PHARMACY

Investigational oxycodone formulation may discourage drug abusers

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS Two drug companies may have developed a formulation of the painkiller oxycodone that discourages drug abusers.

King Pharmaceuticals and Acura Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that results from an oral abuse liability study of the drug Acurox (oxycodone hydrochloride and niacin) tablets indicate they are disliked among people with a history of opioid abuse, compared with oxycodone tablets alone when they swallow excess doses.

“The fact that people with a history of opioid abuse showed a disliking of Acurox tablets in excessive doses is an indication that the product is an important step in the development of medicines that are designed to deter common methods of abuse, such as over ingestion, while effectively managing pain,” lead study author and chief of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Center for Chemical Dependence Donald Jasinski said.

Results of the study were presented Friday at the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Medical-Scientific Conference.

The two companies said the Food and Drug Administration had given Acurox priority review classification, and they expect to get a response from the FDA by June 30.

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PHARMACY

Allscripts ranked No. 1 in electronic prescription routing for second consecutive year

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO Allscripts announced Thursday for the second consecutive year that it routed more electronic prescriptions over the Surescripts network than any other e-prescribing or Electronic Health Record solution provider. Allscripts also had more active prescribers connected to the national network in 2008 than any other company.

Allscripts also reported a 203% year-over-year increase in the number of end-users on Allscripts electronic prescribing solutions company-wide, both through its stand-alone e-prescribing solutions and its Electronic Health Records.

“Electronic prescribing saves lives by providing the information critical to delivering high quality, safe and cost-effective care,” said Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts. “We see standalone e-prescribing as an ‘on-ramp’ to the full Electronic Health Record, helping thousands of physicians to more easily adopt clinical technology as a first step toward using an EHR and qualifying for new federal incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

The Act, signed by President Obama in February, empowers the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to pay physicians between $44,000 and $64,000 over five years, beginning in Fiscal Year 2011, for deploying and demonstrating “meaningful use” of a certified Electronic Health Record to care for patients. Physicians who do not use an Electronic Health Record after 2014 will be penalized by CMS.

Benefits of electronic prescribing include eliminating illegible handwriting; adding checks and alerts for harmful drug interactions, dosage levels and patient specific factors such as prior adverse reactions; streamlining processes such as refill requests; and improving patient compliance and convenience.

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Study results find that Vesicare has lower incidence of specific side effect

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO Patients with overactive bladder who received the drug Vesicare reported lower incidence of dry mouth than those who received an immediate-release formulation of the generic drug oxybutynin, according to a new study presented at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago Tuesday.

“Findings from the VECTOR study are very encouraging,” University of Toronto urology professor Sender Herschorn said in a statement. “The fact that some patients discontinue treatment for OAB because of intolerable side effects counters our best efforts to encourage them to seek treatment which could improve their quality of life.”

The VECTOR study compared the tolerability and efficacy of Vesicare (solifenacin) with oxybutynin IR for the treatment of overactive bladder. The study enrolled 132 adults from various locations in Canada who had symptoms of OAB for three months or longer.

Oxybutynin is the generic name of Johnson & Johnson’s Ditropan, originally approved in the 1970s.

Vesicare is manufactured by Astellas Pharma.

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