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FDA approves Belsomra tabs

BY Ryan Chavis

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has announced approval for Belsomra (suvorexant) tablets, which are used to treat insomnia. The drug works by altering the signaling of orexin in the brain. Orexins are chemicals involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and play a role in keeping people awake, the agency stated.

“To assist healthcare professionals and patients in finding the best dose to treat each individual patient’s sleeplessness, the FDA has approved Belsomra in four different strengths — 5, 10, 15 and 20 mg,” said Ellis Unger, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation I in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Using the lowest effective dose can reduce the risk of side effects, such as next-morning drowsiness.”

The drug should only be taken no more than once a night, within 30 minutes of going to bed. The total dose shouldn't exceed 20 mg once daily. Belsomra is produced by Merck, Sharpe & Dohme Corp.

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Raley’s Supermarkets, NRG eVgo partner to deliver first to Bay area electric vehicle drivers

BY Antoinette Alexander

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Raley’s Supermarkets and NRG eVgo are introducing the first electric vehicle fast charging station at a retail location in Northern California that features both industry standard fast chargers: CHAdeMO and SAE Combo.

Located at Nob Hill supermarket in Mountain View, this Freedom Station is the first to incorporate the new SAE Combo fast charge standard being introduced on many new EVs at a Northern California retail location, the companies have announced.

The Raley’s Nob Hill Freedom Station in Mountain View supports all EV drivers; regardless of what kind of electric vehicle they drive and expands the NRG eVgo network to 16 fast charge sites in the Bay Area, giving drivers the freedom to comfortably drive electric vehicles throughout the region.

“We are installing these convenient chargers as a service to our very sustainably-minded customers,” said Meg Burritt, Raley’s director of wellness and sustainability. “This new opportunity to recharge your EV while shopping for groceries at our store is our way of saying thank you for choosing an EV. Raley’s is here to make it easier for you to accomplish your daily tasks in a more convenient way.”

All Freedom Station sites currently include CHAdeMO DC fast chargers that can charge an electric vehicle in less than 30 minutes, as well as a standard Level 2 charger to serve EVs that do not have a fast-charging option. By adding SAE Combo DC fast chargers at California Freedom Station locations, eVgo furthers its commitment to support all EV drivers wherever and however they choose to charge.  Most sites are available 24/7, are positioned near retail stores and restaurants to provide the option to shop or eat while charging and are available to area EV drivers through a variety of charging plans or a no subscription, pay-per-use option.

 

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Study: High-dose influenza vaccine more effective across senior population

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLOTTESILLE, Va. — High-dose influenza vaccine is 24% more effective than the standard-dose vaccine in protecting persons ages 65 and older against influenza illness and its complications, according to a Vanderbilt-led study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
 
“The study was done to see if using a high-dose vaccine protected older adults better than the usual vaccine. Until this trial came out, we didn’t know if it was going to be clinically better or not, and now we know it is better,” said lead author Keipp Talbot, assistant professor of medicine, who served as coordinating investigator for the more than 100 study sites. “Older adults are the most vulnerable to influenza; they become the sickest and have the most hospitalizations. This vaccine works better than the standard dose and hence, I would tell my patients to get the high-dose vaccine every year. In the meantime, we will continue to work to find newer and better vaccines for older adults.”
 
Researchers concluded that the high-dose vaccine is safe, induces significantly higher antibody responses, and provides superior protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza illness compared to standard dose among persons older than 65 years of age.
 
Study data also indicated that the high-dose vaccine may provide clinical benefit for the prevention of hospitalizations, pneumonia, cardio-respiratory conditions, non-routine medical visits and medication use.
 
Known as the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine made by Sanofi Pasteur, the inactivated influenza vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen that is contained in the standard-dose Fluzone vaccine. “Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is the only influenza vaccine in the United States that is designed specifically to address the age-related decline of the immune system in older adults,” said David Greenberg, VP scientific and medical affairs and chief medical officer of Sanofi Pasteur U.S.
 
Study authors said about 1-in-4 breakthrough cases of influenza could be prevented if the high-dose vaccine were used instead of the standard-dose vaccine.
 
The multi-center study enrolled 31,989 participants from 126 research centers in the United States and Canada during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 influenza seasons in the Northern Hemisphere in order to compare the high-dose trivalent vaccine versus the standard-dose trivalent vaccine in adults older than 65 years of age.
 
 
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