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April 2012 Briefing - Pharmacy

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Pharmacy for April 2012. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Electronic Reminders Up Meds Adherence in Short Term

MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The use of electronic reminders (short message service [SMS] reminders, electronic reminder devices, or pagers) is associated with improved adherence to chronic medications in the short term, according to a review published online April 25 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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Levaquin Approved to Treat or Prevent Plague

MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Approval of the antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin) has been expanded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include plague, a rare but deadly bacterial infection.

Levaquin

Afinitor Approval Expanded to Include Benign Kidney Tumors

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Afinitor (everolimus) is the first drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat benign kidney tumors among people with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), the agency said in a news release.

National Cancer Institute

Votrient Approved to Treat Advanced Soft Tissue Sarcoma

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Votrient (pazopanib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who have received previous chemotherapy.

Medline Plus

Excessive Neutropenia for Weekly Everolimus + Docetaxel

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with metastatic breast cancer, weekly treatment with everolimus plus docetaxel every three weeks results in dose-limiting neutropenia and variable clearance of both drugs, according to a phase 1 study published in the May 1 issue of Cancer.

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Hyperalgesia Similar With Drug Therapies for Heroin Addiction

THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Heroin-addicted patients treated with methadone or buprenorphine have a heightened sensitivity to pain, and the hyperalgesia does not change over the course of treatment, according to a study published in the April issue of The Journal of Pain.

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Accelerated Aging Evident in Cocaine-Dependent Individuals

THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- The brains of individuals addicted to cocaine show accelerated loss of gray matter over and above the loss due to normal aging, according to a letter published online April 24 in Molecular Psychiatry.

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Modulator of mGluR5 Improves Features of Autism in Mice

THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- A selective negative allosteric modulator of the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5), GRN-529, improves some behavioral features of autism in mouse models of the disorder, according to an experimental study published in the April 25 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Botox Modestly Improves Chronic Headaches, Migraines

WEDNESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Botulinum toxin A provides a modest benefit for patients with chronic migraine headaches and chronic daily headaches, compared with placebo, according to a meta-analysis published in the April 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Meds, Clinic Noncompliance Linked to Mortality in Diabetes

TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Insulin-treated patients with type 2 diabetes who are noncompliant with their medication or clinic appointments face increased all-cause mortality, according to a study published online April 17 in Diabetes Care.

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Angiotensin Receptor Blockers Reduce No-Reflow Post-PCI

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), pretreatment with angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) is linked with reduced incidence of the no-reflow phenomenon after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), according to a study published online April 10 in Cardiovascular Therapeutics.

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Shingles Vaccine Generally Well Tolerated in Older Adults

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- The zoster vaccine is safe and well tolerated in older adults, despite an increased risk of allergic reaction in the days following vaccination, according to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

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Efficacy of Serotonin Receptor Inhibitors in Autism Unclear

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Serotonin receptor inhibitors (SRIs) have a small but significant effect in treating repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but this effect may be due to selective publication of trial results, according to a study published online April 23 in Pediatrics.

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Metformin + Insulin Comparable to Insulin Alone in T2DM

FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with type 2 diabetes, treatment with metformin and insulin has no significant effect on all-cause or cardiovascular mortality, compared with insulin alone, although data are limited and suffer from bias, according to a meta-analysis published online April 19 in BMJ.

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Study Compares Effectiveness of Psoriasis Treatments

FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The effectiveness of therapies for psoriasis is variable, and may be lower in real-world settings than in trial settings, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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FDA: Clinicians Urged to Stop Using Certain Ultrasound Gel

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals, clinics, and health care professionals should immediately discontinue using Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel due to risk of bacterial contamination in certain batches, according to a safety communication issued April 18 by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

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Albendazole Cuts Enteric Parasite Prevalence in Refugees

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- The administration of a single 600-mg dose of albendazole to United States-bound refugees prior to departure from Africa and Southeast Asia reduces the prevalence of intestinal nematodes, according to a study published in the April 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Chemoradiotherapy Combo Ups Bladder Cancer Control

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Locoregional control of muscle-invasive bladder cancer is significantly improved with a treatment regimen consisting of radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy with mitomycin C and fluorouracil, according to a phase 3 study published in the April 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Medicare Coverage Gap Leads to Drug Discontinuation

