The Medical Letter - 2012
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Year:    Publication:      2012 Annual Index: U.S. English | Canadian English
January 9, 2012 (Issue 1381)  
January 23, 2012 (Issue 1382)  
  • In Brief: Aliskiren Trial Terminated
    A randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the addition of the direct renin inhibitor aliskiren (Tekturna – Novartis) to an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or...
  • Epidural Corticosteroid Injections for Lumbar and Cervical Radiculopathy
    For patients with radicular pain unresponsive to conservative treatment after 1-2 months and no progressive neurologic deficit, epidural corticosteroid injections are often tried before surgical...
  • Beta-Adrenergic Blockers and Breast Cancer
    Three retrospective studies have recently reported an association between beta-blocker use and a reduction in breast cancer metastasis and recurrence. No prospective, randomized trials have been...
  • Intranasal Ketorolac (Sprix)
    An intranasal formulation of ketorolac tromethamine (Sprix – Lutipold) has been approved by the FDA for short-term (up to 5 days) treatment of moderate to moderately severe pain in...
February 6, 2012 (Issue 1383)  
February 20, 2012 (Issue 1384)  
  • Salt Restriction
    The average daily intake of sodium in the US is about 3400 mg. Dietary guidelines recommend reducing it to 50 years old. Salt reduction lowers blood pressure, and lowering blood pressure reduces...
  • Zolpidem Oral Spray (Zolpimist) for Insomnia
    Zolpidem oral spray (Zolpimist – NovaDel/ECR), a new formulation of the oral hypnotic zolpidem tartrate (Ambien, and others), has been approved by the FDA for short-term treatment...
  • Deferiprone (Ferriprox) for Iron Overload
    The FDA has approved deferiprone (de fer’ i prone; Ferriprox – ApoPharma), an oral chelating agent available in Europe since 1999, for use as a second-line treatment of iron overload...
  • In Brief: 5-HTP for Depression
    A Medical Letter reader asked about the use of the nutritional supplement 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) for treatment of depression. It is sold in health food stores, pharmacies and on-line for many...
March 5, 2012 (Issue 1385)  
March 19, 2012 (Issue 1386)  
  • Statin Label Changes
    Citing some recent reports, the FDA has announced changes in the safety labeling of all HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins).
  • Extended-Release Exenatide (Bydureon) for Type 2 Diabetes
    The FDA has approved a once-weekly extendedrelease formulation of exenatide (Bydureon – Amylin), an injectable glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, for treatment of type 2...
  • Nitroglycerin Ointment (Rectiv) for Anal Fissure
    The FDA has approved the use of nitroglycerin ointment 0.4% (Rectiv – ProStrakan/Aptalis) for treatment of moderate to severe pain associated with chronic anal fissure; the same drug is...
  • Clarification: Vitamin E
    The recent Medical Letter article on vitamin supplements1 included 2 sentences on vitamin E that could be misleading. "Vitamin E in food, which is mostly gamma-tocopherol, acts as an antioxidant....
April 2, 2012 (Issue 1387)  
April 16, 2012 (Issue 1388)  
April 30, 2012 (Issue 1389)  
  • In Brief: Warning about Drospirenone in Oral Contraceptives
    The FDA has announced that combination hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) containing the synthetic progestin drospirenone (Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, Safyral, and others) may be associated with a...
  • Indacaterol (Arcapta Neohaler) for COPD
    The FDA has approved indacaterol (in´´ da ka´ ter ol; Arcapta Neohaler – Novartis), an inhaled long-acting beta2-agonist, for once-daily maintenance treatment of airflow...
  • Ingenol Mebutate (Picato) for Actinic Keratoses
    The FDA has approved ingenol mebutate (Picato – Leo) for topical treatment of actinic keratoses (AKs). The new drug is derived from the sap of the Euphorbia peplus plant, a...
  • Correction: Tafluprost (Zioptan)
    (The Medical Letter 2012; 54:31) In Table 1 on page 31, the formulation column should have included a 0.01% solution of bimatoprost. The size, daily dosage and cost of 0.01% bimatoprost are the same...
May 14, 2012 (Issue 1390)  
May 28, 2012 (Issue 1391)  
  • Drugs for Menopausal Symptoms
    Superseded by The Medical Letter "Drugs for Menopausal Symptoms" - Issue 1507, November 7, 2016The primary symptoms of menopause are vasomotor and genitourinary. Vasomotor symptoms ("hot...
