PHARMACY

Labopharm’s Oleptro approved by FDA

BY Alaric DeArment

LAVAL, Quebec The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating major depressive disorder in adults.

Labopharm announced Wednesday the approval of Oleptro (trazodone hydrochloride) extended-release tablets. The drug is the second approved by the FDA to use Labopharm’s Contramid controlled-release technology, the first being the pain drug Ryzolt (tramadol hydrochloride), which the FDA approved in December 2008.

“We are excited about the opportunity for Oleptro and are preparing the product for launch into the $11 billion-plus U.S. antidepressant market,” Labopharm president James Howard-Tripp stated.

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PHARMACY

WellCare Today tackles medication adherence with HealthAssist

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. A company that develops applications for smartphones has launched a new one that it hopes will help tackle a problem that costs the country billions of dollars a year.

WellCare Today announced Tuesday the launch of HealthAssist, an application for medication adherence and health management available for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. The application is available for free from Apple’s app store.

The program includes features such as a scheduled text reminder for each medication a user takes, refill alerts, news alerts and a storage system for electronic medical records.

Medication non-adherence costs the U.S. economy $100 billion and claims 125,000 a year, and according to the New England Healthcare Institute, one-third to half of all patients don’t take their medications properly.

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King Pharmaceuticals launches PainBalance

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. A drug maker has launched a Web-based educational resource for healthcare professionals and others who provide care for patients with pain.

King Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday the launch of PainBalance, which provides information, tools and other resources, centered around a Web site, www.painbalance.com.

Around 50 million Americans live with chronic pain, and uncontrolled pain costs an estimated $100 billion in the United States each year.

“Patients with chronic pain often needlessly suffer because they are not getting appropriate treatment,” said Lynn Webster, co-founder and medical director of Salt Lake City-based Lifetree Clinical Research. “It is time to change that by helping healthcare professionals better understand the proper pain management that can allow more patients to enjoy quality, pain-free lives.”

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