Third patient taking arthritis drug develops PML
ROCKVILLE, Md. A third case of a deadly brain infection has occurred in a patient using a drug to treat arthritis, the drug’s manufacturer and the Food and Drug Administration have advised healthcare professionals.
The FDA and Genentech said a third case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, also known as PML, had occurred in a patient using the drug Rituxan (rituximab) to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Last week, the agency declined to approve a treatment involving the combination of Rituxan with methotrexate in patients who no longer responded to disease-modifying drugs alone – including methotrexate – also citing the risk of PML infection, even though PML is rare in patients using the drug.
PML results from infection by the JC virus, which is present in most adults but kept in check by the immune system. Full-blown AIDS and use of immunosuppressant drugs can give the virus the opportunity to replicate, resulting in a deterioration of brain function and, in most cases, death.
Genentech voluntarily withdrew another immunosuppressant drug, the psoriasis treatment Raptiva (efalizumab), earlier this year after determining that the risk of PML in patients did not outweigh the drug’s benefits.
Hy-Vee celebrates the other white meat
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A lot of people complain about pork barrel spending, but not Midwest supermarket chain Hy-Vee.
October is National Pork Month, and the West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee announced Friday that sales of the meat have increased more than 25% over October 2008. The chain said it was on track to increase pork tonnage by more than 30%.
“With pork prices the lowest they’ve been in more than a decade, we’ve focused our marketing efforts on promoting pork as a great value for consumers,” Hy-Vee assistant VP meat operations Kenan Judge said in a statement. “Today’s shopper is looking for nutritious, economical meal ideas, and pork perfectly fits the bill.”
Patients prefer new diabetes drug Victoza over its competitor, survey finds
MONTREAL A new diabetes drug satisfied patients more than its competitor, according to a study funded by the drug’s manufacturer.
According to data on 379 patients who took the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaires, presented Thursday at the 20th World Diabetes Congress and published in medical journal The Lancet, patients taking Novo Nordisk’s drug Victoza (liraglutide) perceived less abnormally low or high blood sugar levels — known respectively as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia — than those taking Byetta (exenatide), made by Eli Lilly & Co., Amylin Corp. and Alkermes.
Victoza is approved in Europe, but Novo Nordisk is still waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.
“Liraglutide has shown here in a convincing study that it is associated with less nausea, less perceived hypoglycemia and definitely higher patient satisfaction compared to exenatide,” principal investigator Wolfgang Schmidt said in a statement. “Patient-reported outcomes data is an important extension of the efficacy data. If a patient is satisfied with his or her treatment, then they are much more likely to really stick to the treatment over the long term, which is necessary in Type 2 diabetes.”