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February 2016

Features

The FDA is working to solve problems with the often-confusing risk evaluation and mitigation strategy program, which covers 74 pharmaceuticals and four drug classes. Issues include patient access to drugs and the dominant role of specialty pharmacies.
More than four years after the release of a landmark report by the Institute of Medicine focused attention on pain in America, there are encouraging signs that the nation may be poised to undergo the “cultural transformation” advocated by the report.
In a retrospective cohort analysis of data collected at four Michigan state mental health hospitals, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors did not appear to potentiate the occurrence of extrapyramidal symptoms in patients on antipsychotics.
Meeting Highlights
The annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology drew 25,000 attendees for the presentation of 5,633 abstracts. We review key sessions focusing on newer agents and their efficacy in high-risk leukemia and multiple myeloma populations.
Pipeline Plus
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most widespread and virulent nosocomial pathogens. The late-stage clinical pipeline includes an array of proposed new treatments aimed at MRSA-related skin infections and pneumonia.

Departments

Medication Errors
Automated dose alerts with hard stops aid patient safety.
Prescription: Washington
340B guidance upsets both hospitals and drug makers.
New Drugs/Drug News
FDA approvals, drug indications, and updates
Lesinurad (Zurampic) for gout-related hyperuricemia; selexipag (Uptravi) for pulmonary arterial hypertension; sugammadex (Bridion) to reverse neuromuscular blockade after surgery; and alectinib (Alecensa) for lung cancer
Drug Forecast
Tiotropium bromide/olodaterol (Stiolto Respimat): once-daily combination therapy for the maintenance of COPD