PHARMACY

NIH asthma panel creates new guidelines stressing prevention, regular monitoring

BY Adam Kraemer

WASHINGTON An asthma panel convened by the National Institutes of Health released new guidelines Wednesday, including recommendations that asthma should be controlled on a daily basis and not simply treated during attacks, according to USA Today.

The guidelines, created by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, also recommend treatment differences for three age groups—0-4, 5-11 and 12 and older—whereas the NIH only previously recognized two. Panel member Robert Lemanske of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, stated that studies now show children under 12 are best treated with low-dose inhaled corticosteroids rather than drug combinations more effective in older children and adults.

“What’s new is the emphasis on prevention,” says Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. “In the past, physicians might have waited until symptoms were very severe before intervening.”

A greater emphasis is also being placed on monitoring the disease, rather than just treating it. The guidelines recommend that doctors routinely test lung function and assess each patient’s needs on a unique basis. Anyone treating the patients should also make certain that they know how to use their medication and devices. “Probably one of the most important things,” Lemanske said, “is to see patients on a regular basis, not just when they’re sick, but when they’re doing OK.” This will enable health care professionals to track the severity of the symptoms over time.

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Scientists show correlation between statins and Alzheimer’s treatments

BY Drew Buono

HASBRUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. Scientists have found proof showing an association between statin use and neuropathologic changes in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was recently published in a brain disease report conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound.

Nymox Pharmaceuticals holds the worldwide patent for the use of statin drugs for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s. The global market for statins exceeds over $25 billion. Alzheimer’s currently affects more than 4.5 million people in the United States, according to government estimates.

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PDL to sell rights to drugs, cut related jobs

BY Drew Buono

FREMONT, Calif. PDL BioPharma will sell the rights to four of its drugs and cut at least 250 jobs as the company moves it focus away from cardiovascular drugs to oncology and select immunological diseases.

The four drugs to be sold are Cardene, Ularitide, Retavase and IV Busulfex. The drugs produced $187.2 in revenue in the year ending June 30. The 250 jobs would be eliminated as a result of selling the drugs, but more job cuts could be expected as the company shifts its focus to diseases like multiple sclerosis.

The company has been under fire recently by its shareholders for keeping Mark McDade as chief executive officer even though he moved the company to a more expensive location and for being in charge while the company missed earnings and sales projections.

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