Sunday, April 08, 2007

FDA Drugs: February 2007

2007: Mar | Feb | Jan . . . 2006: Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep

FDA Drugs: February 2007

  • Warning Letter: Signature Genetics. Seryx is the company that markets an excellent (but expensive) pharmacogenetics program which will take your blood or cheek cells and analyze your DNA for various genotypes which affect how your body metabolizes certain drugs, many of which are psychotropic drugs. This information may be used to help a prescriber make decisions about starting dosages or drugs or combinations of drugs to use or avoid. This topic is a whole 'nother post I could do, but this type of testing can be used inappropriately (2002 Quackwatch page), as well. Anyway, this computer program is considered by the FDA to be a "device", and it has not applied for FDA approval, so the FDA is telling it to stop until approval is obtained.
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion) Medication Guides updated: PDF versions of Medication Guides for Wellbutrin and Wellbutrin SR were updated.
  • Generic Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) approved.
  • Only 22 New Drugs Approved in 2006: Merrill Goozner comments on his blog, GoozNews, about the lowering of innovation in the pharma industry.
  • FDA Starts Podcasts: The FDA Commissioner, Dr. Andy von Eschenbach, has started a series of drug safety-oriented podcasts. The first one just announces the series. Go to the XML feed to subscribe.
  • ADHD Drug Warnings: The FDA is requiring all manufacturers of drugs used to treat ADHD, including Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Strattera, to develop Medication Guides to warn patients about the risks of cardiovascular (sudden death, stroke, heart attack, blood pressure) and psychiatric (mania, psychosis, aggression) side effects.
  • Vyvanse releases Medication Guide: Shire's Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) was listed last month (before the name was changed from Vynase) as a new ADHD drug. It is a prodrug, meaning it is metabolized into an active drug by the body. Advantages are said to be that it is once-daily and that it is less likely to be abused (ie, 4 out of 5 drug abusers prefer other stimulants to this one). It now has full approval as a Schedule II drug (for full prescribing info, see link to Label Info here.)
  • Changes in Nardil (phenelzine) Prescribing Info: added severe renal impairment or renal disease to list of contraindications; added cautions about use in diabetes; and added warning about drug interaction with guanethidine (Ismelin).
  • Changes in Cymbalta (duloxetine) Prescribing Info: a number of changes were made, though I cannot tell how substantive these were. Lilly did receive a new indication for the treatment of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) with Cymbalta.
  • Changes in Effexor XR (venlafaxine) Prescribing Info: the following was added under the Precautions section: "Interstitial lung disease and eosinophilic pneumonia associated with venlafaxine therapy have been rarely reported. The possibility of these adverse events should be considered in venlafaxine-treated patients who present with progressive dyspnea, cough, or chest discomfort. Such patients should undergo a prompt medical evaluation and discontinuation of venlafaxine therapy should be considered."
  • Zimulti or Acomplia (rimonabant) review extended: This cannibinoid receptor antagonist, which is being reviewed as a weight loss drug (you guessed it... it blocks the munchies, even if you are not smoking pot), was to have a final decision on approval status on April 26. The review period has been extended to July 27. (I reported in November's update that this drug was approved in Mexico.) The latest proposed brand name is Zimulti. The hearing for this drug will be held on June 13, 2007, before the Metabolic & Endocrinologic Drugs Advisory Committee. When the background resource documents are ready, they will be found here.
  • Warning Letter: Provigil (modafinil). Cephalon got slapped for promoting its wakefulness-promoting drug (indicated for use in narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and Shift Work Sleep Disorder) by distributing a document by Dr. Kerasidis which states the drug is effective in multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, depression, ADD, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Interesting, in that this document was provided as testimony to the Maryland Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene's Committee which is responsible for making decisions about which drugs will be placed on the Medicaid formulary list.