HEALTH

Study predicts arthritis incidence to increase by 40 percent in 20 years

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Arthritis is exploding in an aging population of U.S. baby boomers and is projected to increase by 40 percent in the next two decades, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the National Arthritis Data Workgroup.

The report found that nearly one in five U.S. adults (46 million people) have arthritis and an estimated 67 million people will be affected by 2030.

“The prevalence of arthritis overall continues to grow in the United States, which is not surprising given that many of the specific conditions are age related and the general population is aging,” stated Charles Helmick, a CDC epidemiologist and a lead author on the study. “Increases in some of the more common types of arthritis suggest a growing impact on the health care and public health systems,” he said.

The study, published in the January issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, found that osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, has increased to 27 million people, up from 1990 estimates of 21 million. Other key findings include an increase in gout (3 million adults, up from 2.1 million) and a decrease in rheumatoid arthritis (down from 2.1 million adults to 1.3 million). The study also estimated that 294,000 U.S. children and teenagers under age 18 (or one in 250 children) have been diagnosed with arthritis or another rheumatologic condition.

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Generic drug makers announce FDA approval for Zyrtec

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. Like Claritin before it, Zyrtec will be faced with private-label competition not too long after reaching store shelves. Mylan, Perrigo and Caraco Pharmaceutical on Friday separately announced that they have received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration for their abbreviated new drug application, for over-the-counter cetirizine, 5 mg and 10 mg.

The products will be comparable to McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s Zyrtec, indicated for allergy and hives relief, which is expected to reach store shelves Jan. 24.

According to Wolters Kluwer data provided by Perrigo, brand sales for the original prescription strength version of the product for the 12 months ending October 2007 were approximately $1.4 billion.

Brand sales for comparable Claritin and Claritin D were a combined $285.9 million for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 7 across food, drug and mass (excluding Wal-Mart) channels, according to Information Resources, Inc.

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Bayer recalls glucose meter test strips

BY Michael Johnsen

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. Bayer Diabetes Care last week initiated a voluntary market recall of test strips used exclusively with the Contour TS Blood Glucose Meter.

In the course of its routine quality control monitoring processes the Bayer identified a manufacturing issue with test strips from specific lots that could result in blood glucose readings with a positive bias that is outside of product specifications. Test results may demonstrate results between 5 percent and 17 percent higher, the company reported.

This issue is unrelated to the Contour TS meter itself and pertains only to certain test strips used with the meter, Bayer clarified. Additionally, this issue has no impact on the performance of strips used with other Bayer meters including Ascensia Contour and Ascensia Breeze2 systems, the company said.

Healthcare providers, retailers, patients and other customers who use Contour TS are advised to check the lot number on the bottles of Contour TS strips and to contact Bayer Diabetes Care for information regarding return and replacement of strips. The affected lots begin with WK followed by the characters 7D, 7E, 7F or 7G and then followed by a series of other numbers and letters (for example WK7ED3E52C). Only bottles of test strips with the characters 7D, 7E, 7F, or 7G in the third and fourth position in the sequence are affected.

In the U.S., the affected product code numbers include: 1802, 1802N, 1820, 1823, 1825 and 9578. 

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