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Weekly Drug News Round Up - July 16, 2014

Rasuvo Auto-Injector Approved for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rasuvo is an auto-injector of methotrexate (MTX) delivered subcutaneously Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Rasuvo, an injectable form of methotrexate okayed for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) and psoriasis. Methotrexate (MTX) has been used for over 30 years, and remains the most commonly prescribed drug for treating RA. MTX is recommended by the American College of Rheumatology as a first-line therapy for RA patients. MTX is also available in an oral tablet and intramuscular injection formulation for RA. Rasuvo is manufactured by Medac Pharma, Inc. and will be available in 10 dosage strengths, ranging from 7.5 milligram (mg) to 30 mg in 2.5 mg increments.

Novartis’ Pivotal Phase III Trials Published for Secukinumab

Secukinumab is an antibody that inhibits the inflammatory protein interleukin-17A (IL-17A) Read More...

Secukinumab, an investigational psoriasis drug, has shown positive results in two Phase III clinical trials. As reported last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, secukinumab was compared against an inactive placebo and etanercept (Enbrel), another popular psoriasis treatment, in two clinical trials. In these trials, a statistically significant percentage of secukinumab-treated patients achieved 75 and 90 percent skin clearance of psoriasis at week 12, dependent upon dose. In fact, the study noted that over a quarter of patients were completely cleared of psoriasis plaques.

Drug Dosing With Kitchen Spoon May Lead to Medication Errors

Pharmacists often give parents oral syringes marked in milliliters to help lessen the chance for error Read More...

Using the kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon to dose a child’s medication is an accident waiting to happen, according to a newly released study in Pediatrics. Parents were twice as likely to make a mistake in measuring the correct dose. Some medical groups suggest that dosing for pediatrics should be switched to milliliter-only prescribing, to avoid parental confusion. A teaspoonful normally equal 5 milliliters (mL), and a tablespoonful 15 mL, but kitchen utensils are not accurate. The FDA issued dosing guidance for over-the-counter medicines in May 2011. Liquid dosing errors may be common for the elderly, too.

Survival Benefit of Potassium Supplements in Heart Failure: Study

Certain types of dangerous irregular heart rhythms can be caused by low potassium Read More…

Diuretics, or "water pills" like thiazide and loop diuretics can lead to low levels of potassium in the blood. In patients taking a diuretic, potassium supplements are typically prescribed when potassium levels get low due to a diuretic, but not always as a routine preventative. Research done at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) has shown that heart failure patients taking preventative potassium supplements along with furosemide, a loop diuretic, had a 7 to 16 percent lower risk of death compared to patients taking only furosemide. Researchers state that further studies are warranted to determine the need for a change in practice.

Will Prescription Drug Abuse Decline If DEA Reschedules Combined Hydrocodone?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one person dies every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose Read More...

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is currently considering a rule to reschedule hydrocodone combination products like Lortab or Vicodin from CIII to CII, a more restrictive controlled substance schedule. There is an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse in the U.S., and the schedule change may help to limit the excessive prescribing and abuse. Some regulatory agencies and medical societies agree, but many others do not. While the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is rampant, many are concerned that legitimate patients with a need for pain control will be denied need medications. The CDC is now recommending that states also implement measures to address excess opioid prescribing.