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Auvi-Q (Kaléo; previously manufactured and marketed by Sanofi), the epinephrine auto-injector approved by the FDA in 2012 for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis and voluntarily withdrawn in 2015 due to potential inaccurate dosage delivery, has become available once more. According to Kaléo, improvements in the manufacturing process have addressed the concerns that led to its recall.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • February 13, 2017 (Issue 1514)
An oral nonopioid analgesic may be sufficient for treatment of mild to moderate migraine without severe nausea or vomiting. A triptan is the drug of choice for treatment of moderate to severe migraine. Use of a triptan early in an attack when pain is still mild to moderate in intensity improves headache response and reduces recurrence rates.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • January 16, 2017 (Issue 1512)
The goal of drug therapy for type 2 diabetes is to achieve and maintain a near-normal glycated hemoglobin (A1C) concentration without inducing hypoglycemia; the target is generally an A1C of ≤7%. Treating to this target has been shown to prevent microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy), but whether it prevents macrovascular outcomes is unclear. An A1C target of <8% may be appropriate for older patients and those with underlying cardiovascular disease, a history of severe hypoglycemia, diabetes-related complications or comorbidities, or a long duration of disease.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • March 13, 2017 (Issue 1516)
in the US and their dosages, adverse effects, and costs are listed in the tables. Treatment of hypertensive urgencies and emergencies is not discussed here.
With the widespread adoption of the CHA2DS2-VASc scoring system, oral anticoagulation therapy is now recommended for all patients ≥75 years old with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation has, however, been associated with an increased risk of falls, and older patients starting warfarin for atrial fibrillation have a high rate of hospitalization for intracranial bleeding. Many practitioners are reluctant, therefore, to prescribe an oral anticoagulant for elderly patients who are at high risk for falls.
The FDA has approved lixisenatide (Sanofi), a short-acting injectable GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist, for once-daily treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes, both alone (Adlyxin) and in a fixed-ratio combination with insulin glargine (Soliqua 100/33). Lixisenatide has been available since 2013 in many other countries as Lyxumia. It is the fifth GLP-1 receptor agonist to be approved in the US.
The results of a recently published study suggest that taking the oral direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa) with either simvastatin (Zocor, and others) or lovastatin (Altoprev, and others) increases the risk of major hemorrhage.
View the Comparison Chart of SGLT2 Inhibitors
The FDA has approved the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda – Merck), a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) inhibitor, for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that highly expresses programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and has no epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) translocations. About 25% of patients with advanced NSCLC have tumors with high levels of PD-L1 expression (PD-L1 expressed on ≥50% of tumor cells). Pembrolizumab was approved earlier for treatment of metastatic NSCLC with PD-L1 expression ≥1% that progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy.
The antiplatelet drug clopidogrel (Plavix, and others) reduces major cardiovascular events, but can cause bleeding. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are often used with clopidogrel to prevent gastrointestinal bleeding, however, some evidence suggests that PPIs may interfere with the activation of clopidogrel and diminish its antiplatelet effect. FDA-approved labeling recommends avoiding concurrent use of the PPIs omeprazole and esomeprazole with clopidogrel.