Thursday April 17, 2014
A retrospective study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests there may be an association between sildenafil (Viagra) use and melanoma, but the authors point out that a cause-and-effect relationship hasn't been established.
The report is based on an analysis of more 25,000 men who were enrolled in Harvard Medical School's Health Professionals Follow-up Study over a 10 year period. The study found those who had taken sildenafil had almost twice the incidence of melanoma than those who didn't take it. There wasn't a significant association between erectile function alone and melanoma. Previous studies have shown that sildenafil promotes the synthesis of melanin which may promote the development of melanoma.
Cialis and Levitra, the other leading erectile dysfunction drugs, were not included in the analysis since they had not been on the market when the study began in 2000.
In a guest editorial about the study written in Dermatology, a JAMA sister publication, June Robinson of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and Dermatology editor, recommended that physicians give patients a skin cancer check when prescribing the drug.
Manufactured by Pfizer, Viagra was approved in 1998 for erectile dysfunction and quickly became a global blockbuster drug. It has been prescribed for over 22 million American men.
Friday April 11, 2014
After a one-year lull in 2012, prescription drugs are going up again.
Prescription drug prices grew 3.8% in 2013 compared to a 0.1% growth rate in 2012, according to a report by CVS Caremark which fills prescriptions for 22.9 million people covered through commercial health plans, Medicare Part D and Medicaid. CVS Caremark is also a leader in the growing specialty pharmacy industry.
While the price increases are due to several factors -- traditional branded drug price hikes, and more people seeking medical treatment as the economy improves -- the most significant driver of the increase is due to the rise in specialty drugs, according to CVS Caremark.
Specialty medications that treat serious diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C grew by 15.6 percent. Spending on specialty drugs grew more than 10% between 2012 and 2013, and now represents about 30% of total drug spending among CVS Caremark customers. The report authors predict half of all drug spending will be on specialty drugs by 2018.
The full CVS Caremark report can be downloaded at: http://info.cvscaremark.com/insights2014/INSIGHTS%20Trend%202014-v2.pdf.
Another report released this month by Express Scripts stated that specialty drug spending will grow 63% between 2014 and 2016, led by an "unprecedented" 1,800% increase in spending on hepatitis C drugs.
Monday March 31, 2014
The dental medical community is investing in the development of an experimental chewing gum that can prevent plaque from eroding tooth enamel and prevent cavity formation or progression according to research supported by the American Dental Association Foundation. The gum contains containing α-Ca3(PO4)2, a calcium phosphate.
Researchers at the Foundation's Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center are also developing other calcium phosphate-based technologies that can remineralize hard tooth tissues or at least slow down demineralization. Previous studies have shown that separate calcium and phosphate compounds, incorporated into gums and candies, are effective in promoting remineralizing conditions in the mouth.
The American Dental Association and its foundation have supported research in ADA and ADAF research scientists have engaged in cooperative dental and medical materials research with government scientists since 1928.
Monday March 31, 2014
Dallas-based Neos Therapeutics announced it has raised $15.5 million in venture capital to finance the development of its time release technology for ADHD drugs.
"There's a real need for these dosage forms, for controlled-release," said Mark Tengler, inventor of the technology and Neos's co-president and chief technology officer.
The company believes time release ADHD medications benefit pediatric patients who are in school for much of the day where staff are not permitted to dispense medications. Neos has five patents for the technology and 10 applications pending.