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Update on Drugs and Drug News - March 2002


Class Name/Company Approval Dates and Comments

Antiviral Agent

Naturally-Derived Alpha Interferon
Viragen

The Swedish Regulatory Authorities approved expanded use in January 2002, to include the treatment of patients afflicted with any and all diseases in which patients were or became resistant to treatments using recombinant (synthetic) interferon. Recombinant interferons usually contain only one subtype of interferon as compared to multiple subtypes in naturally derived interferon, which is produced by human white blood cells.

HIV/AIDS

Efavirenz
Sustiva®
Bristol-Myers Squibb

The US FDA approved a new one-tablet 600mg. formulation in February 2002, of this non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in combination treatment for HIV. The new formulation will provide doctors with the option of prescribing one 600mg. tablet once daily instead of three 200mg. capsules once daily.

Oral Contraceptive

Estradiol/Levonorgestrel
Alesse®
Wyeth-Ayerst Canada

TPP – Canada approved this birth control pill in January 2002, for the treatment of moderate acne in women.

Oncologic Agent

HSPPC-96
Oncophage®
Antigenics

The US FDA granted fast-track designation in February 2002, for this cancer vaccine for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

HIV/AIDS

Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumerate
Viread®
Gilead Sciences

The EMEA granted marketing approval in all 15 member states of the European Union in February 2002, for use in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV infection in patients who are experiencing early virological failure.

Antihistamine

Desloratidine
Clarinex® 5mg. Tablets
Schering-Plough

The US FDA approved additional indications for this antihistamine in February 2002, to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria and symptoms of allergies caused by indoor and outdoor allergens in adults and children >12 years of age.


Drug News

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS Many scientists have believed that HIV acts to deplete its primary target, CD4+ T-cells by blocking new Tcell production. According to a report from the US National Institutes of Health, two independent studies demonstrated that HIV does not block such production, but acts to accelerate the division of existing Tcells. Consequently, the increases in CD4+ T-cell counts seen following highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) are not due to a boost in the production of new T-cells. Instead, they are caused by a slowdown in the loss of existing T-cells.

Sunscreens

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology* sunscreen should be reapplied 15-30 minutes after sun exposure begins for maximum benefit. An individual who does this will have 15-40% less exposure to ultraviolet rays than someone who waits for 2 hours before reapplying sunscreen.
*J Amer Acad Dermatol 45:882-5 (2001).


In this issue:

  1. Topical Tazarotene Therapy for Psoriasis, Acne Vulgaris, and Photoaging
  2. Common Sense Dermatological Drug Suggestions For Women Who Are Breast-feeding
  3. Update on Drugs and Drug News - March 2002