PHARMACY

U. of Michigan report looks at pediatric FDA approvals

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. According to a University of Michigan report released earlier this week, only 90 percent of prescription medicines used in adults have been Food-and-Drug-Administration approved, with the remaining 10 percent accounting for off-label prescribing. Moreover, the University report charged that out of the entire universe of prescription-drugs, only 30 percent have been approved for use in pediatric populations. The report did not include data regarding the overall percentage of medicines actually prescribed to children, however, nor how that data might correspond to the 30 percent of medicines bearing a pediatric usage label.

The report did include a December 2007 C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health which gauged parent’s knowledge on whether or not they knew the prescription drugs being prescribed to their children were being prescribed via FDA label guidelines or as an off-label use for a particular medicine. According to the survey, 83 percent of parents believed the last medicine prescribed for their child had FDA approval for use in children, and 77 percent of parents would prefer that their doctors not prescribe a medicine in an off-label capacity to their children. That number did not change when parents were informed that only 30 percent of all medicines, including medicines for disease-states more often associated with adult diagnoses, such as erectile dysfunction, menopause or contraception, for example, have been approved for use in children.

The majority of parents, 94 percent, expected the doctor to tell them whether or not a medicine is being prescribed per its labeling or if the doctor is suggesting an off-label use of the medicine.

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FDA approves Alcon’s Patanase for nasal allergy symptoms

BY Adam Kraemer

HUENENBERG, Switzerland Alcon announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved Patanase (olopatadine hydrochloride) nasal spray for the relief of the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis in patients 12 years of age and older.

“We look forward to providing doctors the opportunity to prescribe Patanase to their patients who need and want a fast-acting nasal spray that quickly relieves symptoms,” said Kevin Buehler, Alcon’s senior vice president of global markets and chief marketing officer. “We are excited to enter the nasal market and are confident that this new addition will continue to grow our topical allergy franchise.”

Clinical studies found that patients treated with Patanase, two sprays per nostril, twice daily, demonstrated significantly greater decreases in symptoms compared to the placebo nasal spray. Additionally, onset of action was evaluated in three studies, in which patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis were exposed to high levels of pollen and then treated with either Patanase or placebo nasal spray, two sprays in each nostril, after which they self-reported their allergy symptoms hourly for the subsequent 12 hours. Patanase nasal spray was found to have an onset of action of 30 minutes and a 12-hour duration of affect after dosing, which was statistically significant compared to the placebo spray.

“For patients who suffer every allergy season with symptoms that make life in those months miserable, Patanase offers relief beginning in minutes in a convenient steroid-free nasal spray,” said one study’s lead investigator, Eli Meltzer. “The fact that it works quickly is important. Patients in our fast-paced society want rapid improvement and relief from their nasal allergies.”

Patanase nasal spray, an extension to Alcon’s market-leading ocular allergy product line, will be available in May of this year.

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EPA sets up collection sites in eight states for used meds

BY Adam Kraemer

BUFFALO, N.Y. The Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing that trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are showing up in drinking water, has begun urging consumers living near any of the Great Lakes to bring their old medications to official collection centers.

The EPA is helping pay for more than 70 collection points in eight states that will take old medicine—along with electronic waste like computers, cell phones and televisions—from April 19 through April 27. The agency has set a goal of collecting 1 million pills during an Earth Day initiative aimed at the more than 30 million people who live around the Great Lakes, which are by far the largest source of fresh drinking water on the planet.

The collection sites are being established in New York, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“We’re trying to raise public awareness on disposing of pharmaceuticals properly and we’ve had a very good response from communities on water districts. This is information that needs to get out there,” EPA spokeswoman Phillippa Cannon said Tuesday.

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