The Medical Letter - 2003
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Year:    Publication:     
January 6, 2003 (Issue 1147)  
  • Smallpox Vaccine   
    Because of concerns about the possibility of bioterrorism involving smallpox, the US government is reinstituting smallpox vaccination (https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/; www.idsociety.org/bt/toc.htm)....
  • OTC loratadine (Claritin)   
    The FDA has approved the marketing of loratadine (Claritin - Schering), a second-generation H1-antihistamine, without a prescription. The drug was also recently approved for OTC...
January 20, 2003 (Issue 1148)  
  • Augmentin XR   
    Augmentin XR (GlaxoSmithKline), an oral extended-release combination of amoxicillin and the beta-lactamase inhibitor clavulanic acid, is now being promoted for treatment of acute bacterial...
  • Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) for Advanced Colon Cancer   
    Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin -Sanofi-Synthelabo) has been approved by the FDA for use in combination with fluorouracil (5-FU; Adrucil, and others) and leucovorin (LV; Wellcovorin) for...
  • Smallpox Vaccination - Clarification   
    The single sentence on vaccination site care in our recent article on Smallpox Vaccination (Vol. 45, page 2) needs clarification. In the past, the vaccination site was generally left uncovered, but...
February 3, 2003 (Issue 1149)  
  • Teriparatide (Forteo) for Osteoporosis   
    Teriparatide (ter i par' a tide; Forteo - Lilly), a recombinant segment of human parathyroid hormone, has been approved by the FDA for parenteral treatment of osteoporosis in post-menopausal...
  • Atomoxetine (Strattera) for ADHD   
    Atomoxetine (Strattera - Lilly) is the first non-stimulant drug to be approved by the FDA for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unlike other drugs approved for use...
February 17, 2003 (Issue 1150)  
March 3, 2003 (Issue 1151)  
March 17, 2003 (Issue 1152)  
March 31, 2003 (Issue 1153)  
April 14, 2003 (Issue 1154)  
April 28, 2003 (Issue 1155)  
May 12, 2003 (Issue 1156)  
May 26, 2003 (Issue 1157)  
  • Insect Repellents   
    Superseded by The Medical Letter "Insect Repellents" - Issue 1579, August 26, 2019Insect repellents have been used on the skin for many years, primarily to prevent mosquito bites, which...
  • Ophthalmic Cyclosporine (Restasis) for Dry Eyes   
    A cyclosporine 0.05% ophthalmic emulsion (Restasis - Allergan) has been approved by the FDA for use in patients with dry eye disease (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). This review begins with a...
  • Xanax XR for Panic Disorder   
    The FDA has approved an extended-release (XR) formulation of the benzodiazepine alprazolam (Xanax XR - Pfizer) for treatment of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia. The new...
June 8, 2003 (Issue 1158)  
  • Antioxidant Vitamins and Zinc for Macular Degeneration   
    High doses of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc oxide are now being promoted to the general public to "preserve eye health" (Ocuvite PreserVision), "promote retinal and visual...
  • Drug Interactions   
    Changes caused by one drug in the absorption, distribution, metabolism or excretion of another may lead to a pharmacokinetic adverse drug interaction (DN Juurlink et al, JAMA 2003; 289:1652)....
June 23, 2003 (Issue 1159)  
  • Enfuvirtide (Fuzeon) for HIV infection   
    Enfuvirtide (T-20; Fuzeon Trimeris/Roche), the first in a new class of HIV drugs known as fusion inhibitors, has received accelerated approval from the FDA for use with other antiretrovirals...
  • Blue light (ClearLight) for Acne Vulgaris    
    A high-intensity, narrow-band blue light (ClearLight -Lumenis) approved by the FDA for treatment of moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris has been featured in some stories in fashion magazines....
  • Prilosec, Nexium and Stereoisomers   
    Recently pharmaceutical manufacturers have marketed a stereoisomer of a successful drug nearing patent expiration as a new drug. Examples, such as esomeprazole (Nexium) , levalbuterol (Xopenex),...
July 7, 2003 (Issue 1160)  
  • Are SSRIs Safe for Children?   
    A "Dear Colleague" letter from the UK's Committee on Safety of Medicines advised physicians, on the basis of unpublished data, not to use paroxetine (Paxil in the US; Seroxat in the UK) to treat...
  • Rapid Tests for HIV Infection   
    Testing for HIV infection in the US typically has been a two-step process that requires patients to return for results. This review describes two rapid tests currently FDA-approved, OraQuick and...
  • Pegvisomant (Somavert) for Acromegaly   
    The FDA has approved pegvisomant (Somavert Pfizer), a growth hormone receptor antagonist, for parenteral treatment of acromegaly in patients who are not candidates for or have had an inadequate...
July 21, 2003 (Issue 1161)  
August 4, 2003 (Issue 1162)  
August 19, 2003 (Issue 1163)  
September 1, 2003 (Issue 1164)  
September 15, 2003 (Issue 1165)  
  • Memantine for Alzheimer's Disease   
    Memantine hydrochloride, which has been used to treat dementia in Germany (Axura Merz) since 1982, has become the latest word-of-mouth miracle drug for Alzheimer's disease in the US (G...
  • Agalsidase beta (Fabrazyme) for Fabry Disease   
    Agalsidase beta (Fabrazyme Genzyme) has received accelerated approval from the FDA for treatment of patients with Fabry disease, an inherited lysosomal storage disease caused by deficiency...
  • Azelaic Acid (Finacea) for Rosacea   
    Azelaic acid 15% gel (Finacea Berlex) is now available in the US for treatment of mild to moderate rosacea. A 20% cream formulation of the drug (Azelex Allergan; Medical Letter 1996;...
September 29, 2003 (Issue 1166)  
  • Vardenafil (Levitra) for Erectile Dysfunction   
    Vardenafil (Levitra -Bayer) is the second oral drug approved by the FDA for treatment of erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil (Viagra - Medical Letter 1998; 40:51), the first oral drug, has been...
  • Influenza Prevention 2003-2004   
    Superseded by The Medical Letter "Influenza Vaccine for 2019-2020" - Issue 1583, October 21, 2019Unlike the last few years there is no early-season shortage of influenza vaccine. Immunization...
October 13, 2003 (Issue 1167)  
October 27, 2003 (Issue 1168)  
November 10, 2003 (Issue 1169)  
November 24, 2003 (Issue 1170)  
  • Which SSRI?   
    Five different selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are promoted for treatment of depression and a sixth (fluvoxamine) for use in obsessive compulsive disorder. Which one should we...
  • Tattoo Removal   
    While more people than ever are getting tattoos, many come to regret their decision and would like to have them removed. The technology of removing tattoos is much better than it used to be, but...
December 8, 2003 (Issue 1171)  
December 22, 2003 (Issue 1172)  
  • Tadalafil (Cialis) for Erectile Dysfunction   
    Tadalafil (Cialis - Lilly Icos) is the third oral drug to be approved by the FDA for treatment of erectile dysfunction. It has a longer duration of action than sildenafil (Viagra) or...
  • Choice of an Antipsychotic   
    A recent supplement to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, titled "The Expert Consensus Guideline Series: Optimizing Pharmacologic Treatment of Psychotic Disorders," concluded that most...