PHARMACY

FDA requires epilepsy drug makers to add warnings about serious side effects

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Manufacturers of drugs for epilepsy must include warnings that their use could increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.

The FDA is requiring manufacturers to include the warnings in the labeling for the drugs, including those used to treat psychiatric disorders, migraine headaches and other conditions.

“Patients being treated with antiepileptic drugs for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior or any unusual changes in mood or behavior,” FDA Division of Neurology Products director Russell Katz said in a statement. “Patients who are currently taking an antiepileptic medicine should not make any treatment changes without talking to their healthcare professional.”

The actions are based on the agency’s review of 199 clinical trials of 11 antiepileptic drugs that showed patients receiving the drugs had almost twice the risk of suicidal behavior or thoughts compared to those receiving a placebo.

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Take Care opens three clinics in New Orleans area

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, announced on Monday that it has opened three retail-based clinics in New Orleans, marking the first Take Care Clinics in the state of Louisiana.

Additional locations are slated to open in New Orleans in early 2009.

“We are excited to bring high-quality, affordable care to the citizens of New Orleans,” said Peter Miller, Take Care Health Systems’ president and chief executive officer. “We have watched this city overcome incredible obstacles in the past few years and we feel that its residents will greatly benefit from the increased access to health care offered by Take Care Clinics. Nearly one million patients have been treated at Take Care Clinics nationwide and we are proud to expand into New Orleans as part of our continued growth.”

Last year, Walgreens celebrated the opening of its 6,000th pharmacy location nationwide in New Orleans and has historically maintained a strong presence in the city.

Take Care Health Systems currently manages 312 clinics in 18 states.

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Medicine Shoppe teams with ADA on American Diabetes Month activities

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A retail pharmacy chain and the American Diabetes Association are collaborating to mark American Diabetes Month with free cards listing healthy recipes for people with diabetes.

Medicine Shoppe will distribute the cards, partially funded by Bayer HealthCare, listing 10 recipes that the ADA has approved as safe for diabetics, including chicken, turkey, potato, sausage and vegetable dishes.

The cards, titled the “Live Health Nutritional Recipe Cards,” list nutrition information and serving sizes for each recipe.

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