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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: March 8, 2017

Noctiva First Drug Approved to Reduce Nighttime Urination in Adults

Noctiva is a vasopressin analog nasal spray and is used once daily 30 minutes before going to bed Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Serenity's Noctiva (desmopressin acetate) for adults who wake up at least twice per night to urinate due to a condition known as nocturnal polyuria (overproduction of urine during the night). Noctiva, an anti-diuretic, reduces urine production. In two, 12-week efficacy studies, patients treated with Noctiva had more nights with one or fewer night-time urinations. Common side effects included nasal discomfort or congestion, sneezing, and high blood pressure, back pain, nose bleeds, bronchitis and dizziness. It was also approved with a boxed warning for low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia).

FDA Clears Odactra for House Dust Mite Allergies

Odactra is taken once daily year-round and dissolves after it is placed under the tongue Read More…

The FDA has approved Odactra (house dust mite allergen extract), the first sublingual (under the tongue) allergen extract to treat house dust mite (HDM)-induced allergic rhinitis, with or without eye inflammation (conjunctivitis), in people 18 through 65 years of age. HDM allergies often occur due to allergies to mites found in bedding, furniture, and carpet leading to cough, itchy and runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. In studies, those taking Odactra had a 16 to 18 percent reduction in symptoms and the need for added medications compared to placebo. Common side effects included nausea, itching in the ears and mouth, and swelling of the lips and tongue.

Off-Label Use of Aricept: Wise or Worrisome?

The study reinforces the fact that clinicians should discuss risks versus benefits of treatments with patients Read More...

Donepezil (brand name: Aricept) is approved in the US to treat Alzheimer's disease but not for more milder forms known as cognitive impairment -- the stage between normal age-related decline and dementia. However, doctors still prescribe Aricept "off-label" for patients with mild cognitive impairment. A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggests this may not be wise. Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing found that patients who took Aricept with mild cognitive impairment and a specific genetic variation deteriorated faster than those who took a placebo. Patients with the K-variant of the butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) gene may be at risk of quicker mental decline when using Aricept for mild cognitive impairment.

Kineret in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Study Tests Effectiveness

Currently, no drugs are FDA-approved to treat this debilitating condition according to the Office on Women's Health Read More...

In a small but well-controlled study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers have found that the rheumatoid arthritis medication anakinra (brand name: Kineret) was not effective as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have been found to have increased levels of interleukin-1 in their bloodstream. It was thought that blocking interleukin-1 with Kineret might relieve symptoms. In the study, researchers randomly assigned women with chronic fatigue to receive daily 100-milligram injections of Kineret or placebo. After one month, there was no meaningful difference between the two groups in fatigue severity, pain, distress, and physical and social functioning.

Melatonin: Are Labels Correct When It Comes to Contents?

Some Canadian products also contained the chemical serotonin, which could lead to serious side effects Read More...

In the U.S., melatonin is a popular over-the-counter dietary supplement used to help with sleep and combat jet lag. However, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that some Canadian brands contain different amounts of the sleep hormone than noted on the label. According to the researchers, melatonin content varied from 83 percent less to 478 percent more than what was stated on the label. In fact, over 70% of products did not fall within 10 percent of the label contents. U.S. manufacturers are required by law to conduct finished-product testing on dietary supplements, but the FDA does not regulate these products. Learn more about how you can safely use melatonin products.