PHARMACY

FDA approves generic version of Epivir

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has granted tentative approval to Indian drug maker Macleods Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV drug Epivir (lamivudine), FDA records show.

The drug would be available as 150 mg and 300 mg tablets, but cannot be marketed in the United States because of patent protection.

GSK’s patent for lamivudine will expire in 2010. Epivir had sales of $246.85 million in 2007, according to GSK financial records.

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National Barley Foods Council and BGLife Barley promote high-fiber diet

BY Melissa Valliant

SPOKANE, Wash. The National Barley Foods Council and BGLife Barley are joining forces to promote awareness of the health benefits of fiber. Whole grain, high-fiber diets may help control and prevent Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.

In accordance with National Diabetes Month in November, BGLife Barley is developing new grain products with higher amounts of soluble fiber. Its latest creation is Heart Balance Cereal, a completely whole-grain barley cereal. “A single serving of Heart Balance Cereal contains 50 percent more total dietary fiber and half the fat of oatmeal,” says Dr. Christine Fastnaught, technical manager at BGLife Barley. “Most importantly, just one serving of this cereal contain three grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber.”

Beta-glucan boasts many healthful attributes, including cholesterol reduction and weight control It also is an aid in establishing healthy blood sugar and blood pressure. A study in Nutrition Research and the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that foods containing barley reduced glucose and insulin responses, and a study in the Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice Journal reported a 30 percent decrease in average blood glucose level in Type 2 diabetics who ate 18 grams of soluble fiber per day.

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Study shows breastfeeding not likely cause of sagging breasts

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Findings from a study published in the September/October 2008 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal show that, contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding is not a likely cause of post-pregnancy drooping of the breasts.

As a growing number of women turn to plastic surgeons to counteract the effects of pregnancy on their bodies, one common postpartum complaint is sagging breasts, also known as breast ptosis, which many believe to be linked to breastfeeding. However, as this new study demonstrates, it appears that other factors, including older age, higher body mass index and a history of smoking, are responsible for the breast sagging experienced by some women after pregnancy.

“It is widely assumed that breastfeeding will adversely affect the appearance of the breasts, and this has been a major reason cited by women who choose not to breastfeed,” stated Brian Rinker, a plastic surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky and lead author of the study. “However, there has been very little objective data to support or deny that this is, in fact, the case. With this study, we hope to shed some light on the subject and correct any misconceptions.”

Fifty-eight percent of the patients studied had a history of breastfeeding one or more children; 39 patients did not breastfeed.  Weight gain during pregnancy across both groups ranged from 11 to 100 pounds and 39 percent reported a history of smoking. Fifty-one respondents described an adverse change in breast shape following pregnancy. BMI and weight gain during pregnancy  both were significantly higher in the non-breastfeeding group.

Analysis of this information showed that greater age, higher BMI, greater number of pregnancies, larger pre-pregnancy breast size and history of smoking all were significant risk factors in the development of sagging breasts. Breastfeeding, however, was not—even as the duration of breastfeeding increased.

“Patients need to be armed with objective data rather than broad assumptions when making important health decisions,” stated Alan Gold, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  “While further study in larger numbers of patients is necessary to assess the effects of breastfeeding on the breasts versus other factors, this study is a good start in providing information for those who are concerned about the potential aesthetic effect of breastfeeding and is consistent with our ideal of practicing evidence-based medicine.”

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