PHARMACY

Officials contain victims of measles to limit possible outbreak

BY Diana Alickaj

MILWAUKEE Fearing a measles outbreak, city officials here, in April, offered free immunization vaccinations to local residents to ensure that a possible outbreak could be contained, according to published reports.

Local officials were able to contact and contain cases, involving, a 37-year-old man, a 23-month-old girl and two boys, ages 5 months and 1 year. According to published reports, one of the infected patients may have come into contact with as many as 150 people before being contained.

Officials believed they managed to limit public exposure but offered the free vaccinations as a preventive measure.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the MMR (Mumps/Measels/Rubella) vaccine is a live, attenuated, combination vaccine that protects against the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. The standard two-dose vaccine regimen is effective in preventing in about 99 percent of patients; while the first does is effective in about 95 percent of all cases, the second dose is recommended to protect the 5 percent who generally do not develop an immune response the first time around.

SIDEBAR: WHO NEEDS THE MMR?

People who do NOT need MMR:

  • Those who have had blood tests that show immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Those born before 1957.
  • Those who have already had two doses of MMR—or one dose of MMR plus a second dose of measles vaccine.
  • Those who have already had one dose of MMR and are not at high risk of measles exposure.

People who SHOULD get the measles vaccine:

  • College students, trade school students, and other students beyond high school.
  • Those who work in hospitals or other healthcare settings.
  • Those who travel internationally, and those planning to travel aboard a cruise ship.
  • Women of childbearing age.

Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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FDA announces safety review of two immunosuppressive drugs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration issued an early communication today stating that an ongoing safety review is taking place about the immunosuppressive medications CellCept by Roche and Myfortic by Novartis.

The drugs have been linked in safety data provided by Roche to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a sometimes fatal disorder that affects the central nervous system.

Roche has recommended including this information in the CellCept label. The active ingredient in CellCept, mycophenolate mofetil, is metabolized by the body to MPA (mycophenolic acid), the active drug ingredient in Myfortic.

The FDA anticipates taking two months to complete its review of the safety data and the proposed revised labeling for CellCept and Myfortic that includes information about PML.

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MyInsuranceExpert.com launches in nine states

BY Drew Buono

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. A new Web site called MyInsuranceExpert.com helps individuals and families research and purchase insurance policies, according to published reports.

MyInsuranceExpert.com is available in Michigan and eight other states and hopes to expand to 40 states by the end of 2009. So far, he said the site’s biggest business comes from states like Texas and Florida, where there are fewer companies offering insurance to employees.

People go to the site to receive online quotes and ultimately purchase their insurance policy. But the site also has personal, licensed advisers who work with each client to ensure they have the most cost-effective policy possible.

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