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Update on Drugs and Drug News - Number 11 2000

Class Name/Company Approval Dates and Comments

Antiviral Agents

Valacyclovir HCl

The US FDA approved a shorter course of therapy for this antiherpes drug in July 2001. Instead of taking Valtrex® tablets twice/day for five days, the new 500mg. caplets can now be prescribed as a 3-day course administered twice daily.

Anti-acne Agents

Tretinoin Gel
Retin-A® Micro® Microsphere
AP Phrama/Johnson & Johnson Canada

TPP – Canada approved this gel for marketing in Canada in July 2001, for the treatment of acne.

Oral Contraceptive

Drospirenone/Ethinyl Estradiol

The US FDA approved this low-dose monophasic, oral contraceptive in July 2001. It is the first and only birth control pill that contains the progestin drospirenone, which exhibits antimineralocorticoid activity and influences water and electrolyte balance. As a result, Yasmin® reduces sebum output and does not cause the weight gain that other contraceptives do. Women with kidney, liver or adrenal disease should be cautioned against taking this product.

Enzyme Replacement Therapy

Agalsidase Beta

The European Commission of the European Union granted marketing authorization to this product in July 2001, for long-term enzyme replacement therapy in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Fabry disease.

Drug News

Antibacterial Agents

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, recently reported in the New England Journal of Medicine*, the administration of a single 200mg dose of doxycycline within 72 hours after a tick bite from Ixodes scapularis was more effective than placebo in preventing the development of Lyme disease.
*Nadelman RB, et al. N Engl J Med 345(2):79 (2001 July 12)


Rapamune® (Sirolimus, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories), a transplant immunosuppressant, became available in August 2001, as a 1mg tablet for the US market in addition to the oral solution. This product is indicated for the prevention of acute organ rejection in kedney transplant patients and is recommended for use in a regimen that includes cyclosporine and corticosteroids.

Herbal Preparations

In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association*, Ang-Lee, et al, reviewed the literature on commonly used herbal medications in the context of the perioperative period. The authors found that complications can arise from direct effects, pharmacodynamic effects, and from pharmacokinetic effects. Direct effects include bleeding (garlic, gingko, ginseng), cardiovascular instability (ephedra), and hypoglycemia (ginseng). Pharmacodynamic herb-drug interactions include potentiation of the sedative effect of anesthetics by kava and valerian and pharmacokinetic herb-drug interactions include increased metabolism of many drugs used in the perioperative period by St. John’s wort. The authors conclude that physicians should explicitly elicit and document a history of herbal medication use and be familiar with the potential perioperative effects of these commonly used herbal medications.
*JAMA 286(2):208-16 (2001 Jul 11).

In this issue:

  1. Moxifloxacin (Avelox®) For The Treatment Of Bacterial Skin Infections
  2. Treatment of Hemangiomas in Children
  3. Update on Drugs and Drug News - Number 11 2000