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Weekly Drug News Round Up - January 9, 2013

Kineret Approved as an Orphan Drug for NOMID

Untreated patients develop progressive hearing and vision loss, cognitive impairment and joint contractures Read More...

Kineret (anakinra) was previously approved in 2001 for the reduction of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved Kineret for the treatment of children and adults with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID). Kineret is the only FDA-approved therapy for NOMID, the most severe form of cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). NOMID is associated with an overproduction of an immune system protein known as interleukin-1 (IL-1). CAPS are a group of rare inherited autoinflammatory diseases with an estimated incidence of 1 in 1,000,000 people worldwide. Ilaris (canakinumab) is also approved for other forms of CAPS.

Vitamin D Not Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis: Study

Vitamin D supports bone growth and health; people meet some of their vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight Read More...

The health benefits of vitamin D seem to make the headlines every week. Now, previous research is being questioned -- a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that vitamin D supplementation does not reduce pain or cartilage loss in those with knee osteoarthritis. In the two-year study, roughly 150 patients took either 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per day, or an inactive placebo. No significant differences in knee pain or cartilage loss were found between the two treatment groups at the end of the study. Of note, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for any adult 19 to 70 years old is 600 IU (15 micrograms) per day.

Medications May Lead to Compulsive Behavior in Parkinson’s Patients

Experts suggest medications may need to be changed or stopped in patients with severe symptoms Read More...

Impulse control disorders such as pathological gambling, hypersexuality (sex addiction), compulsive eating, or medication abuse may occur in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients as a side effect of their dopamine agonist medications, as noted in a new study published in the journal Neurology. Researchers surveyed two groups -- 168 patients with PD who were not on any medication yet, and another group without PD. They asked about symptoms of impulse control, such as compulsive gambling or shopping, and other behaviors such as aimless wandering or excessive repetition of behaviors. Roughly 20 percent from each group reported symptoms, suggesting that impulse control disorders may be due to the dopamine-related medications, and not necessarily an effect of the disease.

Blood Pressure Drug May Lower Risk for Dementia

Early research suggests beta-blockers may have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s too soon for treatment recommendations Read More...

A new study has found that a commonly used class of blood pressure medications known as beta-blockers may lower the risk of developing dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, autopsies were performed on 774 men enrolled in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, 610 of which had high blood pressure or had been treated with high blood pressure drugs. Researchers found those who took beta-blockers as their only blood pressure-lowering drug had roughly 50 percent fewer brain lesions, like the ones that are associated with Alzheimer’ disease, than those who took no hypertension drugs or other types of blood pressure medications. Examples of beta-blockers, all available as inexpensive generics, include propranolol, atenolol, and metoprolol.

Physicians Still Prescribing Pricier Brand-Name Drugs Instead of Generics

Generics typically cost 80 percent less than their brand-name counterparts Read More...

Despite the availability of cheaper and equally effective generic options, a new national survey published in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals that over one-third of American doctors are still writing prescriptions for expensive brand name drugs when faced with a patient who requests one. Unfortunately, these costs get passed on to consumers in the form of higher insurance rates. Additionally, the study suggests drug company marketing may influence doctors. Doctors who accepted small, free items from pharmaceutical companies, such as free drug samples, or free food and drinks, were more likely to prescribe pricey brands.