PHARMACY

FDA mandates switch to HFA inhalers

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration today issued a public health advisory to alert patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals to switch to hydrofluoroalkane propelled albuterol inhalers because chlorofluorocarbon propelled inhalers will not be available in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2008. CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers are being phased out because they are harmful to the environment by contributing to depletion of the ozone layer above the Earth’s surface.

“Concern about the environment stimulated the need to phase out CFCs,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA wants to emphasize that HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers.”

Currently, the FDA has approved three HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers: Proair HFA Inhalation Aerosol, Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol, and Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol. In addition, an HFA-propelled inhaler containing levalbuterol, a medicine similar to albuterol, is available as Xopenex HFA Inhalation Aerosol.

The FDA is urging patients to talk with their health care professionals now about switching to HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers. These products are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers.

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PHARMACY

Bystolic fulfills pharmacists’ desire for a new beta-blocker

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Forest Laboratories and Mylan’s new, once-daily hypertension drug Bystolic now is available in pharmacies nationwide.

A recent survey showed that out of 20,000 retail pharmacists, 78 percent felt there was a need for a beta-blocker with an improved tolerability profile.

More than 2,000 people received Bystolic (nebivolol) during clinical trials. The drug’s efficacy was similar to that of other approved beta-blockers, the FDA said. The most common reported side effects were headache, fatigue, dizziness and diarrhea.

Hypertension affects about 72 million adults in America.

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PHARMACY

Tenn. pharmacy school receives $600,000 grant

BY Drew Buono

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Lipscomb University has received a $600,000 grant from The Memorial Foundation to support the school’s new $10.1 million pharmacy school, which will receive its first class in August, according to published reports. The Lipscomb College of Pharmacy has accepted 75 students in its first class.

The money will be used to build three patient support laboratories where students will learn to compound and prepare drugs, carry out experiments and examine and assess patients.

The school will be located in the Burton Health Sciences Center. In honor of the foundation’s grant the labs will be named The Memorial Foundation Pharmacy Practice Center.

“We believe it is a good investment for the community and for those students who want to prepare for a career in pharmacy,” said J.D. Elliott, president of The Memorial Foundation.

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