PHARMACY

Study suggests Zometa combination may reduce chance of breast cancer relapse

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO A study announced Sunday shows that a drug for building bones may also help women with breast cancer.

The study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago, found that breast cancer patients who took a combined treatment of Zometa and hormone-inhibiting drugs were 35 percent less likely to relapse than those who took placebos.

Half the patients took anastrozole (AstraZeneca’s Arimidex), a drug usually given to postmenopausal women that blocks the effects of estrogen, while the other half took tamoxifen (AstraZeneca’s Nolvadex), which blocks the production of estrogen and is usually administered following breast-cancer surgery. Half the patients from each group took Zometa. All patients took goserelin (AstraZeneca’s Zoladex), a drug that stops the production of estrogen.

The study examined 1,800 women who had received breast cancer surgery who had an average age of 44. It then followed the patients for five years. Six percent of patients who took the treatment and 9 percent who did not take it relapsed or died within that period.

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PHARMACY

Juvaris tests flu vaccine addition

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Burlingame, Calif.-based Juvaris BioTherapeutics is testing an adjuvant for flu vaccines.

JVRS-100, as the drug is known, is designed to augment vaccines by stimulating the immune system. Testing will involve 128 patients who will receive the drug ad an flu vaccine.

The trial will test the safety and tolerability of the drug.

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Teva announces generic Wellbutrin XL and Zyrtec syrup

BY Drew Buono

NORTH WALES, Pa. Teva Pharmaceuticals has announced the availability of two new generic drugs, Cetirizine hydrochloride syrup, the generic of Pfizer’s allergy medication Zyrtec syrup and Budeprion XL 150 mg, the generic of GlaxoSmithKline’s seasonal affective disorder medication Wellbutrin XL 150 mg.

Cetirizine Hydrochloride Syrup is available in a 5 mg/5 mL strength, in bottle sizes of 120 mL and 473 mL. Also, with the addition of this new strength, Teva now offers Budeprion XL tablets in 150 mg and 300 mg strengths, in bottle sizes of 30 and 500.

Zyrtec syrup has sales of $177 million in 2007 and Wellbutrin XL had sales of $992 million in 2007, according to drugs.com.

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