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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: November 25, 2015

FDA Approves Takeda’s Ninlaro for Multiple Myeloma

Common side effects included diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and low platelet count Read More...

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that occurs in infection-fighting white blood cells found in the bone marrow. This past week, the FDA approved Ninlaro (ixazomib), an oral proteasome inhibitor indicated in combination with Revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone for patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy. In clinical trials, participants in the Ninlaro treatment group lived longer without their disease worsening (average 20.6 months) compared to the group taking placebo plus lenalidomide and dexamethasone (14.7 months). Ninlaro is the third drug for multiple myeloma approved this year, joining Farydak (panobinostat) and Darzalex (daratumumab).

Narcan Approved in Nasal Spray Formulation

Increased access to a nasal form of Narcan will potentially save many people who overdose on narcotics Read More...

The FDA has approved Narcan nasal spray, the first FDA-approved nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, such as respiratory depression. Naloxone has been available in injection form to reverse the effects of opioid overdose for more than 40 years. Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as the illegal drug heroin. Naloxone can counter overdose effects, usually within two minutes, and can be administered by family members or caregivers in an emergency to reverse the effects of opioid overdose until help arrives.

Opdivo Wins Approval for Treatment of Kidney Cancer

Common Opdivo side effects included weakness, cough, nausea, rash, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea Read More...

Opdivo (nivolumab) is a PD-1/PD-L1 blocker, already approved for treatment of lung cancer and skin cancer (melanoma). This week, the FDA also approved Opdivo for advanced (metastatic) renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer. In clinical trials, patients treated with Opdivo lived an average of 25 months after starting treatment compared to 19.6 months in those treated with everolimus (Afinitor). Partial or complete tumor shrinkage was seen in 21.5 percent of the Opdivo group compared to 3.9 percent of the Afinitor group. Temsirolimus (Torisel), approved in 2007, is the only other therapy that has demonstrated overall survival in renal cell cancer.

Lilly’s Portrazza FDA-Approved for Advanced Lung Cancer

Over 158,000 people are predicted to die from lung cancer in 2015 Read More...

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both U.S. men and women. This week, the FDA approved Portrazza (necitumumab), an intravenous epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antagonist, in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin for treatment of advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer. In clinical studies, patients who took the 3-drug combo lived for an average of 11.5 months compared to 9.9 months for those who took only gemcitabine and cisplatin. Common side effects included skin rash and magnesium deficiency. A Boxed Warning informs that magnesium deficiency can lead to fatal complications such as seizures and irregular heartbeat.

Clearing the Air: Can Nonsmokers Get Lung Cancer, Too?

Lung cancer is the top cancer killer in the U.S. in both women and men Read More...

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, and it’s a good time to ask questions about our lung health. But lung cancer only affects smokers, right? Wrong. In fact, over 40,000 Americans living with lung cancer have never smoked. Smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer, but other toxins and health conditions are linked with lung cancer, too. Early treatment is best, but do you know the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer? Plus, review some of the most novel immunotherapy drugs that are adding months to lives of people that may have died earlier without treatment.