PHARMACY

FDA approves Eisai’s Fycompa for epilepsy

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for epilepsy, the agency said Monday.

The FDA announced the approval of Eisai’s Fycompa (perampanel) tablets to treat partial-onset seizures in patients ages 12 years and older. Partial seizures are the most common type seen in people with epilepsy, according to the FDA.

"Some people with epilepsy do not achieve satisfactory seizure control from treatments they are currently using," FDA Division of Neurology Products director Russell Katz said. "It is important to have a variety of treatment options available for patients with epilepsy."


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J&J drug appears more effective in ulcerative colitis patients than placebo, according to study

BY Alaric DeArment

LAS VEGAS — More patients with an inflammatory disease of the bowels responded to a drug used for autoimmune disorders than those taking a placebo, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Monday.

Johnson & Johnson said phase-3 trial findings showed that "significantly" more patients with severely active ulcerative colitis responded to Simponi (golimumab), maintaining their responsiveness to the drug through the 54th week. The drug is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

The study program enrolled 1,228 patients who received induction therapy with injections of Simponi or placebo. The study indicated that 47% of patients receiving 50 mg of Simponi and 51% of those receiving 100 mg of the drug responded to therapy, compared with 31% of those receiving placebo.


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Walgreens celebrates pharmacists during American Pharmacists Month

BY Antoinette Alexander

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Recognizing the important role its community pharmacy team plays in helping people get, stay and live well, Walgreens is celebrating its more than 27,000 pharmacists and their commitment to patient care in communities nationwide during American Pharmacists Month.

“Our pharmacists are playing a more prominent role in health care, and we continue to find new and innovative ways to meet the changing needs of patients and communities by advancing community pharmacy,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “Each day, our pharmacists share valuable information, advice and support, and by spending more time with patients, we’re providing personalized care that helps our customers get, stay and live well.”

In 2009, Walgreens launched the largest flu prevention initiative in the company’s history, making immunizations available at all of its pharmacies in 50 states — an idea initially sparked by a pharmacist in Colorado.

Today, with more than 27,000 certified immunizing pharmacists companywide, Walgreens is the largest provider of flu shots in the United States outside of the federal government. Walgreens’ immunization program has also expanded to offer all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccines in dozens of states, all of those in which pharmacists have privilege to administer. The program has helped demonstrate improvements in immunization rates through greater access to these and other services.

This year, Walgreens launched a number of community-focused initiatives targeting various health conditions. Through these programs, pharmacists play an active role in explaining the importance of early detection, adherence and prevention:

  • Well Experience Store Format: As part of this new format focused on transforming the traditional drugstore to a health and daily living destination, pharmacists are now in front of the pharmacy to answer questions, provide additional retail clinical services and encourage patients to seek consultation about their medications;
  • Find Your Pharmacist search tool: Gives people a new and innovative way to select a Walgreens pharmacist by matching their healthcare needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists;
  • HIV/AIDS Services: Two public-private initiatives with CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focused on reducing stigma around HIV testing and medication therapy management; and
  • Continued support surrounding diabetes awareness, blood pressure testing and smoking cessation. Pharmacy teams also offer assistance to Medicare beneficiaries during with the annual election period, providing free plan reviews daily.

National Pharmacy Technician Day Oct. 23

October is also a time to thank and recognize pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns for the value they bring to communities and to the profession on National Pharmacy Technician Day Oct. 23. Walgreens has more than 36,000 pharmacy technicians.

“As we continue to play a greater role in health care, we’re proud to say that, thanks to our pharmacy team members, we’re able to provide our patients and customers with better access to quality care in order to lower overall healthcare costs,” added Crawford.
 

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