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Weekly Drug News Round Up - July 4, 2012

First-In-Class Myrbetriq Approved for Overactive Bladder

New class of overactive bladder drugs may have fewer anticholinergic side effects such as dry mouth, blurred vision Read More...

The use of overactive bladder (OAB) medications are problematic for patients who are sensitive to certain side effects like dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision. Myrbetriq (mirabegron) is a new beta-3 adrenergic agonist indicated for the treatment of OAB with symptoms of urge incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency. Myrbetriq works by a new mechanism to stimulate the beta-3 receptors, causing relaxation of the bladder muscle and improved bladder storage capacity. Myrbetriq side effects may include hypertension and the risk for urinary retention in patients receiving adjunct antimuscarinic agents for OAB or with bladder outlet obstruction. Myrbetriq, a CYP2D6 inhibitor, must be used cautiously with CYP2D6 substrates such as thioridazine, flecainide and propafenone to avoid serious drug interactions.

Antipsychotics in Pregnancy May Increase Risk For Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women using antipsychotics should be closely monitored for gestational diabetes Read More...

Gestational diabetes involves high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) that is diagnosed during pregnancy. Women who take certain antipsychotic medications in pregnancy, often used to treat debilitating illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may face a higher risk for gestational diabetes. Certain antipsychotics, particularly the newer generation of atypical antipsychotics, are already associated with a higher risk for insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and diabetes even in patients who are not pregnant. The research, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, found gestational diabetes was two times more likely (4.4 percent vs. 1.7 percent) in women who received antipsychotics.

Zofran 32 Milligram Single Intravenous Dose Removed From Product Label

Zofran (ondansetron) receives label updates for increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms Read More...

Zofran (ondansetron), a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist used for prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation treatment has important new safety label updates. Ondansetron may lead to an increased risk of dose-dependent QT prolongation and possible fatal heart rhythms, including Torsades de Pointes with the 32 milligram (mg) intravenous (IV) dose, and this dose should be avoided in patients. There are no package insert revisions to oral dosing for ondansetron. Ondansetron can still be used in adults and children for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting at the lower IV dose of 0.15 mg per kilogram given every 4 hours for three doses, but no single IV dose should exceed 16 mg.

First Over-the-Counter HIV Test FDA-Approved

In-home oral saliva swab test gives anonymous results

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved OraQuick In-Home HIV Test. Oraquick is an antibody test that uses an oral saliva swab to give a result within 40 minutes. A positive result does not necessarily mean the test user has HIV and a follow-up test with a healthcare provider is needed. Alternatively, a negative test is not a guarantee that the person is HIV-free, as it may take 3 to 12 weeks for HIV antibodies to develop after exposure to the virus. In 2012 more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but 20 percent do not know that they are infected.

Methadone For Pain Relief Leads to High Percent of Fatal Overdoses

Methadone riskier than similar opioids; avoid use for mild, acute or intermittent, non-cancer pain Read More...

A study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reveals that the use of methadone as a pain reliever is a leading cause of fatal opioid overdoses. Methadone has been used since the 1960s for heroin addiction, but is also prescribed as a pain reliever. Recent data shows that four out of every ten overdose deaths due to a single painkiller involved methadone. This rate is double the number of deaths with other opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. Methadone can be riskier than other painkillers: it has tricky pharmacokinetics, may accumulate in the body, and can alter breathing and heart rhythm.