  • Choice of Drugs for Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia
    A reader has asked us to review the choice of drugs for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), a prothrombotic state with high morbidity and mortality. Three recent publications have made...
June 11, 2012 (Issue 1392)  
  • In Brief: Safety of Azithromycin
    Recently published results of a large, carefully conducted retrospective study indicated that use of the antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax, and others) may increase the risk of...
  • Peginesatide (Omontys) for Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease
    The FDA has approved the erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) peginesatide (Omontys – Affymax/Takeda), a synthetic peptide analog of erythropoietin, for treatment of anemia in patients...
  • Mifepristone (Korlym) for Cushing's Syndrome
    The FDA has approved the antiprogestin mifepristone (Korlym – Corcept Therapeutics) for control of hyperglycemia secondary to hypercortisolism in adults with endogenous Cushing’s...
  • Axitinib (Inlyta) for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma
    Axitinib (Inlyta – Pfizer), an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has been approved by the FDA for treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma after failure of one prior systemic therapy. It...
June 25, 2012 (Issue 1393)  
  • Bisphosphonates - Duration of Use Revisited
    Long-term use of bisphosphonates for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis has been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw, atypical fractures of the femur, and possibly esophageal cancer....
  • Intraosseous Infusion for Rapid Vascular Access
    The intramedullary venous plexus of cancellous bone marrow does not collapse in patients who are dehydrated or in shock. Intraosseous (IO) infusion through an intramedullary cannula has...
  • A New Scorpion Antivenom
    Anascorp (Rare Disease Therapeutics), an intravenously administered antivenom derived from horse serum, has been approved by the FDA for treatment of clinical signs of scorpion...
  • In Brief: Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Osteoporotic Fractures
    The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a Draft Recommendation Statement saying, in effect, that community-dwelling women and men should not take calcium and vitamin D supplements...
July 9, 2012 (Issue 1394)  
  • Vismodegib (Erivedge) for Basal Cell Carcinoma
    The FDA has approved vismodegib (vis moe deg´ ib; Erivedge – Genentech), the first hedgehog (Hh) pathway inhibitor, for oral treatment of metastatic basal cell cancer, locally advanced...
  • An Imaging Agent for Amyloid
    The FDA has approved florbetapir F18 (flor bay´ ta pir; Amyvid – Lilly), an intravenous radioactive diagnostic agent used with positron emission tomography (PET) scans, to estimate...
  • Renal Sympathetic Denervation for Hypertension
    Renal sympathetic denervation is under investigation as a therapeutic option for hypertension that has not responded to ≥3 antihypertensive drugs (resistant hypertension).
  • In Brief: Taliglucerase (Elelyso) for Gaucher Disease
    The FDA has approved taliglucerase alfa (ta lee gloo´ se rays; Elelyso – Pfizer/Protalix), a recombinant form of glucocerebrosidase, for treatment of adults with Type 1 Gaucher disease....
  • Addendum: Transdermal Estrogen
    A reader commented that our recent article on treatment of menopausal symptoms (Med Lett Drugs Ther 2012; 54:41) should have mentioned the potential advantages of transdermal estrogen. Transdermal...
July 23, 2012 (Issue 1395)  
August 6, 2012 (Issue 1396)  
  • PSA Reconsidered
    Three recent publications have focused attention once more on the contentious question of whether men should be screened for prostate cancer by measuring serum concentrations of prostate specific...
  • Ivermectin (Sklice) Topical Lotion for Head Lice
    The FDA has approved the antiparasitic drug ivermectin in a 0.5% lotion (Sklice – Sanofi Pasteur) as a single-use topical treatment for head lice in patients ≥6 months old. Oral...
  • Tablet Splitting
    Breaking drug tablets in half is a common practice. Since our last article on this subject, some new data have become available.
  • In Brief: Truvada for HIV Prevention
    Truvada (Gilead), an oral fixed-dose combination of the antiretrovirals emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate frequently used for treatment of HIV infection,1 has now also been...
  • Addendum: What Comes After Metformin for Type 2 Diabetes?
    Several readers have raised questions about the statement in our recent article (Med Lett Drugs Ther 2012; 54:58) that long-acting insulins, like metformin and sulfonylureas, have been shown to...
August 20, 2012 (Issue 1397)  
  • Ezogabine (Potiga) for Epilepsy
    The FDA has approved ezogabine (ee-ZOE-ga-been; Potiga – GSK/Valeant) for oral adjunctive treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults. Ezogabine is available in Europe as retigabine...
