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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: May 25, 2016

New Drugs Added to Heart Failure Guidelines

In heart failure the heart can't pump enough need blood to meet the needs of the body Read More...

Heart failure is a common condition affecting about 5.1 million people in the United States. Heart failure medications are meant to relax blood vessels and improve the function of the heart. Previously recommended medications for patients with heart failure included angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers and diuretics. An updated heart failure guideline adds two new drugs to the list: the angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) Entresto (valsartan/sacubitril) from Novartis, and a sinoatrial node modulator Corlanor (ivabradine) from Amgen. The new heart failure information was published online in Circulation and other journals.

Elderly Can Benefit From More Intensive Blood Pressure Control: Study

Plus, most of the medications used in the study were low cost generics Read More...

Results from a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that intensive blood pressure control in the elderly can further reduce the risk of heart disease without increasing the risk of falls, hospitalizations, or other serious complications. Over 2,600 patients age 75 years and older were assigned to either an intensive systolic blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg or the standard target of 140 mm Hg. On average, patients in the intensive target group required one additional medication to achieve their goal, but were nearly one-third less likely to have a heart attack, heart failure or stroke, and about one-quarter less likely to die.

Aspirin After Mini-Stroke May Prevent Further Complications

Right after a mini-stroke, people have a 1,000 times higher risk of having a major stroke Read More...

In a new study published in the Lancet, researchers found that taking aspirin after a mini-stroke -- also called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA -- reduced the risk of a disabling or fatal stroke over the next few days and weeks by 70 percent to 80 percent. Symptoms of a mini-stroke may include: numbness, muscle weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, loss of balance and double vision or trouble seeing. Researchers suggested immediate treatment with one 300 mg aspirin if a stroke is suspected by the patient, caregiver, or healthcare provider can substantially reduce the risk and severity of early recurrent stroke.

Whooping Cough Vaccine in Pregnancy Protects Newborn

Maternal antibodies can protect against the disease and are passed from mom to fetus if the mother has been immunized Read More...

Additional research has added to the data that the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine is safe in pregnancy. According to research experts, it is important for women to get the Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine) while they are pregnant to protect their infants from whooping cough. Researchers compared over 1,100 vaccinated women with 650 women who weren't immunized. No significant health outcomes related to the vaccine were noted between groups. Pregnant women should receive the whooping cough vaccine to protect their newborns who don't receive their first dose of vaccine until they are 2 months old and aren't fully protected until they are 6 months old.

Do You Know How to Use Narcan to Save a Life?

Some states now allow naloxone access directly from the pharmacist Read More...

In the US, the death rate from prescription opioid overdoses increased 4-fold from 1999 to 2013. Due to changing regulations in many states, the opioid-reversal agent naloxone can now be stored in the homes of those at risk for narcotic overdose and comes in user-friendly forms such as nasal sprays (Narcan Nasal) and auto-injectors (Evzio). Naloxone can counter overdose effects, including depressed breathing, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness - usually within 2 to 3 minutes - and can be given by family members or caregivers until emergency help arrives. Knowing how to recognize an overdose and use Narcan can save precious time, too, so view the slideshow to learn more.