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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: July 13, 2016

Differin Acne Gel Soon Available Without Prescription

Adapalene is the first new active ingredient for acne treatment for OTC use since the 1980s Read More...

Life may get easier if you have acne. This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Galderma's Differin Gel 0.1% (adapalene) -- formerly a prescription-only acne drug -- as an over-the-counter (OTC) product in a lower strength. Differin Gel 0.1% is applied once daily and is indicated for use in people 12 years of age and older. Adapalene is in a class of drugs known as retinoids and is the first retinoid available OTC. In the first few weeks of use, skin may become irritated (redness, itching, dryness, burning). Sunscreen should be used on a daily basis. Patients should speak with their doctor if there is no improvement in acne after three months of daily use.

Xolair Now Approved for Difficult-to-Treat Allergic Asthma in Children

Xolair is already approved to treat those 12 years and older with allergic asthma Read More...

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that between 70 and 80 percent of school-aged children with asthma also have allergies, which are among the most common triggers for asthma. In response, the FDA has approved Genentech’s Xolair (omalizumab) to treat moderate to severe persistent asthma in children six to 11 years of age inadequately controlled with inhaled corticosteroids. In a Phase III study in children from six to 11 years old, the Xolair treatment group demonstrated statistically significantly lower rates of asthma exacerbations compared to the placebo treatment group at 24-weeks (31% relative reduction rate). Common side effects included common cold symptoms (nasopharyngitis), headache, and fever (pyrexia).

Shire’s Xiidra Eyedrops FDA-Approved for Dry Eye Disease

Left untreated, dry eye can lead to pain, sores or scars on part of the eye called the cornea Read More...

Xiidra (lifitegrast) eyedrops have been approved by the FDA to treat symptoms of dry eye disease in adults, a group of conditions related to insufficient tear production. Xiidra is the first approved medication among a new class of dry-eye drugs called lymphocyte function-associated antigen agonists. Clinical studies involving more than 1,000 people found that those treated with Xiidra saw improvement in symptoms of dry eye, compared to people given a placebo. The most common side effects of Xiidra include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision and an unusual taste sensation (dysgeusia).

Can Statins Lower the Risk of Dying From Cancer?

While the study did not prove a cause-and-effect connection, nearly 1 million cancer patients were evaluated Read More...

In recent data from Britain, patients taking statins drugs such as Lipitor and Crestor for high cholesterol appeared to have improved mortality in four of the most common cancers. Researchers found a 22 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer, a 43 percent lower risk of dying from breast cancer, a 47 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer, and a 30 percent lower risk of dying from colon cancer. However, experts commented that until there are more studies there is little evidence that statins affect cancer risk or survival, but clear evidence that they can help some people lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Hoarding Antibiotics? Not a Wise Choice, Experts Say

High drug cost may be driving some of the self-diagnosis and antibiotic use Read More...

Antibiotic resistance is an ongoing problem due to overuse of antibiotics that results in drug-resistance and "superbug" bacteria. This week, in an alarming report, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine report that one in every 20 adults surveyed in Houston had hoarded antibiotics and used them without a doctor's guidance. Most of these drugs were saved from prior prescriptions. Common conditions patients reported self-treating with antibiotics were sore throat, runny nose or cough -- usually viral conditions that would get better without any antibiotic. Plus, even if the antibiotic were appropriate, the leftover quantity would be insufficient to fully treat the infection.