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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: August 24, 2016

Troxyca ER: Pfizer’s Severe Pain Drug Clears FDA

When the pellets are crushed, naltrexone is released to counteract the effects of oxycodone Read More...

Development of abuse-deterrent pain medications are one tactic encouraged by U.S. public health officials to help combat the opioid abuse epidemic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved Pfizer's Troxyca ER capsules (oxycodone hydrochloride and naltrexone hydrochloride), an abuse-deterrent, extended-release, narcotic. Troxyca is used for severe pain requiring daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which other medications are inadequate. Troxyca ER contains pellets of the opioid oxycodone with a naltrexone core that acts as an opioid antagonist. The naltrexone remains sequestered unless the capsule is crushed and abused by taking orally or via the intranasal route.

EpiPen Cost Rises By Over 400 Percent

The average price of one brand name EpiPen now runs about $600 Read More...

When the price of a life-saving allergy medication rises by over 400 percent, U.S. regulators take notice. This past week, members of Congress questioned Mylan, the drug maker for EpiPen (epinephrine). EpiPen delivers a life-saving injection of medicine to those with a severe allergic reaction, such as to peanuts or bee stings. Congress is concerned as many children receive the drug through government funding like Medicaid. However, generic versions of epinephrine are available (the authorized generic for Adrenaclick), and may save patients around $400 per prescription with online discounts. EpiPen co-pay discounts are also offered by Mylan.

Does Acetaminophen Worsen Asthma in Young Children?

New data may help guide clinicians and parents in the care of their asthmatic children Read More...

Questions have been raised that the frequent use of the over-the-counter mild pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) in children with asthma might worsen their condition. Parents can now rest a little easier. In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this past week, researchers looked at 300 children on daily inhaled asthma treatment. During the study they received either acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain or fever. Most children’s asthma symptoms did not worsen in either group. Of the small percentage of those who did, no differences were seen between the acetaminophen and ibuprofen groups.

Diabetes Drug Leads to Weight Loss in Autistic Kids: Study

Poor food choices of children with autism add to the weight issues Read More...

Atypical antipsychotics like risperidone (Risperdal) and aripiprazole (Abilify) are approved to help control irritability and agitation in children with autism. However, a side effect of many atypical antipsychotics is weight gain. A new study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, looked at the use of metformin, a type 2 diabetes treatment, to aid in weight loss in the these patients. Sixty children with autism aged 6 to 17 were given either metformin or an inactive placebo for 16 weeks. While the stomach side effects like nausea were greater in the metformin group, most were able to maintain treatment and had significantly greater weight reductions than placebo.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: Boosting the Cancer Battle

Cancer is smart, but we are getting smarter Read More…

Immunotherapy is making headlines. These new cancer treatments -- Opdivo (nivolumab), Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Yervoy (ipilimumab), and Tecentriq (atezolizumab) -- are called Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors. How do they work? The new agents take the “brake” off of our own immune system to help it attack tumors, and can add significant survival time for some patients. Former President Jimmy Carter received one of these medications, Keytruda -- fortunately with great success -- for his skin cancer (melanoma) that had spread to his brain. Lung cancer, kidney cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma are other cancer targets for this new group of medications. Learn more about these groundbreaking treatments now.