Sustol has a polymer-based drug delivery system to maintain therapeutic levels of granisetron for 5 days or longer, covering both the acute and delayed phases of CINV. In studies, common side effects include injection site reactions, constipation, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, insomnia, dizziness, and gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn).

Is a Beta-Blocker Always Needed After Heart Angioplasty?

Researchers state a clinical trial is needed before treatment guidelines are changed Read More...

A study published this week examined the need for continued beta-blockers after the patient had received an angioplasty procedure to correct restricted heart blood flow. Researchers looked at over 755,000 records of patients who had received an angioplasty for repeated chest pain. These patients had not suffered a heart attack or heart failure, but more than 71 percent of these patients had been prescribed a beta blocker during the 8-year study period. The researchers found no difference in death rate, heart attack, or strokes between those who received beta-blockers and those who did not. Common beta blockers include propranolol, metoprolol, and atenolol.

Can Acetaminophen Use in Pregnancy Cause ADHD in Children?

Experts believe that the drug can still be used as a first-line medication in pregnant women Read More...

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has historically been recommended as a safe over-the-counter drug to use for headaches, fever and mild pain during pregnancy. A study out this week suggests -- but cannot prove -- that acetaminophen can up the risk of behavioral issues such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children born to women who took acetaminophen during pregnancy. Taking acetaminophen between 18 and 32 weeks in pregnancy was linked with a 42% elevated risk of behavioral problems in children and a 31% increased risk of hyperactivity, according to the study. However, other experts remind mothers that most children exposed to acetaminophen in pregnancy do not end up with behavioral or emotional issues.

Antipsychotic Meds Pose Low Risk of Birth Defects: Study

However, researchers state more research is needed, especially when it comes to risperidone Read More...

Any drug should be avoided in pregnancy when possible. But for pregnant women with serious medical conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder, avoiding medications may not be an option. Today, a new study from researchers at Harvard and published in JAMA Psychiatry states the use of antipsychotics in early pregnancy does not significantly increase the risk of birth defects, including heart defects. Researchers tracked Medicaid data on 1.3 million pregnant women in order to assess the effects of older and newer antipsychotics. The study focused on the most often used drugs in both classes including aripiprazole (Abilify), olanzapine (Zyprexa), and risperidone (Risperdal).

Investigational Drug for High Risk Osteoporosis Improves Bone Density

Estimates suggest that more than 3 million women between the ages of 50 and 69 have osteoporosis Read More...

As reported in research this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), fewer women with high risk osteoporosis taking the investigational drug abaloparatide had spine fractures (0.58 percent) than women receiving a placebo (4.22 percent) and slightly fewer than those taking a similar injectable drug, teriparatide (Forteo) (0.84 percent). If the new injectable drug is approved by the FDA, researchers say it will compete with Forteo, driving down the price of both drugs. Currently, Forteo runs about $2,500 per month if paying cash, and with insurance copays it ranges from $30 to $400 monthly.