PHARMACY

FDA approves Novo Nordisk injectable children’s growth hormone

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved an injectable drug for treating children born small for gestational age with no catch-up growth by the time they reach 2 to 4 years of age, the drug’s manufacturer announced Tuesday.

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk said the FDA had approved Norditropin (somatropin [rDNA origin]) after data from a 13-year clinical trial in children who are SGA showed that 63 percent of children who reached adult height were in the normal range of their peers.

“Growth hormone therapy is the only treatment currently available to increase the height of a child with SGA,?”said Dianne Andrews, executive director of the Major Aspects of Growth in Children Foundation. “We are thrilled and supportive of a treatment option that may help these children achieve normal height and reduce the risk of physical and psychosocial problems associated with this condition.”

About 100,000 children are born SGA in the United States every year. At birth, babies who are SGA weigh less than 97 percent of all other babies of the same age. Children diagnosed SGA have increased risk of developing obesity, insulin resistance and carbohydrate intolerance.

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Women’s stress levels may be hit harder by economy, report says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Women may be more prone to stressing out over poor economic conditions, which could have an impact on their health, a report from the Society for Women’s Health Research revealed last week.

Citing a recent survey from the American Psychological Association called “Stress in America,” SWHR noted that women are expressing fear about the current financial situation more than men. Women are also reporting physical and psychological symptoms, including sleep disturbances, headaches, mood swings and changes in appetite, in higher numbers than men.

Three quarters of male respondents to the APA survey expressed fear about the economy, compared to 84 percent of women.

“Women are sometimes more aware of the stress they are feeling,” Stephanie Smith, public education coordinator for the APA and a licensed clinical psychologist in Erie, Colo., said. “They are often more willing to talk about it and admit to the struggles they are having.”

Women also tend to be the primary caretakers for most families, which in times of economic crisis, can add to the burden. “Women have many roles to play in life. They are often the primary caregivers for children and the older generations [aging parents], as well as workers in industry,” Smith said. 

In addition, many of the traditional household responsibilities end up falling on the shoulders of women. “As much as things have changed over the years, women still tend to do more of the household work,” Smith said, referring to cooking, cleaning and laundry. “Taken together, these things often lead to more stress in women, because they just have more things to be stressed about.”

Women are more likely to report unhealthy behaviors, including eating poorly and excessive shopping and napping as a response to stress. They are also more likely than men to report physical symptoms of stress, including headaches, exhaustion and depression.

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SilverScript announces continuation of Medicare Rx drug plan options

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. A subsidiary of CVS Caremark announced Friday that it would continue offering several Medicare Prescription Drug Plan options next year in all 34 domestic Medicare regions and Puerto Rico.

SilverScript offers Medicare beneficiaries three plans, depending on patients? budgets and healthcare needs. They range from SilverScript Complete, a zero-deductible plan that covers generics through retail and mail-order pharmacies and copays as low as $6 for 90-day supplies, to SilverScript Value, a low-premium plan designed for beneficiaries who take few medications but want coverage in case their health needs change.

“Medicare beneficiaries will again have three SilverScript plan offerings to consider when selecting the prescription drug coverage plan that best fits their healthcare and medication needs,” CVS Caremark vice president for Medicare Part D services Jim Maritan said.

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