  • Prosthetic Heart Valves
    Prosthetic heart valves have been used effectively in patients with mitral and aortic valvular heart disease for more than 50 years, but no replacement valve developed to date is suitable for all...
  • Addendum: Cost of Drugs for Acute Cystitis
    A reader suggested that our July 23 article on Drugs for Urinary Tract Infection (Med Lett Drugs Ther 2012; 54:57)1 should have included information on the cost of the drugs we...
  • In Brief: Transdermal Rotigotine (Neupro)
    A patch formulation of the non-ergot dopamine agonist rotigotine (Neupro – UCB) has returned to the US market after a 4-year absence. Originally approved by the FDA in 2007 for treatment...
September 3, 2012 (Issue 1398)  
  • Two Drugs for Weight Loss
    In 2013 the FDA approved one new drug and a new combination of 2 old drugs as adjuncts to lifestyle changes for chronic weight management. Lorcaserin (lor-ca-SER-in; Belviq – Arena/Esai)...
  • Citalopram (Celexa) and QT Interval Prolongation
    The FDA has asked the manufacturers of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant citalopram (Celexa, and others) to revise the labeling of the drug to include new...
September 17, 2012 (Issue 1399)  
  • Prevention and Treatment of Pertussis
    The CDC has reported that many states are experiencing a higher-than-usual incidence of pertussis this year. The highest incidence has been in infants, but the disease has also occurred in older...
  • Endocarditis Prophylaxis for Dental Procedures
    Since 2007, antimicrobial prophylaxis for dental procedures has been recommended only for patients at highest risk of severe consequences from infective endocarditis. There is no indication that...
  • Insect Repellents
    Superseded by The Medical Letter "Insect Repellents" - Issue 1498, July 4, 2016The CDC has received a record number of reports of West Nile virus infection this year – 1993 as...
  • Correction: Two New Drugs for Weight Loss
    (Med Lett Drugs Ther 2012; 54:69) On page 71 in the "Drug Interactions" paragraph, the last sentence should read: "Phentermine is contraindicated while taking, and for 14 days after stopping, a...
October 1, 2012 (Issue 1400)  
  • Influenza Vaccine for 2012-2013
    Superseded by The Medical Letter "Influenza Vaccine for 2018-2019" - Issue 1558, October 22, 2018Annual vaccination against influenza A and B viruses is the most effective method of...
  • Choice of an Oral Anticoagulant in Atrial Fibrillation
    Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of thromboembolic stroke. Anticoagulant therapy can reduce this risk and is recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation and one or more of the...
October 15, 2012 (Issue 1401)  
October 29, 2012 (Issue 1402)  
November 12, 2012 (Issue 1403)  
  • New Drugs for Multiple Sclerosis
    In recent years, several new drugs have been approved by the FDA for use in multiple sclerosis (MS), and many others are in the pipeline. Most recently, teriflunomide (Aubagio – Genzyme)...
  • Linaclotide (Linzess) for Constipation
    Linaclotide (lin´´ a kloe´ tide; Linzess – Ironwood/Forest), a guanylate cyclase-C receptor agonist, was recently approved by the FDA for oral treatment of chronic...
November 26, 2012 (Issue 1404)  
  • Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation
    Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes, are battery-operated nicotine-delivery devices that resemble tobacco cigarettes. They deliver vapor containing a mixture of nicotine and either...
  • Delayed-Release Prednisone (Rayos)
    The FDA has approved a delayed-release oral formulation of prednisone (Rayos – Horizon Pharma). Rayos is not labeled for any specific indication, but the only published studies of...
  • A 4-Drug Combination (Stribild) for HIV
    The FDA has approved a fixed-dose combination of the integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) elvitegravir, the pharmacokinetic enhancer cobicistat, and the nucleoside/nucleotide reverse...
December 10, 2012 (Issue 1405)  
  • Antiviral Drugs for Influenza 2012-2013
    Superseded by The Medical Letter "Antiviral Drugs for Treatment and Prophylaxis of Seasonal Influenza" - Issue 1563, January 14, 2019Antiviral drugs can be used as an adjunct to vaccination...
  • Aclidinium Bromide (Tudorza Pressair) for COPD
    The FDA has approved aclidinium bromide (Tudorza Pressair – Forest), an orally-inhaled long-acting anticholinergic, for long-term maintenance treatment of bronchospasm associated with...
December 24, 2012 (Issue 1406)