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Part D Medicare beneficiaries who do not have financial assistance during the coverage gap are at increased risk for cardiovascular drug discontinuation, according to research published online April 17 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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New Treatment Offers Benefit for Hypoxic Laryngeal Tumors

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with squamous cell laryngeal cancer, regional control rates are improved with accelerated radiotherapy (AR) plus carbogen inhalation and nicotinamide (ARCON) treatment compared with AR-alone, with the improvement seen in patients with hypoxic tumors, according to research published online April 16 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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ICD-9 Codes Underestimate Statin-Linked Rhabdomyolysis

TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Use of diagnostic codes, such as International Classification of Diseases -- Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes, may result in misclassification of rare, adverse drug reactions (ADRs), including the risk of rhabdomyolysis from high-dose simvastatin, according to a research letter published in the April 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on comparative effectiveness research.

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New Fibrate Use Ups Serum Creatinine Levels in Elderly

TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- For elderly adults, new fibric acid derivative (fibrate) use is associated with an increase in serum creatinine levels, in hospitalizations for these levels, and in nephrologist consultations, according to a study published in the April 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Evidence Lacking for Value of CKD Screening and Monitoring

TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- There is no evidence that screening and monitoring for chronic kidney disease (CKD) improves clinical outcomes, according to research published in the April 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Preexposure Chemoprophylaxis Cuts HIV Infection at a Cost

TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Models show daily oral preexposure chemoprophylaxis (PrEP) in the general population of men who have sex with men (MSM) could prevent a substantial number of HIV infections, but at a high cost, according to a study published in the April 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Low Gastroprotective Drug Adherence Ups Upper GI Events

MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- For patients taking cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (coxibs), low adherence to gastroprotective agents (GPAs) increases the risk of upper gastrointestinal (UGI) complications, according to a study published online April 16 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Alcohol Use With Opioids Common Even Without Abuse Past

MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol or sedative use during chronic opioid therapy (COT) for non-cancer pain puts patients at risk for adverse events such as respiratory depression or sedation, and the risk of concurrent use of central nervous system (CNS) depressants is not limited to patients with a history of substance abuse, according to a study published in the March issue of The Journal of Pain.

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Pegaptanib Reduces Foveal Thickness in Macular Edema

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Intravitreally administered injections of the selective vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-165 inhibitor pegaptanib significantly reduces foveal thickness and improves visual acuity in patients with diabetes and macular edema, according to a study published online April 5 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

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Metal Binding Important for Metformin Action

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- The ability of metformin to bind mitochondrial copper may be essential to its mechanism of action, according to a study published online April 9 in Diabetes.

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Crizotinib Treatment Lowers Total Testosterone Levels

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Men with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with crizotinib exhibit rapid suppression of total testosterone (T) levels compared with those who do not receive crizotinib treatment, according to research published online April 4 in Cancer.

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Sequencing Traditional Chinese Medicines Reveals Surprises

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- DNA sequencing of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) using high-throughput sequencing (HTS) reveals that potentially toxic plant ingredients and traces of endangered animals are present, according to a study published online April 12 in PLoS Genetics.

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Role of Omega-3 in Secondary Prevention of CVD Questioned

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), evidence is lacking for a secondary preventive effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements, according to a meta-analysis published online April 9 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Bevacizumab Offers Lasting Improvement in Macular Edema

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- At two years of follow-up, diabetes-related clinically significant macular edema (CSME) is more effectively improved by intravitreous bevacizumab than with macular laser therapy (MLT), according to a study published online April 9 in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Antidepressants Don't Worsen Parkinson's Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- The antidepressants paroxetine and venlafaxine extended release (XR) reduce depression without worsening motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease, according to a study published online April 11 in Neurology.

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Death Risk Similar With High-Dose Losartan, Candesartan

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with heart failure, the use of high-dose losartan is not associated with an increased mortality risk compared with high-dose candesartan, according to a study published in the April 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Injectable Contraceptive Linked to Elevated Breast Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Recent use of the injectable contraceptive depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) for 12 months or longer may approximately double the risk of breast cancer in young women, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in Cancer Research.

