PHARMACY

FDA proposes major changes to labeling for pregnancy, nursing

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration today proposed major revisions to the physician labeling for prescription drugs to provide better information about the effects of medicines used during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

The proposed changes would give health care professionals more comprehensive information for making prescribing decisions and for counseling women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or of child-bearing age about using prescription medications.

The proposed rule outlines what important information about the use of medicines during pregnancy and breast-feeding would be required to be added to product labeling for newly approved drugs. Under the proposal, drug labeling would explain, based on available information, the potential benefits and risks for the mother and the fetus, and how these risks may change during the course of pregnancy.

Current labeling uses a letter category system to describe the risks of drug use during pregnancy. Stakeholders have said the letter category system leads to an inaccurate and overly simplified view of these risks, and does not facilitate updating of labeling as new information becomes available. The proposed rule would remove the letter categories from the pregnancy section of prescription drug labeling. The newly designed format, for the pregnancy section of the labeling would have three sections:

  • The first section, called the “Fetal Risk Summary,” would describe what is known about the effects of the drug on the fetus, and if there is a risk, whether this risk is based on information from animals or humans.
  • A second section, called “Clinical Considerations,” would include information about the effects of the use of the drug if it is taken before a woman knows she is pregnant. This section also would feature discussions about the risks of the disease to the mother and the baby, dosing information, and tell how to address complications.
  • The third section, under the heading “Data,” would describe in more detail the available data regarding use of the drug in humans and from animal studies that were used to develop the Fetal Risk Summary.

The pregnancy section would also include information about whether there is a pregnancy exposure registry for the drug. Pregnancy exposure registries collect and maintain data on the effects of approved drugs that are prescribed to and used by pregnant women. The lactation section of prescription drug labeling would use the same format as the pregnancy section.

Certain newly approved drugs would use the new pregnancy and lactation labeling format, while labeling for previously approved drugs will be phased in gradually under the FDA’s recent Physician Labeling Rulemaking.

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Takeda could see Alogliptin approval in near future

BY Alaric DeArment

OSAKA, Japan Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer Takeda’s new diabetes drug could get approval soon, according to Bloomberg.

According to the financial news agency, reports by analysts showed that the drug, alogliptin, had promise after the American Diabetes Association released parts of nine studies of the medication that were submitted for marketing approval in the U.S. in January, last week. They show the drug lowered blood sugar levels as much as Merck’s Januvia without serious side effects.

Alogliptin, also known as SYR-322, will compete with Merck’s Januvia and Novartis’ Galvus, which is also up for approval at the Food and Drug Administration. All three drugs are in a new class of diabetes treatments known as DPP4 inhibitors that signal the pancreas to produce more insulin and the liver to make less glucose, or blood sugar.

Assuming approval by the Food and Drug Administration, Alogliptin will succeed Actos, which generates about 29 percent of Takeda’s current revenue. Actos will lose patient approval in 2011.

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Accutane ingredient linked to increased risk of depression

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has shown a link between use of the acne drug isotretinoin and increased risks of depression.

The drug was shown to more than double the risk of depression in a study of more than 30,000 people in Quebec who had received at least one prescription for it between 1984 and 2003.

Roche Pharmaceuticals’ drug Accutane has isotretinoin as its main active ingredient. The FDA originally granted approval to the drug in 1982.

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