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Weekly Drug News Round Up - August 22, 2012

Reumofan Plus “Natural Dietary Supplement” Contains Prescription Drugs

FDA has received multiple reports of side effects associated with the use of Reumofan Plus dietary supplements Read More...

A package labeled “natural dietary supplement” may lead one to believe it is safe, right? But just the opposite is true for many adulterated, over-the-counter (OTC) herbal or dietary supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about Reumofan Plus or Reumofan Plus Premium - two OTC products promoted for pain relief that contain unlabeled ingredients. These products contain prescription drugs, including the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac sodium, the muscle relaxant methocarbamol, and dexamethasone, a corticosteroid. In addition to possible drug interactions, diclofenac can lead to serious stomach or heart side effects, methocarbamol may cause sedation, and dexamethasone can suppress the immune system.

Generic Versions of Actos are Approved by the FDA

Generic versions have been launched and are available to be stocked in U.S. pharmacies Read More...

The conversion of expensive, but potentially life-saving brand name medications to affordable generics is a big win for consumers. The generic version of Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone), an oral type 2 diabetes medication used with diet and exercise to improve blood glucose has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pioglitazone is now available in 15, 30 and 45 milligram strengths. Generic ActoPlus Met (pioglitazone and metformin) has also been approved in 15/500 and 15/850 milligram strengths. The FDA has granted Mylan, Teva, and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals 180 days of generic marketing exclusivity on one or both of these products. Sales of Actos in 2012 have already exceeded $1.2 billion.

CDC Encourages Baby Boomers to Get Tested for Hepatitis C Virus

According to the CDC, 1 in 30 baby boomers are infected with the virus but may not know it Read More...

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that every American born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is a liver-destroying virus that can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer or death. The hepatitis C virus is also the leading cause of liver transplants. Hepatitis C can be spread through organ transplants, intravenous drug abuse, contact with blood, unprotected sexual contact, and long-term kidney dialysis. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but drugs such as interferon and ribavirin may be used for treatment in some patients.

Tumor Necrosis Factor Blocker Treatment in Psoriasis May Lower Heart Attack Risk

Psoriasis patients at higher risk for developing heart attacks, strokes, cancer - most likely due to the underlying inflammation Read More...

New research has found that patients who are treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers for psoriasis may be at lower risk for heart attacks than patients who use only topical medications. In the study, one group of patients took TNF blockers such as etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade) or adalimumab (Humira). Other patients were randomly assigned to receive oral medicines - cyclosporine, acitretin or methotrexate - or phototherapy. The third group received topical medications alone. Those treated with TNF inhibitors or with other psoriasis drugs or phototherapy had a roughly 50 percent lower risk for heart attack than those who used topical medications alone.

It's Back-to-School Time: Parents Should Double Check Vaccine Status

Experts state there is no rational reason for not vaccinating a child Read More...

American schools require proof of vaccinations and parents should be diligent in reviewing these records with their pediatrician to be sure all immunizations are up-to-date. There are currently 16 diseases that are preventable with childhood vaccines: chickenpox (varicella), diphtheria, seasonal flu, Haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, measles, meningococcal, mumps, pneumococcal, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis) and polio. Global airline travel increases the chance that an unvaccinated child might contract a disease from anywhere around the world. Polio still exists today in Afghanistan, and whooping cough (pertussis) can be deadly in a child less than 12 months of age.