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Weekly Drug News Round Up - August 26, 2015

Promacta Use Expanded For Younger Kids With Rare Blood Disorder

Promacta targets those with a low platelet count

Promacta (eltrombopag) is a thrombopoietin receptor agonist indicated for the treatment of thrombocytopenia (low platelets) in patients with chronic immune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an expanded age range down to the age one for children with ITP. Previously, Promacta was indicated for use in children 6 and older. Promacta is available as a tablet taken once-daily or as a powder that is mixed with liquid for children ages one to five to take orally. It was first approved in 2008 to treat adult patients.

FDA Medwatch: Severe Adverse Events With Picato Gel

Patients who experience a severe allergic reaction should stop using Picato gel and seek immediate medical attention Read More...

FDA has received reports of severe allergies, skin reactions and herpes zoster (shingles) with the use of Picato gel (ingenol mebutate) for actinic keratosis. Some cases were associated with Picato gel not being used according to directions. FDA is requiring label changes to provide additional instructions on the safe and appropriate application of the product. Patients should avoid applying the gel in, near, and around the mouth, lips and eye area. Even after hand washing, Picato gel can be accidentally transferred through application of make-up and insertion of contact lenses. The allergic reaction may include throat tightness, difficulty breathing, feeling faint, or swelling of the lips or tongue.

Use of Common Drug Class Linked to Longer Ovarian Cancer Survival

Beta-blockers are used to control high blood pressure Read More…

A retrospective chart review study suggests that women with ovarian cancer who also take the class of blood pressure drugs known as beta blockers may have longer survival. In the study, differences were especially prominent in women using the older, "non-selective" beta blockers: those women lived for almost 8 years after their cancer diagnosis, versus 3 years among women not taking beta blockers. However, experts warn not to read too much into the study. A randomized trial where ovarian cancer patients are randomly assigned to a beta blocker or standard treatment would be needed to prove results and answer other safety questions.

Steroid Injections Probably Not Doing Your Back Any Good: Study

Lower back pain usually improves over time without treatment, but some patients may want relief sooner Read More...

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that steroid injections for lower back pain due to injuries like a herniated disc may provide some relief for certain patients, but any benefits are most likely temporary. For spinal stenosis, steroid injections were not effective at all. Experts warn that steroid injections are only a temporary solution, and targeted exercise or surgery may be better long-term solutions to back pain. In addition, doctors questions whether the steroid treatment, which is associated with financial costs, should even be offered to most patients.

Schedule Time to Get Your Flu Vaccine, Now

Each year in the U.S, seasonal flu causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths, according to the CDC Read More...

Although many people don’t even think about getting their influenza vaccine until later in the fall, the flu vaccines are available now in many retail clinics in most areas of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting your flu vaccine as soon as it is available. For people who avoid the flu vaccine due to allergies or fear of needles, there are new options out now to make the process safer and easier. A bonus: almost all U.S. insurance will fully pay for flu vaccines. New flu strains were included in the 2015-2016 vaccines, so be sure to get your protection soon.