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Weekly Drug News Round Up - September 4, 2013

Don’t Delay: Get Your Child’s Flu Shot

Summer’s barely over, and already parents need to be looking ahead for the approaching flu season Read More...

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now recommending that all children 6 months and older receive the influenza vaccine as soon as it is available, either the nasal mist (Flumist Quadrivalent), for healthy children at least 2 years of age, or the injectable vaccine. There are two types of flu shot to choose from this year: either the trivalent, which is active against H1N1, H3N2, and one strain of Type B flu virus, or the quadrivalent vaccine (Fluzone Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent and FluLaval Quadrivalent), which covers the same three strains as the trivalent, plus an additional B strain. The AAP has not said that one vaccine is better than the other. Instead, the group said to get either one of these vaccines at the first opportunity.

New Tylenol Caps Will Highlight Liver Toxicity

Overdoses from acetaminophen send up to 80,000 people to emergency rooms every year with at least 500 deaths Read More…

For consumers who tend to overlook drug label warnings, the makers of Tylenol will be placing one in plain site on the bottle cap come this October. The warning will state that Tylenol's active ingredient is acetaminophen, the nation's leading cause of sudden liver failure. Acetaminophen, a popular pain and fever reducer, can be toxic to the liver with excessive doses. Tylenol's maker, Johnson & Johnson, said the warning will appear on the cap of each new bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol starting in October, and on most other Tylenol bottles in the coming months.

PolyPill Combo Drug Increases Adherence: Study

Concerns exist about fixed doses and lack of ability to time individual drug doses Read More...

Patients with heart conditions often find themselves taking multiple medications a day, but a new “polypill” might ease the burden, as reported by an international study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers looked at 2,004 high-risk people with cardiovascular disease. One group received either the “polypill”, which contained fixed doses of aspirin, simvastatin, and lisinopril with either the beta-blocker atenolol, or the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide; the other group received usual care. After 15 months, 86 percent of those on the polypill were adherent with medications, compared to less than 65 percent receiving individual drugs.

FDA Investigating a Rare Brain Infection Linked with Gilenya

Patients should not stop taking Gilenya without first consulting with their doctor Read More...

FDA is alerting the public and healthcare providers that a patient in Europe diagnosed with possible multiple sclerosis (MS) has developed a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare and serious brain infection, after taking the drug Gilenya (fingolimod). PML is caused by a virus that damages the fatty covering of the brain called myelin and may be fatal. Gilenya is used to treat relapsing forms of MS, a nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord often leading to muscle weakness and physical disability. The patient had not previously received Tysabri (natalizumab), an MS drug associated with a higher risk of PML.

How Should Statins Be Used in the Elderly?

In the United States, guidelines already recommend statins for primary prevention of heart attack and stroke Read More...

A new study demonstrates that statins are useful for primary prevention of stroke and heart attack in a group of patients over the age of 65 at risk for cardiovascular disease. In the meta-analysis published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers evaluated eight clinical trials that included over 25,000 participants. Compared to placebo, statins reduced the risk of heart attack by 29 percent and stroke by 24 percent, but did not have an effect in preventing death from any cause. Statins are affordable, as well, with several generics, like simvastatin and pravastatin, costing less than $10 per month at many pharmacies.