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Weekly Drug News Round Up - September 18, 2013

Teva To Market First Generic Capecitabine for Colorectal and Breast Cancers

Teva Pharmaceuticals has gained FDA approval to market generic capecitabine in 150 and 500 milligram strengths Read More...

In 2013, over 375,000 patients will be diagnosed with either breast or colorectal cancer, and over 90,000 of these patients will die. Cancer medications are notoriously expensive, but this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first generic version of Xeloda (capecitabine), which should lower out-of-pocket costs for patients. Capecitabine, given orally as a pill, is used in the treatment of colorectal cancer and breast cancer that has spread in the body (metastatic). Patients receiving capecitabine and coumarin-derivative anticoagulants like warfarin should have their anticoagulant response monitored frequently.

Biological Basis Found for Tamoxifen-Induced Mental Fogginess

Researchers have been able to isolate the cells in the brain and nervous system that are harmed by tamoxifen therapy Read More...

Tamoxifen, in the class of drugs known as antiestrogens, works by blocking the action of estrogen in breast tissue, which keeps estrogen-sensitive breast cancers from growing. Tamoxifen is commonly used as a treatment for breast cancer in women or men, and can also be used to lower the risk of developing breast cancer in high-risk women. Compared to other forms of cancer treatments, tamoxifen has few serious side effects; however, some women complain of mental fogging. Researchers have now found a biological basis for the slowed thinking, and propose that a treatment for this side effect may be available in the future.

FDA Considers Fast-Track Approval of Perjeta for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Fast-track approvals may be given to drugs that aren’t fully researched but show promising results in early trials Read More...

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted 13 to 0 to recommend FDA-approval of Perjeta (pertuzumab) to treat early stage breast cancer tumors. Perjeta is currently approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Experts note that use of Perjeta, made by Genentech, might result in less invasive surgical treatment for women with HER2-positive early stage breast cancer. If okayed by the FDA, Perjeta would be the first chemotherapy drug approved as a first-step breast cancer therapy in the United States. Experts noted more women might be able to keep their breasts instead of undergoing mastectomy due to reduced tumor size prior to surgery.

Infections, Deaths Due to Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Highlight CDC Report

Infections by antibiotic-resistant bacteria add $35 billion in excess U.S. healthcare costs and lost productivity per year Read More...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a comprehensive analysis of the societal impact from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect over 2 million people in the U.S. each year, resulting in close to 23,000 deaths. Antibiotic overuse in humans is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance; use in livestock is also a factor. The CDC has outlined a 4-pronged approach to combating antibiotic resistance: preventing infections and preventing the spread of resistance: tracking resistant bacteria; improving the use of existing antibiotics; and promoting the development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tests for resistant bacteria.

“Bath Salts” Designer Drug Led to 23,000 Emergency Room Visits in 2011

Of the nearly 2.5 million ED visits that involved drug misuse or abuse in 2011, bath salts were named in 22,904 visits Read More...

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is the first national study to look at bath salts-related emergency department visits. “Bath salts” are not a spa product; the name refers to drugs of abuse that contain one or more chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant. Bath salt drugs can cause fast heart rates, high blood pressure, seizures, addiction, suicidal thoughts, psychosis and, in some cases, death -- especially when combined with the use of other drugs. The report said that 67 percent of emergency department visits linked to bath salts also involved the use of another drug such as marijuana, “spice”, or other drugs.