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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: July 5, 2017

FDA Approves Arbor’s Triptodur for Central Precocious Puberty

Triptodur is the first GnRH agonist to offer every six-month dosing and should be available by fourth quarter 2017 Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Triptodur (triptorelin) for pediatric patients 2 years and older with central precocious puberty (CPP). CPP occurs when a child shows signs of puberty before age 8 in girls and 9 nine in boys. Triptodur is a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist given via intramuscular (IM) injection once every six months. In Phase 3 clinical trials, Triptodur demonstrated a return to pre-pubertal luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in 93% of patients, with 98% suppression at 12 months. The most common adverse reactions are injection site reactions and menstrual (vaginal) bleeding.

Do Women Blame Breast Cancer Drug for Menopause Symptoms?

Time to debunk the urban myth that tamoxifen hastens menopause in women Read More...

Tamoxifen (Soltamox) has been shown to lower the chance of breast cancer by at least 30% in women who are at high risk due to a family history. However, despite these positive findings, many women at risk for developing the disease often stop their medication due to side effects they attribute to the drug like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that women who received a placebo instead of tamoxifen dropped out due to “hot flashes” they attributed to the active drug. However, experts state that many of these women are in fact perimenopausal and may experience these symptoms whether or not on tamoxifen. Patient discussions and education may help boost adherence.

Got Heartburn? Long-Term Proton Pump Inhibitors May Hasten Death

Experts are quick to point out patients should not stop these meds unless advised by their doctor first Read More…

New concerns are raised about long-term treatment with proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid, most now available over-the-counter (OTC). Proton pump inhibitors work by blocking the enzyme system that produces stomach acid and are often used for heartburn. But is long-term treatment safe? A new study, published in BMJ Open, reported that people taking PPIs for a year or more had a 51% increased risk of premature death, compared with 31% of people on the drugs for 6-12 months, and 17% for 3-6 month users. Short-term use of PPIs -- up to 90 days -- did not appear to affect death risk.

Teens Struggled to Get “Morning After” Pill at Pharmacy: Study

According to researchers, the US still has the highest unplanned teen pregnancy rate of similar high-income countries Read More...

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teens may still have trouble getting over-the-counter (OTC) emergency contraception (EC) - often called the “morning after pill” - at the pharmacy. In the study, researchers posing on the phone as 17-year-olds were denied access to OTC emergency contraception - like Plan B One-Step - by 8.3% of pharmacies, primarily due to their age. Researchers recommended that greater pharmacy staff education, as well as educating teens, are two ways to help change the misconceptions regarding access to emergency contraception. Since June 2013, all 1.5 mg levonorgestrel products for EC are available OTC without age restrictions.

Should Mental Illness and Opioids Go Together? Study Raises Red Flag

Further research is warranted to find if the risks of prescribing opioids in this patient population are balanced with benefits Read More...

Prescription opioids include drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Of the 115 million U.S. prescriptions written for painkillers like these each year, 60 million are for adults with mental illness, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. And according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45 lives are lost to a prescription drug overdose every day. The researchers said the link between mental illness and opioid prescribing is concerning because mental illness is also a major risk factor for overdose and other opioid-related harms.