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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: January 10, 2018

Amgen’s Xgeva Gains Newly Approved FDA Indication

Denosumab is not cleared through the kidneys and may be a better option than a bisphosphonates in kidney impairment Read More…

Bone complications such as a fracture can complicate therapy for patients with multiple myeloma. Amgen’s Xgeva (denosumab), a RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitor, is now approved for the prevention of skeletal-related events in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors to include patients with multiple myeloma. In the pivotal '482 study with 1,718 patients, the primary endpoint was met, showing non-inferiority of Xgeva to zoledronic acid in delaying the time to first on-study skeletal-related event in patients with multiple myeloma. The median difference in progression-free survival favored Xgeva by 10.7 months. Xgeva is also approved to treat bone giant cell tumor and hypercalcemia of malignancy refractory to bisphosphonate therapy.

Lung Cancer Treatment Not Always Optimal: Study

Patients with Medicare and Medicaid were less likely to receive radiation Read More...

A clinical study published recently in JAMA Oncology from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center indicates that many lung cancer patients are not receiving optimal care for their disease. Chemotherapy and radiation are the standard of care for small-cell lung cancer that hasn't spread to other parts of the body. Researchers analyzed a database of more than 70,200 patients with small-cell lung cancer and focused on social and economic obstacles and survival rates. Half the patients who received chemotherapy and radiation survived more than 18 months. However, among patients who received neither chemotherapy or radiation, median survival was only 3 to 4 months.

Once-Weekly Pill to Fight HIV Under Research

Globally, roughly 2 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2015 Read More...

Taking multiple HIV medications daily can stigmatize HIV patients and may affect positive outcomes. Researchers now say a once-a-week, slow-release highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) pill may keep HIV infections under control and help prevent new HIV infections altogether. The medication houses rilpivirine (Edurant), dolutegravir (Tivicay) and the investigational integrase inhibitor cabotegravir in a drug-polymer combination that slowly releases over seven days. The drug remains in the stomach as each of seven pill compartments opens up, one-by-one, to deliver a 24-hour dose of the three HAART drugs. The pill is still in early development, but testing in humans is expected to begin within one to two years. Rilpivirine and dolutegravir are also found in the recently approved Juluca from ViiV Healthcare.

Could New Diabetes Patch Replace Finger Sticks for Blood Sugar Testing?

The patch is still in animal testing, and human trials are still needed Read More...

Finger sticks have long been the method for most diabetic patients to monitor their blood glucose (sugar) levels. However, an investigational patch may replace finger sticks one day, eliminating the painful process for millions. It could also eliminate the needles used to administer insulin or other diabetes medications. Mouse studies are ongoing at this point. The patch contains chemicals that sense rising blood sugar levels. When that happens, a medication called exendin-4 is released to trigger the body to produce insulin until blood sugar levels start to fall. Exendin-4 is part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which also includes Byetta (a twice-daily injection), Trulicity and Bydureon (once-weekly injections), and Victoza (a once-daily injection).

A Severe Flu Season Is Ramping Up in the U.S. and Vaccine is Poorly Matched

Even though the vaccine may not be well matched for H3N2, it still has activity on H1N1 and B viruses Read More...

Most of the U.S. is now being struck by a severe flu season, with 46 states reporting widespread effects. A shortage of influenza antivirals and intravenous fluids, coupled with a 2017-2018 vaccine with poor coverage, makes matters worse in some hard-hit areas. According to the CDC, 80 percent of reported flu cases are H3N2, which has poor coverage in this season’s vaccine. Many of the hardest hit people are older than 85 and also struggling with pneumonia. This flu vaccine may not work as well against H3N2 strains because it's made in chicken eggs, which may interact with H3 strains, making them less effective. Learn More: Top 11 Reasons to Get Your Flu Vaccine