PHARMACY

Study finds sodium oxybate might significantly improve pain, core symptoms of fibromyalgia

BY Anna Mcgrath

PALO ALTO, Calif. Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ sodium oxybate showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in pain and the core symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, according to phase 3 data.

Most patients with fibromyalgia suffer from widespread chronic pain, but the vast majority of patients also are affected by a broader spectrum of symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunction and impaired physical function.

“The data showed that sodium oxybate improves the key symptoms of fibromyalgia: pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances,” said Todd Swick, one of the study’s investigators, medical director of the Houston Sleep Center and assistant clinical professor of neurology at the University of Texas – Houston School of Medicine. “Millions of people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and there is a continuing unmet need for therapies that address the constellation of symptoms that can have a significant impact on patients’ quality of life.”

The 14-week study included 548 patients with fibromyalgia and was presented last week at the 2009 Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in Seattle.

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Maryland offers free prescription card to residents

BY Michael Johnsen

ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland earlier this week launched a new statewide discount drug card program, called the Maryland Rx Card. The program, free to all Maryland residents, will provide savings of up to 75% on prescription drugs, though savings should average roughly 30%.

The program has no restrictions to membership, including no income requirements and no age limitations, and will be accepted at more than 50,000 pharmacy locations across the country.

The discount cards will be made available online at www.marylandrxcard.com, or at any Giant or Safeway pharmacy, both supermarket retailers have been named the preferred pharmacies for the program.

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Novo Nordisk discusses diabetes costs, patient motivation at conference

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The cost of diabetes to the country and the lag in patient motivation to take action to offset it were the major themes at a conference sponsored recently by a drug maker focused on the disease.

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk convened the conference in Washington, bringing in such speakers as American Diabetes Association CEO Larry Hausner.

Without intervention at the national and patient level, the company said, the country runs the risk of having 50 million people living with the disease by 2025.

“The growing prevalence of diabetes is having a profound effect on the health of current and future generations, as well as our national economy,” Hausner said. “We must awaken the public’s consciousness of diabetes and ensure our leaders in Congress recognize healthcare reform as their opportunity to transform the lives of all people affected by this devastating disease.”

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