PHARMACY

Merck revises labels for 16 drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved changes to the labels of several drugs made by Merck, the agency said Friday.

Merck’s Label Standardization Project includes the revision of 34 container labels for 16 drugs, all orally administered pills. These include the cardiovascular drugs Cozaar (losartan) and Hyzaar (losartan and hydrochlorothiazide), the diabetes drugs Januvia (sitagliptin) and Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin), the allergy and asthma drug Singulair (montelukast), the HIV drug Isentress (raltegravir) and others.

“We commend Merck for their efforts,” FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. “This was no small undertaking, and we are hopeful that Merck’s new standardized labels will aid in reducing pharmacy selection errors.”

The project included evaluating proposed label content and layout, selecting new packaging design and getting approval from the FDA.

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PHARMACY

Study finds possible link between ADT, diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

BOSTON — Men with prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing diabetes or diabetes risk factors if they receive a therapy designed to block the production of testosterone, a new study has suggested.

According to research presented at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston, androgen deprivation therapy, which blocks the male hormone that can boost the growth of prostate cancer, may increase the chance of diabetes and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of metabolic risk factors that increase the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke — among men.

In the study, lead author Maria Luisa Cecilia Rivera-Arkoncel, a fellow at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Philippines, and colleagues compared 38 men with prostate cancer who received ADT and 36 men with less advanced prostate cancer who did not receive hormonal therapy, all of whom received treatment between 2004 and 2010.

What the researchers found was that the prevalence of diabetes was 42% in the ADT group and 19% in the non-ADT group. What’s more, the group receiving ADT had a higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome than the non-ADT group did — 37% vs. 28%, respectively.

"An increased risk of diabetes with ADT has not previously been demonstrated in the Filipino population, which already has a high prevalence of diabetes," Rivera-Arkoncel said, who noted that the study suggested but cannot prove that ADT is the cause of diabetes among men that receive this treatment.

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PHARMACY

Abbott celebrates 350th consecutive quarterly dividend

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Abbott has delivered quarterly dividends for more than 300 consecutive quarters as of Friday, the drug maker said.

Abbott, based in the Chicago area, declared a quarterly common dividend of 48 cents per share, marking the 350th consecutive quarterly dividend to be paid since 1924.

The company said only 1% of companies listed on the S&P 500 Index, of which Abbott is one, had delivered a comparable number of consecutive annual increases and payments.

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