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Tivozanib Exhibits Antitumor Activity in Renal Cancer

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- The potent, selective vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1, -2, and -3 inhibitor, tivozanib, demonstrates antitumor activity and is well tolerated in patients with advanced/metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), according to research published online April 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Alternative Medicine Doesn't Affect Asthma Care in Children

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is not associated with adherence to pediatric asthma treatment, according to a study published online April 9 in Pediatrics.

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Statins Moderate Effect of Metformin on Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- For men with type 2 diabetes treated with metformin, prostate cancer (PCa) incidence varies depending on statin use, with a significantly reduced risk for patients taking a combination of metformin and statins, according to a study published online March 28 in Diabetes Care.

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Report Highlights Child Deaths From Post-Surgery Codeine Use

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified three previously unreported instances of severe opioid-induced toxicity in children following adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, according to a case report published online April 9 in Pediatrics.

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Treating Hepatic Encephalopathy Reduces Costs Due to MVAs

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE), diagnosis and treatment with lactulose reduces costs associated with motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), according to a study published in the April issue of Hepatology.

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Immunotherapy Tied to Lower Alzheimer's CSF Biomarkers

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, immunotherapy treatment with the anti-β-amyloid (Aβ) monoclonal antibody bapineuzumab results in lower concentrations of two cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers: total (T)-tau and phosphorylated (P)-tau, according to a study published online April 2 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Antibiotics Safe and Effective to Treat Appendicitis

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Although surgery is standard practice for treating appendicitis, uncomplicated acute appendicitis can be safely and effectively treated with antibiotics, according to a meta-analysis published online April 5 in BMJ.

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Methotrexate and Azathioprine Equally Efficacious for Eczema

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Methotrexate and azathioprine may be equally effective in treating severe atopic eczema in adults, according to a critical appraisal of a study published in the April issue of the British Journal of Dermatology.

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Full Weight-Based Chemo Doses Recommended for Obese

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- The American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline on Appropriate Chemotherapy Dosing for Obese Adult Patients With Cancer recommends using full weight-based cytotoxic chemotherapy doses to treat obese patients with cancer, according to an overview published online April 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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New Guidelines Issued for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- The 2008 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) guidelines for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been updated for 2012, according to a special article published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Addition of Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Ups Survival in AML

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with untreated de novo acute myeloid leukemia, the addition of gemtuzumab ozogamicin to standard frontline chemotherapy improves event-free, overall, and relapse-free survival, without causing excessive toxicity, according to a phase 3 study published online April 5 in The Lancet.

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New Combination Malaria Treatment Equally Effective

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Fixed-dose, combination pyronaridine-artesunate treatment is as effective as mefloquine plus artesunate in treating malaria infection, according to a study published in the April 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Prenatal Antipsychotics Impact Infant Neuromotor Function

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- The use of prescribed antipsychotics during pregnancy may result in significantly lower neuromotor performance in 6-month-old infants, according to a study published online April 2 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Medical Malpractice Claims Incur Substantial Defense Costs

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Defense costs for medical malpractice claims vary among specialties and are higher for claims that result in indemnity payments, according to a letter published in the April 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Alcohol, Drug Use Prevalent Among U.S. Adolescents

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol and drug use is prevalent among teens, with the median age of alcohol and drug abuse occurring during adolescence, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Reduced-Intensity Chemo Effective in Hodgkin's

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Treating patients with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma with a reduced-intensity, six-cycle BEACOPPescalated chemotherapy regimen is more effective and less toxic than eight cycles of the same regimen, according to a study published online April 4 in The Lancet.

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Cetuximab With Chemo Doesn't Improve Colon Cancer Outcome

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Adding cetuximab to adjuvant chemotherapy does not improve disease-free survival in stage III colon cancer patients following surgical resection, according to a study published in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Neupro Approved for Advanced Parkinson's and Restless Leg Syndrome

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- The Neupro (rotigotine) transdermal system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat advanced Parkinson's disease and moderate-to-severe restless leg syndrome, the Belgian drug maker UCB said Tuesday in a news release.

Medline Plus

Fluoroquinolone Use Linked to Retinal Detachment

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- The use of the oral fluoroquinolone antibiotics is associated with an increased risk of retinal detachment, although the absolute risk is small, according to a study published in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Serious Eye Disease Linked to Bisphosphonate Use

MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- First-time users of oral bisphosphonates have an increased risk of both uveitis and scleritis compared with nonusers, according to a study published online April 2 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

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