PHARMACY

Study shows steroids prevent desensitization to asthma treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

MILWAUKEE A combination of steroids and beta-agonists is the most effective treatment for asthma, according to a study published Sept. 9 in the online edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that steroids prevented the desensitization to beta-agonists that occurs after prolonged treatment in a study that is the first of its kind to use human lung tissue.

Treatments using beta-agonists alone can desensitize the airways to the medications, which reduces the efficacy of treatment and increases the risks of asthma exacerbations. Exposing the lung tissue to the beta agonists and the steroids, however, restored sensitivity or prevented resistance.

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Judge orders Ely Lilly to unseal Zyprexa documents

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York said Friday he would unseal documents concerning Zyprexa, Eli Lilly’s schizophrenia drug.

Judge Jack Weinstein’s ruling was related to his granting of class-action status to a group of unions, pension funds and insurance companies alleging that the Indianapolis-based drug maker failed to disclose some of the drug’s side effects and marketed it for uses for which regulators had not approved it.

The documents date back to 2004, when several patients sued Lilly, alleging that Zyprexa (olanzapine) caused them to develop diabetes and gain excessive weight.

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New York legislation: pharmacists can administer vaccinations

BY Alaric DeArment

ALBANY, N.Y. Starting Dec. 4, pharmacists can apply to New York’s state government for certification to administer vaccinations, under legislation signed Friday by Gov. David Paterson.

The certifications will cost $100 every three years and require training. The shots will still require prescriptions.

The purpose of the bill, supporters said, was to increase the number of vaccinations in the state; in New York City, this could mean an additional 50,000 elderly.

“Allowing pharmacists to immunize would increase access to vaccinations, as pharmacies are open long hours, on weekends and most holidays,” said Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., a Long Island Republican who sponsored the bill.

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