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Update on Drugs and Drug News - December 2006 - January 2007

UPDATE ON DRUGS

Class

Name/Company

Approval Dates and Comments

Oncologic Agent

Vorinostat
Zolinza™
Merck

The US FDA approved this histone deacetylase inhibitor in October 2006 for the treatment of cutaneous manifestations in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma who have tried and failed other therapies.

Antipruritic Agent

Fexofenadine hydrochloride
Allegra® Oral Suspension
sanofi-aventis

The US FDA approved this twice daily treatment in October 2006 for the treatment of symptoms associated with seasonal allergies in pediatric patients 2–11 years of age and for the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria in children 6 mos–11 years of age.

Immunomodulatory Agent

Imiquimod
Aldara®
Laboratoires 3M Santé

The European Union's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use gave a positive opinion for this immunomodulatory agent in October 2006 to include a new indication for the topical treatment of clinically typical, nonhyperkeratotic, nonhypertrophic actinic keratosis in adults.

Antiaging Agent

Polymethylmethacrylate/ Bovine Collagen
ArteFill®
Artes Medical

The US FDA approved this esthetic injectable implant in October 2006 for the correction of facial wrinkles known as nasolabial folds, or smile lines. It is a nonresorbable dermal filler containing homogeneous precision-filtered microspheres suspended in a solution of purified collagen gel and 0.3% lidocaine to alleviate discomfort during injection, and provides a permanent support structure for enduring wrinkle correction.

Antiviral Agent

 
Polyphenon® E Ointment 15%
MediGene AG/ Bradley Pharmaceuticals

The US FDA approved this topical therapy in October 2006 for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts. The active ingredient is a defined mixture of catechins extracted from green tea and proven effective for these indications caused by certain strains of the human papilloma virus.

Drug News

Melanoma

Researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a novel gene that facilitates the spread of malignant melanoma. In the June 30 issue of Cell*, these scientists reported that the gene, NEDD9 is abnormally abundant in more than a third of melanomas that have metastasized, but not in primary melanomas that have not spread. While the protein made by this gene does not lend itself to targeting by cancer drugs, the investigators believe that insights gained in this study suggest that disrupting genes and proteins associated with this gene maybe fruitful in halting the spread of melanoma.
*Kim M, et al. Cell 125(7):1269-81 (2006 Jun 30).

Vaccines

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend that adults 60 years of age and older be vaccinated with this live, attenuated varicella zoster vaccine (ZOSTAVAX®, Oka/Merck) to help prevent shingles (herpes zoster). This vaccine is given by injection as a single dose. This painful disease can occur at any time without warning in people who have had chickenpox. Approximately 40%–50% of shingles cases in the US occur in people aged 60 and older.


  1. Trying To Keep Ahead of Lice: A Therapeutic Challenge
  2. Treatment of Acne Scarring
  3. Update on Drugs and Drug News - December 2006 - January 2007