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Weekly Drug News Round Up - February 6, 2013

FDA Approves Orphan Drug Ravicti for Rare Urea Cycle Disorder

The most common side effects in patients treated with Ravicti include diarrhea, flatulence and headache Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ravicti (glycerol phenylbutyrate) for the chronic management of certain urea cycle disorders (UCDs) in patients ages 2 years and older. UCDs are rare genetic disorders manifest by enzyme deficiencies in the urea cycle, a series of biochemical steps normally required to remove ammonia from the blood. When nitrogen accumulates in the brain it can cause brain damage, coma or death. Ravicti was compared to Buphenyl (sodium phenylbutyrate), another UCD treatment, in a clinical trial with 44 patient. Blood testing showed Ravicti was as effective as Buphenyl in controlling ammonia levels.

Generic Version of Doxil Approved to Ease Cancer Drug Shortage

Sun Pharma will produce the first generic version of Doxil in 20 and 50 milligram vials Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved first generic version of Doxil (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection). Doxil is on FDA’s drug shortage list, and the action should help to relieve deficits of the brand product. This list empowers the FDA's Office of Generic Drugs to grant priority review to generic equivalents, which must pass the same quality standards as those of the brands, according to the agency. Doxil is a chemotherapy drug that may be used in treatment of ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Obesity Linked With Low Levels of Vitamin D

BMI is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight Read More...

It has been estimated that there is roughly one billion people worldwide with vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is needed for healthy bones and other functions, and is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be obtained through foods and vitamin supplements. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with osteoporosis, heart disease, certain cancers, and other diseases. British researchers are now suggesting that obesity may lead to a vitamin D deficiency. The researchers found a 10 percent rise in body-mass index (BMI) was linked with a 4 percent drop in concentrations of vitamin D in the body.

New Stroke Guidelines Emphasize Rapid Treatment

Ischemic strokes, caused by a blood clot in the brain, account for 90 percent of all strokes Read More...

New guidelines from the American Stroke Association emphasize that receiving clot-busting (thrombolytic) drugs and other treatments within one hour of arriving in the emergency room is crucial to minimizing brain damage. Treatment may involve use of a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) such as the drug Activase (alteplase) to dissolve the clot. To be most effective, tPA needs to be given within four and a half hours of the first appearance of stroke symptoms. Experts suggest calling 911 to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. An easy way to remember stroke signs is with the acronym F.A.S.T. -- Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.

Contraception Mandate Revised by Obama Administration

Policy allows women to have access to birth control without interference from their faith-based employer Read More...

Religious organizations that object to providing birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act would be allowed to hand off that responsibility to a third party under new rules proposed by the Obama administration. Many faith-based employers do not agree with the “contraception mandate” that requires employer-provided health insurance to provide birth control, such as birth control pills, at no cost to women. Overall reaction appears to be positive, from both women’s-right groups such as Planned Parenthood and religious organizations. No federal dollars will be used to fund the birth control options, but the cost to insurers is not known.