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Weekly News Round Up - November 2, 2011

Non-Opioid Exparel Approved for Post-Surgical Pain Relief

Exparel, formulated in a novel delivery liposome, receives FDA-approval for post-operative pain relief Read More...

Exparel (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension), a non-opioid local anesthetic agent, has received FDA-approval for post-operative pain relief. Exparel is given as a single-dose infiltration into the surgical site and is suspended in a drug delivery liposome. The delivery system expands bupivacaine pain relief from 6 to 72 hours. Exparel was shown to be safe and effective in patients undergoing hemorrhoidectomy and bunionectomy. The use of a long-acting non-opioid for post-surgical pain relief may result in fewer opioid side effects, delayed opioid treatment, and fewer episodes of breakthrough pain.

Study: Over One-Third of Alzheimer’s Patients Take Conflicting Medications

Common class of medications used in Alzheimer’s disease subject to decreased effect if taken with anticholinergic drugs Read More...

Caregivers and health care providers take note: a new study reports that out of 5,600 Alzheimer’s patients who received a cholinesterase inhibitor medication, such as Aricept (donepezil) or Exelon (rivastigmine), roughly one-third received an interacting drug from the anticholinergic medication class. Cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used to treat cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients. When anticholinergics, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Ditropan (oxybutynin) are taken with cholinesterase inhibitors the desired clinical effect of each drug may be antagonized. Anticholinergic properties can often be found in over-the-counter (OTC) sleep medications, such as Sominex or Nytol. Anticholinergic effects are found in many other OTC and prescription medications. Drug interaction checks should be conducted with each new prescription.

Newer Generation of “Pill” Progestins Remain Linked to Clot Risk

Progestin birth control ingredients may raise the risk of blood clotting according to large FDA-funded study Read More...

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the results of a study conducted in over 800,000 women that evaluated the risk of thrombotic events with the use of the newer generation progestins found in contraceptives. An increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) was found with drospirenone-containing pills (e.g.Yaz, Yasmin), the etonogestrel-containing vaginal ring (NuvaRing) and the norelgestromin-containing transdermal patch (Ortho Evra). The increased VTE risk with etonogestrel use as compared to standard low-dose contraceptives is a new finding and needs to be replicated, as noted by researchers.

Fall Mold Spores, Pollen May Aggravate Asthma: 3 Step Prevention is Key

Pediatric asthma flare-ups more common in fall due to airborne allergens, seasonal illnesses Read More...

The incidence of asthma attacks may spike in children with uncontrolled asthma as the leaves and temperatures start to fall. Mold spores, pollen and respiratory infections are a few of the culprits. Flare-ups are marked by inflammation and airway tightening resulting in the coughing and wheezing seen in asthmatics. Often, a child's asthma may improve during the warm summer months and medications are scaled back. The fall may be time to reinitiate preventative measures. Experts at John Hopkins Children’s Center suggest three ways to reduce fall and winter asthma exacerbations. 1. Get the flu vaccine. 2. Avoid asthma triggers, such as pollen, animal dander, smog, household chemicals, and respiratory infections. 3. Keep symptoms in check with an asthma maintenance medication, such as an inhaled corticosteroid, to help prevent attacks.

Obama Addresses Ongoing Concern of U.S. Drug Shortages

FDA will require manufacturers to report upcoming drug shortages or discontinuations 6 months in advance Read More...

President Obama signed an executive order this week directing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help ease drug shortages, such as those seen with the cancer agents cytarabine and cisplatin. Currently, drug makers are only required to report drug discontinuations to the FDA if they are the sole source for that drug. With the new order, manufacturers will have to notify the FDA of drug shortages and discontinuations six months in advance. Experts state other issues, such as quicker manufacturing plant inspections, price gouging, and loss of generics due to low profitability need to be addressed.