The FDA has issued a safety alert recommending that women who are pregnant or are seeking to get pregnant avoid taking the vaginal yeast infection drug Diflucan (fluconazole). The agency is evaluating a study from Denmark that found reports of abnormalities in babies at birth whose mothers took as few as 1 to 2 doses of oral fluconazole at 150 mg. Previously, abnormalities had only been seen at higher doses (400-800 mg) for longer periods of time. The FDA also “advises caution in prescribing oral fluconazole during pregnancy.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that pregnant women use only antifungal creams, not oral meds, during pregnancy for yeast infections. Via FDA. Posted April 26, 2016
A common class of chemotherapy drugs does not negatively impact mental functioning, according to a new study that contradicts earlier research. There is no link between anthracyclines, such a doxorubicin and epirubicin, and a foggy mental condition commonly known as “chemo brain,” researchers that worked on the study say in JAMA Oncology. The research team, led by Patricia Ganz, MD, of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, said women’s mental health skills remained the same whether they took an anthracycline or not, and was the case for up to seven years after treatment. Despite the findings of the latest study, some doctors question why the results of this one came out differently than many others, and caution more research must be conducted on the long-term mental effects of chemotherapy. Via HealthDay. Posted April 26, 2016.
The CDC has reported on emergency room visits caused by people that took counterfeit opioid drugs. Two people were treated in Contra Costa Co., CA, after they took what they thought were real Norco (hydrocodone, acetaminophen) pills. The two people, who bought the drugs off friends, were treated for symptoms consistent with opioid intoxication and released. Neighboring counties have reported counterfeit Norco that was laced with fentanyl, a narcotic 100 times more potent than morphine, and has cause more than 1,000 deaths from 2005-2007. Via MPR. Posted April 26, 2016.
An FDA advisory committee voted against approving a drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. No medication currently exists for the condition. Sarepta Therapeutics, the manufacturer of the drug, eteplirsen, attempted to sway the committee with results of a clinical trial that enrolled just 12 people. In addition, many patient advocates and those with the condition itself that had been treated with eteplirsen, spoke in favor of its approval. The FDA had encouraged Sarepta to do a placebo-controlled trial, but the company declined, saying it would be unethical and impractical to do so. Via The New York Times. Posted April 25, 2016.
Saturday, April 30, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a national initiative where people with unused or expired medications can drop them off at collection sites. Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the effort provides a safe and efficient way to discard prescription drugs. It is also a way to educate the public about the abuse potential of medications since many drugs that are abused are taken from friends or family, including straight from the medicine cabinet. You can search for a collection site near you here. Via DEA. Posted April 25, 2016