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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: October 19, 2016

Genentech’s Tecentriq Approved to Treat Advanced Form of Lung Cancer

Last May, the FDA first approved Tecentriq to treat patients with advanced bladder cancer Read More...

Tecentriq (atezolizumab), an immunotherapy agent used in cancer, has been approved to treat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients whose disease has progressed during or after treatment with a platinum-based chemotherapy or other appropriate targeted therapy if their tumor has EGFR or ALK gene abnormalities. In clinical studies, patients receiving Tecentriq lived a median 4.2 months longer than patients receiving chemotherapy with docetaxel (13.8 vs. 9.6 months). Possible side effects with Tecentriq include lung inflammation, hepatitis, intestinal inflammation, hormone gland problems, eye inflammation, and severe infections and infusion reactions.

Flublok Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine FDA-Approved

Flublok is the only flu vaccine made in a 100% egg-free system using a novel cell culture technology Read More…

Flublok (influenza vaccine, recombinant hemagglutinin) influenza vaccine was originally approved for immunization against seasonal influenza in adults 18 years of age and older. This past week, the FDA approved a new quadrivalent formulation of Flublok. Flublok Quadrivalent protects against four influenza strains instead of just three, plus is the first high antigen content quadrivalent vaccine with triple the active ingredient. High antigen content flu vaccines may offer an advantage to seniors or those with lower immunity. Flublok Quadrivalent is approved for adults 18 and older and will be available in pre-filled syringes beginning in 2017.

FDA Approves Genentech’s Lucentis in a Prefilled Syringe

The Lucentis 0.5 mg PFS is expected to be available in early 2017 Read More...

Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor designed to bind to and inhibit VEGF-A, a protein that may lead to formation of new and leaky blood vessels. The FDA has now approved Lucentis 0.5 mg in a prefilled syringe (PFS). Lucentis PFS is indicated for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and macular edema after retinal vein occlusion (RVO), serious eye conditions that can lead to blindness. The prefilled syringe allows providers to eliminate several steps in the preparation and administration process. Common side effects of Lucentis include eye pain and redness, vision changes, headache and nausea.

Got a Statin? Always Check for Drug Interactions

Many drug interactions between statins and other heart drugs are "minor," and limiting the statin dose is often enough Read More...

Statins like atorvastatin (Lipitor) or simvastatin (Zocor) are among the mostly widely prescribed drugs in the nation, with about 25% of people age 40 and over taking one to combat high cholesterol. But with high cholesterol and atherosclerosis comes the addition of other heart medications like high blood pressure treatments, clot-preventing medications, and heart failure and heart rhythm drugs, according to a new publication. In fact, the addition of some drugs can raise the risk of serious muscle-related side effects. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist for a drug interaction screen any time you start or stop a prescription medication or herbal, dietary supplement, and over-the-counter product.

Earlier Use of Multiple Sclerosis Drug May Reverse Some Disability

However, risks probably outweigh benefits in patients with mild or early stage disease Read More...

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a nervous system disorder characterized by symptoms of visual difficulties, muscle weakness, and fatigue. MS occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective sheath around nervous system nerve fibers. A powerful drug FDA-approved for use in multiple sclerosis -- Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) -- is only for patients who have failed other treatments. However, results from a new study sponsored by the manufacturer suggest early use may slow and even reverse some disease-related disability. Lemtrada can be linked with severe side effects like infusion-associated reactions, infections, and development of other autoimmune-related diseases, but experts state those side effects can be managed in most patients.