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The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • October 18, 2021 (Issue 1635)
On September 22, on the advice of its Vaccines and Related Biologic Products Advisory Committee, the FDA expanded the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) to include administration of a booster dose ≥6 months after a 2-dose primary series in adults who are ≥65 years old or at high risk for severe COVID-19 because of an underlying...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • October 4, 2021 (Issue 1634)
Annual vaccination against influenza A and B viruses is recommended for everyone ≥6 months old without a contraindication.1 Available influenza vaccines for the 2021-2022 season are listed in Table 2.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • October 4, 2021 (Issue 1634)
Insulin glargine-yfgn (Semglee – Viatris), a follow-on insulin glargine product, has now received interchangeability status with the reference product Lantus from the FDA. It is the first biosimilar insulin product to receive this designation in the US. Now a pharmacist can substitute Semglee for Lantus as a lower-cost alternative without permission from the prescriber...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • October 4, 2021 (Issue 1634)
The FDA has required updates to the boxed warnings in the labeling of the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors tofacitinib (Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR), baricitinib (Olumiant), and upadacitinib (Rinvoq) describing increased risks of major adverse cardiovascular events, malignancy, thrombosis, and death with their use. The new warnings were prompted by the results of a postmarketing safety...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • October 4, 2021 (Issue )
Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have announced that they will submit an application to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their investigational oral antiviral drug molnupiravir for treatment of COVID-19. If the EUA is granted, molnupiravir would be the first oral antiviral drug to be authorized in the US for treatment of COVID-19. The IV antiviral drug remdesivir (Veklury)...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • September 23, 2021 (Issue )
The sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor empagliflozin (Jardiance – Boehringer Ingelheim) has been approved by the FDA for a third indication: to reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure (HF) and cardiovascular death in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), with or without type 2 diabetes. The SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin (Farxiga...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • September 20, 2021 (Issue 1633)
The FDA has expanded the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) to include administration of a third dose in persons ≥12 years old (Pfizer/BioNTech) or ≥18 years old (Moderna) who have undergone solid organ transplantation or have a condition that compromises the immune system to a...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • September 20, 2021 (Issue 1633)
The FDA has approved a higher-dose intranasal naloxone formulation (Kloxxado – Hikma) for emergency treatment of opioid overdose. A single spray of the new formulation delivers 8 mg of naloxone; a formulation that delivers 4 mg per spray (Narcan) was approved in 2015.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • August 23, 2021 (Issue 1631)
In a clinical trial conducted by the CDC's Tuberculosis Trials Consortium in collaboration with the NIH-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group, a new 4-month regimen for treatment of drug-susceptible pulmonary tuberculosis was found to be noninferior to 6 months of standard treatment.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • August 23, 2021 (Issue 1631)
The FDA has licensed the adjuvanted, recombinant varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine Shingrix (GSK) for prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in adults of any age who are or will be at elevated risk because of disease- or therapy-induced immunodeficiency or immunosuppression. Shingrix has been licensed for herpes zoster prevention in adults ≥50 years old since 2017.1 It is the...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • August 23, 2021 (Issue 1631)
The investigational monoclonal antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab (REGEN-COV – Regeneron) have been available in the US under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) since late 2020 for use together to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in persons ≥12 years old who weigh ≥40 kg and are at high risk of progression to severe disease or hospitalization. The FDA has now expanded this EUA to allow...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • August 23, 2021 (Issue 1631)
The FDA has approved Kimyrsa (Melinta), a new IV formulation of the long-acting lipoglycopeptide antibiotic oritavancin, for treatment of adults with acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections caused by susceptible gram-positive bacteria. Orbactiv (Melinta), another IV formulation of oritavancin, was approved in 2014 for the same indication. Kimyrsa has a smaller...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • August 9, 2021 (Issue 1630)
On July 12, 2021, the FDA added a warning to the Fact Sheet for the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine about an increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) following administration of the product.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • July 26, 2021 (Issue 1629)
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is associated with sunburn, photoaging, and skin cancer. Sunscreens are widely used to reduce these risks, but questions remain about their effectiveness and safety. The FDA has issued a proposed rule that would require manufacturers to perform additional safety studies for some sunscreen active ingredients and would mandate better UVA protection...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • July 26, 2021 (Issue 1629)
The interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist tocilizumab (Actemra – Genentech) has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for IV treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients ≥2 years old who are receiving a systemic corticosteroid and require supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Tocilizumab has been approved by...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • July 26, 2021 (Issue 1629)
The sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor dapagliflozin (Farxiga – AstraZeneca) has been approved by the FDA for treatment of adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) at risk of progression (not defined in the label). Dapagliflozin is the first SGLT2 inhibitor to be approved in the US for treatment of CKD.
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • July 26, 2021 (Issue 1629)
In June 2021, the FDA approved the IV amyloid beta-directed monoclonal antibody aducanumab (Aduhelm) for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The approval did not restrict use of the drug to patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia, which was the population enrolled in the clinical trials. Now, Biogen, with the permission of the FDA, has made an addition to the labeling of the...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • July 26, 2021 (Issue 1629)
Risdiplam (Evrysdi – Genentech), a survival of motor neuron 2 (SMN2) splicing modifier, has been approved by the FDA for oral treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in patients ≥2 months old. It is the first oral drug to be approved in the US for treatment of SMA; nusinersen (Spinraza), an intrathecally administered SMN2-directed antisense oligonucleotide, and onasemnogene...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • July 12, 2021 (Issue 1628)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend using insect repellents to prevent infections transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks. Insect repellents applied to exposed skin should be used in conjunction with other preventive measures such as wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts and avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito-...
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics • June 28, 2021 (Issue 1627)
The investigational monoclonal antibody sotrovimab (VIR-7831; GSK/Vir Biotechnology) has been granted an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients ≥12 years old who weigh ≥40 kg and are at high risk of progressing to severe disease, including hospitalization and death.1 Two other monoclonal antibody regimens are authorized for the same...