PHARMACY

New report offers recommendations for treating depression in pregnant women

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Pregnant women with depression face complicated treatment decisions because of the risks associated with both untreated depression and the use of antidepressants, according to a new report from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Psychiatric Association on Friday.

Based on an extensive review of existing research, ACOG and APA offer recommendations for the treatment of women with depression during pregnancy. The report, “The Management of Depression During Pregnancy: A Report from the American Psychiatric Association and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,” is published in Obstetrics & Gynecology (September 2009) and General Hospital Psychiatry (September/October 2009).

Depression is common during pregnancy — between 14% and 23% of pregnant women will experience depressive symptoms while pregnant. In 2003, approximately 13% of women took an antidepressant at some time during their pregnancy.

“Depression in pregnant women often goes unrecognized and untreated in part because of concerns about the safety of treating women during pregnancy,” stated lead author Kimberly Ann Yonkers, Yale University associate professor of psychiatry and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences. “It is our hope that this will be a resource to clinicians who care for pregnant women who have or are at risk of developing major depressive disorder.”

Both depression symptoms and the use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy have been associated with negative consequences for the newborn. Infants born to women with depression have increased risk for irritability, less activity and attentiveness, and fewer facial expressions compared with those born to mothers without depression. Depression and its symptoms are also associated with fetal growth change and shorter gestation periods. And while available research still leaves some questions unanswered, some studies have linked fetal malformations, cardiac defects, pulmonary hypertension, and reduced birth weight to antidepressant use during pregnancy.

Identifying depression in pregnant women can be difficult because its symptoms mimic those associated with pregnancy, such as changes in mood, energy level, appetite, and cognition. Depressed women are more likely to have poor prenatal care and such pregnancy complications as nausea, vomiting, and preeclampsia, and to use drugs, alcohol, and nicotine.

“Ob-gyns are the front-line physicians for most pregnant women and may be the first to make a diagnosis of depression or to observe depressive symptoms getting worse. In the past, reproductive health practitioners have felt ill equipped to treat these patients because of the lack of available guidance concerning the management of depressed women during pregnancy,” commented ACOG president Gerald Joseph. “This joint report bridges the gap by summarizing current research on various depression treatment methods and can assist clinicians in decision-making. Many people — physicians and women alike — will be glad to know that their choices go beyond ‘medication or nothing.’”

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FDA approves Ranbaxy’s generic peptic ulcer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has given an India-based drug maker final approval to market a generic drug for treating peptic ulcer.

Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, a U.S. subsidiary of Ranbaxy Labs, announced Monday the approval of glycopyrrolate tablets in the 1-mg and 2-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Sciele Pharma’s Robinul and Robinul Forte tablets, respectively.

“We are pleased to receive this final approval for glycopyrrolate tablets,” Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals VP sales and distribution Jim Meehan said in a statement.

Meehan said the drug would be launched between October and December. Glycopyrrolate tablets had sales of $26 million during the 12-month period ending in June, according to IMS Health data.

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Supervalu EVP joins NACDS board of directors

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An organization catering to the retail pharmacy industry has elected a new member to its board.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced that Duncan Mac Naughton, EVP merchandising and marketing for Supervalu, was elected to the board of directors, effective Aug. 14. Mac Naughton will fill the position vacated by Kevin Tripp, who recently retired as Supervalu’s EVP of its retail Midwest division.

Mac Naughton will serve the remainder of the 2009-2010 term until April 2010, when the annual board of directors elections are held at the NACDS Annual Meeting.

Mac Naughton has a career of service within the supermarket industry. He has served on SUPERVALU’s executive team since joining the company in 2006 upon its acquisition of Albertsons, where Mac Naughton had served as executive vice president of merchandising. Prior to Albertsons, he served in key leadership roles at H-E-B and Kraft Foods.

“We are pleased to welcome Duncan to the NACDS Board of Directors,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “NACDS’ diverse membership is well-represented by the NACDS Board of Directors. Duncan brings leadership and expertise on behalf of the supermarket segment, and we look forward to working together to advance pharmacy as the face of neighborhood healthcare and to add value to NACDS’ engagement in front-end activities.”

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