PHARMACY

Study recommends elderly should receive higher doses of flu vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON A study has found that elderly people are more protected from flu if they receive four times the dose of the vaccine that they normally receive.

Researchers from the University of Rochester School of medicine and Dentistry gave large doses of the vaccine to 3,800 elderly volunteers and found that it caused them to build up twice as many antibodies as those who received the smaller dose.

Many of the patients were considered to be at high risk of flu-related complications. About 36,000 people die of the flu every year, most of them elderly people.

Sanofi Pasteur, which makes flu vaccines, funded the study.

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FDA launches new Web page to provide safety information on prescription drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it had launched a Web page to provide consumers and healthcare professionals with a single source of safety information about prescription drugs.

The page, www.fda.gov/cder/drugsafety.htm, provides links to information in categories such as drug labeling, drugs with risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, regulations and guidance documents and warning letters, import alerts, recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts.

“By placing Web links to these up-to-date resources on a single page, we’re helping consumers and healthcare professionals find drug safety information faster and easier,” said Dr. Paul Seligman, associate director of safety policy and communication in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This type of communication is aimed at helping consumers and healthcare professionals make well-informed decisions about medication use.”

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FDA approves generic version of Epivir

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has granted tentative approval to Indian drug maker Macleods Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV drug Epivir (lamivudine), FDA records show.

The drug would be available as 150 mg and 300 mg tablets, but cannot be marketed in the United States because of patent protection.

GSK’s patent for lamivudine will expire in 2010. Epivir had sales of $246.85 million in 2007, according to GSK financial records.

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