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Weekly Drug News Round Up - March 6, 2013

FDA Approves Once-Monthly Abilify Maintena for Schizophrenia

Launch of Abilify Maintena is expected later this month Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole) Maintena, an extended-release, intramuscular depot suspension for maintenance treatment of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disease characterized by a distortion in thinking and emotional responsiveness with significant social and occupational dysfunction. Abilify Maintena is a dopamine (D2) partial agonist given as a once-a-month injection to help prevent schizophrenia relapse. Other long-acting injectable antipsychotics include Invega Sustenna, Risperdal Consta, and Zyprexa Relprevv.

Anti-TNF Drugs Not Shown to Increase Shingles Risk

In contrast, high dose corticosteroids doubled the risk of developing shingles Read More...

As reported this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), newer anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs do not appear to increase the risk of getting a shingles infection (herpes zoster). Researchers reviewed data from 60,000 people with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. More than 33,000 were taking biologic anti-TNF drugs, such as adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab (Remicade). They found no significant increase in the risk of shingles based on drug treatment, with the exception of patients receiving high dose corticosteroids.

Vituz Approved for Cough With Cold or Allergy Symptoms

Launch is expected before fall of 2013 by Pernix Therapeutics Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Vituz Oral Solution (hydrocodone bitartrate and chlorpheniramine maleate) for the relief of cough and symptoms due to upper respiratory allergies or the common cold in adults 18 years of age and older. Vituz contains 5 milligrams (mg) of hydrocodone and 4 mg of chlorpheniramine per teaspoonful (5 mL) in an immediate-release formulation. The dose is 5 mL every 4 to 6 hours as needed, not to exceed 4 doses (20 mL) per day. Common side effects include sedation, somnolence, mental and physical impairment, and headache.

Review Upholds Efficacy of Restless Leg Syndrome Treatments

Restless legs syndrome causes an uncomfortable urge to move the legs that can adversely affect sleep and quality of life Read More...

In a review published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers confirm that medications used to treat moderate to severe restless leg syndrome (RLS), which include the dopamine agonists Requip (ropinirole) and levodopa, and the antiseizure and pain agents Neurontin (gabapentin) and Lyrica (pregabalin), appear to reduce symptoms in more than 60 percent of patients. In the review, 61 percent of those taking any of the active treatments showed at least a 50 percent improvement in their symptoms, compared with 37 to 41 percent of those taking a placebo. The benefit of these medications may not outweigh the potential for side effects in more mild restless leg syndrome, however.

Researchers Report a ‘Functional Cure’ in Child Born with HIV

Time and further studies will dictate if such an outcome is reproducible and can keep the virus under control for long periods Read More...

Researchers are reporting a “functional cure” of a 2.5 year-old child born with HIV. The baby, born to a mother who did not know she was HIV positive, had both the initial and confirmatory tests for HIV completed within one day and was started on HIV drug treatment within the first 30 hours of life. As expected, the baby's "viral load" -- levels of HIV -- were not detectable at 29 days of age. The child left the health care system at 18 months and stopped the antiretroviral drugs instead of continuing them for life. However, doctors saw the child again 10 months later and viral levels were undetectable.