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Update on Drugs and Drug News - November 2002

Class Name/Company Approval Dates and Comments


Cetirizine HCl

The US FDA approved pediatric use in November 2002, for this antihistamine. Zyrtec® is approved to treat year roundallergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria in infants >6 months of age.

Atopic Dermatitis Agent

Elidel® Cream

By August 2002, 13 European countries gave their approval for this nonsteroid cream for the prevention of flare progression of atopic eczema in patients >2 years of age.

Immune Response Modifier

Aldara® Cream

The US FDA approved a new pediatric indication for this immune response modifier in September 2002. This cream can now be used for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts and condyloma acuminata in patients >12 years of age.

Antiviral Agent

Valacyclovir HCl

The US FDA approved a new indication in September 2002. This antiviral product can now be used to treat cold sores (herpes labialis) in healthy adults at a dosage of 2gm po, b.i.d., for 1 day.

Drug News

Interstitial Granulomatous Dermatitis

According to a recent article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology*, Dermatologists should watch for signs of interstitial granulomatous dermatitis in their patients. Tomasini and Pippione suggest that patients who are found to have this condition on clinical examination may have an underlying systemic disorder. Their conclusion is based on a review of 17 patients, most of whom had rheumatoid polyarthralgias along with interstitial granulomatous dermatitis characterized by a diffuse infiltration of the interstitium of histiocytes with piecemeal fragmentation of collagen and formation of small granulomas around degenerative areas.
*J Am Acad Dermatol 46(6):892-9 (2002 Jun).

Atopic Allergies and Depression

According to an article published in Biological Psychiatry*, researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland report that women with IgE-mediated atopic allergies may have an increased risk for developing depression in early adulthood. Timonen, et al, used data from the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort of newborns who were followed prospectively to age 31. Of the total cohort, 5428 individuals underwent skin tests for four of the most common allergens, i.e., cat, birch, timothy grass and dust mites. They also collected data on doctor-diagnosed lifetime depression from questionnaires. After adjusting for social class, mothers’ parity, place of residence and psychiatric morbidity, analysis showed that the risk of developing depression when compared with nonatopic subjects was up to 1.8 times higher. The risk was 2.7 times higher in atopic women when compared with skin test negative female subjects without allergic symptoms. Corresponding associations were not found among the male subjects.
*Biol Psychiatry 52:349-55 (2002 Aug).

In this issue:

  1. Novel Dermatologic Uses of the Immune Response Modifier Imiquimod 5% Cream
  2. Fat Rebalancing: The New “Facelift”
  3. Update on Drugs and Drug News - November 2002