PHARMACY

Study finds Januvia use could help prevent diabetes

BY Alaric DeArment

CLEVELAND — A drug used to treat diabetes also may prevent it, according to a new study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University took specially bred obese, prediabetic rats and gave them either Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin), placebo or glyburide, an older diabetes drug. Both of the diabetes drugs lowered blood-glucose levels after the rats had eaten, but only Junuvia raised the total output of insulin by the pancreas while lowering levels of glucagon.

“These animal studies suggest that sitagliptin should be tested in the clinic as a possible diabetes-preventing medication,” study leader Paul Ernsberger said. “It may act to shore up the function of the pancreas, which deteriorates during the onset of diabetes.”

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Assured Pharmacy reports January same-store sales

BY Allison Cerra

FRISCO, Texas — Specialty pharmacy group Assured Pharmacy said that same-store sales for January totaled $1.42 million, a 28.5% increase over the year-ago period.

Compared with December 2010 sales, however, January same-store sales decreased 5.6% from sales of about $1.5 million. The revenue drop, Assured said, was due to "seasonality," noting that many patients experienced insurance carrier and coverage changes.

"We are pleased with our strong year-over-year sales growth for the month [of] January. The results reflect continued progress in the implementation of our strategies," said Robert DelVecchio, Assured Pharmacy CEO.

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FDA OKs continued compounding of versions of Makena

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Usually, when the Food and Drug Administration approves a commercial version of a drug, it prohibits compounding pharmacies from producing it, but it’s making an exception in the case of a drug used to prevent premature births.

In February, the FDA approved KV Pharmaceuticals’ Makena (hydroxyprogesterone caproate), an injectable drug widely available in compounding pharmacies. But with Makena costing $1,500 per dose — compared with $10 to $20 for compounded versions of hydroxyprogesterone caproate, also known as 17P — the FDA is permitting compounding pharmacies to continue preparing and dispensing the treatment.

KV had sent letters to pharmacists saying that the FDA no longer would allow them to make compounded versions of 17P, though the FDA said this was not correct.

“We applaud the FDA’s decision,” said George Malmberg, president and CEO of Wedgewood Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy based in Swedesboro, N.J. “As compounding pharmacy specialists, we have provided physicians and their patients with the compounded version of 17P for many years. Like all concerned, we are committed to making sure that patients at risk have access to this life-saving medication.”

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine praised the FDA’s decision as well. “This action will ensure that this life-saving treatment will continue to be available for all those who need it,” SMFM president George Saade said. “Affordable access to hydroxyprogesterone caproate is critical to ensuring the health and full-term birth of babies in the [United States].”

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