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Update on Drugs and Drug News - Number 5 2000

Class Name/Company Approval Dates and Comments

Oncologic Agent

Bexarotene Capsules
Ligand Pharmaceuticals

The US FDA approved Targretin capsules in February 2000, to be taken orally once/day, for the treatment of all stages of cutaneous Tcell lymphoma (CTCL) in patients who are refractory to > 1 prior systemic therapy. In November 1999, Ligand submitted a marketing application to the European Union (EU) seeking marketing clearance for treatment of CTCL.

Oncologic Agent


Schering-Plough has withdrawn its EU marketing application for this oncologic agent for the treatment of advanced malignant melanoma (an additional indication). The EU authorities said that additional studies will be needed for approval. It is already approved in the US and Europe for anaplastic astrocytoma.


Mequinol 2%/Tretinoin 0.01%
Bristol-Myers Squibb

The US FDA approved this drug in December 1999, for the treatment of solar lentigines.

Antibacterial Agent

Pharmacia & Upjohn

A US FDA advisory committee in March 2000, recommended approval of linezolid injection, tablets, and oral suspension for skin and skin structure infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia, and for infections caused by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus.

Antifungal Agent

Amphotericin B Liposome for Injection
Fujisawa Canada

HPB - Ottawa approved this antifungal agent in March 2000, for the treatment of systemic or disseminated infections due to Candida, Apergillus or Cryptococcus in patients who are refractory to or intolerant of conventional amphotericin B therapy, or suffer renal impairment.

Antifungal Agent

Terbinafine HCl 1% Solution

The US FDA has approved the switch of this drug from prescription to OTC status. Lamisil is the only OTC antifungal liquid indicated for the treatment of interdigital athleteís foot, jock itch and ringworm.

Drug News

Oncologic Agent
re: Panretin Gel

Phase III trials for Ligandís alitretinoin 1% gel (Panretin) for the topical treatment of cutaneous lesions in patients with AIDS-related Kaposiís sarcoma were reported in December 1999. Ligand reported that 35% of patients treated in this 12-week multicenter, vehicle controlled study had at least 50% improvement in their cutaneous lesions.

Antifungal Agent
re: Sporanox

The labelling for Sporanox (Itraconazole) was changed in March 2000, to indicate this drugís inhibition of the CYP 3A4 isoenzyme. Serious cardiovascular events have occurred in patients using astemizole, cisapride, pimozide or quinidine concomitantly with CYP 3A4 inhibitors.

Oncologic Agent
re: Solarase

SkyePharma PLC signed an agreement with Bioglan Pharma PLC in March 2000, for the manufacture and European marketing and distribution rights to Solarase, a topical gel for actinic keratosis.

Herbal Products
re: Drug Interactions

Patients should be cautioned about taking herbal products along with pharmaceuticals. Mixing them can lead to side-effects which include bleeding, increased psychiatric effects and hypertension. For example, patients who have clotting disorders or are awaiting surgery should avoid gingko, danshen, dongquai, papaya, or garlic. Phenelzine users should avoid ginseng and those on tricyclic antidepressants should avoid yohimbine. Patients taking cyclosporin, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or digoxin should avoid St. Johnís Wort. St. Johnís Wort has also been reported to compromise the effectiveness of the HIV drug indinavir.

In this issue:

  1. Systemic Drugs With Antipruritic Potency
  2. DPCP for the Treatment of Alopecia Areata
  3. Update on Drugs and Drug News - Number 5 1999