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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: January 6, 2016

Noxafil Antifungal Tablets: FDA Warns of Dosing Errors with Substitution

Prescribers should follow the specific dosing instructions for each formulation Read More...

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that differences in dosing regimens between the two oral formulations of the azole antifungal drug Noxafil (posaconazole) have resulted in dosing errors. Noxafil is approved in two oral formulations: an oral suspension and a delayed-release tablet often used to treat Aspergillus and Candida infections. The two oral formulations cannot be substituted for each other without adjusting the dose due to differences in how the medicine is absorbed and handled by the body. Prescribers should specify the Noxafil dosage form, strength, and frequency on all prescriptions. Pharmacists should clarify these items if not specified.

Study Links Yeast Infection Drug With Miscarriage Risk

Topical antifungals are first-line treatment for pregnant women with vaginal yeast infections Read More...

In the January 5th issue of JAMA, an early study suggests, but does not definitively prove, that the oral form of the common azole antifungal fluconazole (Diflucan) may increase the risk for miscarriage. Researchers from Sweden collected data on more than 1.4 million pregnancies from 1997 to 2013. In the study, out of the roughly 3,300 women who took oral fluconazole (Diflucan) in the 7th through 22nd week of pregnancy, 147 had a miscarriage, compared with 563 miscarriages among the more than 13,000 women who did not take the drug. Experts suggest until more data are available prescribers should use fluconazole cautiously in pregnant women.

Statins May Be Beneficial for Sleep Apnea: Study

Treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via a mask worn while sleeping Read More...

An initial study suggests that the use of the cholesterol-lowering class of drugs known as statins may have beneficial heart effects in those with sleep apnea. Scientifically, the study showed that endothelial cells pull the surface protein CD59 inside the cell when oxygen levels drop. This boosts the risk of cell inflammation and can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Statins such as Crestor (rosuvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin) are already taken by millions of Americans. However, experts say patients with sleep apnea who do not already use statins for high cholesterol should not start them just for sleep apnea treatment; more studies are required.

Aspirin May Decrease Death From Prostate Cancer: Study

Use of aspirin before a diagnosis of prostate cancer didn't have a measurable prevention benefit Read More...

From an observational study and with information from more than 22,000 men in the Physicians' Health Study, researchers have found that aspirin use in men with prostate cancer who already use aspirin for cardiovascular risk reduction lowered the odds of dying from prostate cancer by 39 percent. Men without a diagnosis of prostate cancer who took more than three aspirin tablets a week had a 24 percent lower risk of getting a lethal prostate cancer. Experts say more studies are needed before aspirin can be recommended as a standard treatment for prevention of lethal prostate cancer.

Warfarin: Odd and Interesting But Still Going Strong

What do birds of prey or purple toes have to do with warfarin? Read More...

Warfarin (Coumadin) is a commonly used - and affordable - blood thinner (anticoagulant) to help prevent blood clots. For many years, it was the standard of care to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and clots. But this old-fashioned drug has some odd and interesting facts, figures, and uses, too. Questions often arise about warfarin: Is the generic safe to use? Do drug interactions affect how warfarin works? Does the blood really get “thin”? Flip through the slideshow Warfarin: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About This Blood Thinner to learn more engrossing facts about this unconventional medication.