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Weekly Drug News Round Up - January 1, 2014

Oral Orenitram Approved for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Orenitram, an oral prostacyclin vasodilator, had been previously rejected by the FDA - twice Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Orenitram (treprostinil extended-release) tablets for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in WHO Group I patients to improve exercise capacity. In the primary efficacy study, patients that received Orenitram twice daily statistically improved their median six-minute walk distance by 23 meters as compared to patients receiving only placebo. However, as the sole vasodilator, the effect of Orenitram on exercise is small and does not enhance other vasodilator therapy. Common side effects with Orenitram include headache, nausea, and diarrhea. Orenitram contains the same active ingredient (treprostinil) as Remodulin Injection and Tyvaso Inhalation Solution.

Flu Activity is Spreading Across the U.S.

It takes two weeks to build immunity with the flu vaccine - it’s not too late to get one if you need it Read More…

Flu activity is starting to increase, with peak levels expected in January and February. Many of the reports have come in from the South-Central area of the U.S such as Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas; at least five deaths have been reported in Texas. The predominant strain of flu so far has been H1N1 "swine" flu, which triggered the 2009 pandemic and tends to infect younger patients. However, the flu vaccine now covers the H1N1 virus, and it is doubtful an H1N1 pandemic could occur this year. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be vaccinated against the flu.

Vitamin E May Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease: Study

The vitamin E only group experienced at least a six-month delay in the progression of Alzheimer's Read More...

A recent study published in Journal of the American Medical Association shows that high doses of vitamin E slowed declines in thinking and memory and mild to moderate Alzheimer patients required less caregiver time. The study involved more than 600 patients - primarily men - at 14 VA medical centers. Of various treatment groups, those who took a daily dose of 2,000 international units (IU) of only vitamin E experienced a 19 percent reduction in their annual rate of decline (roughly a six-month delay in Alzheimer’s progression) compared to placebo. In addition, this group required about two fewer hours of care each day.

Is Testosterone Treatment for “Low-T” Right for You?

Forty percent of men older than 45 have lower than normal levels of testosterone Read More...

Television ads frequently promote the use of testosterone for a condition termed “Low-T”. Testosterone, a male hormone, is a treatment for low libido that may increase a man's sex drive. But doctors warn that replacing low testosterone is not a “panacea” or cure-all. It is not a direct treatment for erectile dysfunction and won’t preserve fertility. Men with symptoms of “Low-T”, such as decreased energy, low libido, enlarged breasts, or loss of body hair may be candidates for testosterone therapy or other treatments. A simple blood test can diagnose low testosterone. Options for testosterone replacement include injections, patches, a gel and implantable pellets.

Looking Back at 2013: Trending Themes

Time to reflect on how medical news might change your healthcare decisions or medical practice in 2014.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on healthcare innovations, major drug approvals, and frankly, things that could have possibly gone a tad bit better. In 2013, there were breakthrough drug approvals, scandalous drug abuse stories, and updates on government intervention into private-sector healthcare. But it’s important at the end of the year to remember the medical successes and be hopeful for more advances - and fewer healthcare misses - in 2014. For more details on the top news stories of 2013, watch the End of Year Round-Up Slideshow.