Breaking News: Diabetes, specialty drugs continue to drive growth in drug spending

May 18, 2011

For the fourth consecutive year, diabetes therapy topped the list of contributors to drug use trends in therapeutic categories, contributing 16.1% to overall growth in drug spending in 2010 due to an increasing number of patients, according to the recently released 2011 Medco Drug Trend Report, which tracks utilization and spending.

Rheumatic disease patients may require 2 doses of flu vaccine

April 08, 2011

Patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease may need 2 doses of adjuvanted split influenza A vaccine to elicit the same antibody response as healthy individuals, reported a recent Swiss study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Variations in DMARD receipt exist in Medicare managed care patients with RA

February 18, 2011

An analysis of data from more than 90,000 Medicare managed care enrollees who received care for rheumatoid arthritis found that more than one-third did not receive the recommended treatment with a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, and that receipt varied by demographic factors, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and health plan, according to a study in JAMA.

Early rheumatoid arthritis treatment with rheumatologist improves disease outcomes

January 01, 2011

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who are seen by a rheumatologist within 12 weeks of symptom onset were likely to experience less joint destruction and have a higher chance of achieving disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug-free remission, according to a new study published December 2010 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Etanercept use associated with significant increases in height, weight, BMI in children with arthritis

January 01, 2011

Researchers from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have demonstrated that the tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitor etanercept is associated with significant increases in height, weight, and body mass index in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, according to a study recently published in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Denosumab superior to zoledronic acid in delaying skeletal-related side effects in breast cancer patients

January 01, 2011

A newly approved drug, denosumab (Xgeva, Amgen), delays skeletal-related side effects for 5 months longer compared to zoledronic acid (Zometa and Reclast, Novartis) in patients with breast cancer and bone metastases, according to phase 3 trial results presented at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, San Antonio, Texas.

Zoledronic acid (Reclast): Bisphosphonate approved for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women

July 01, 2009

New indication: Zoledronic acid (Reclast), a bisphosphonate, was approved on May 29, 2009, for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women

Golimumab associated with risk of serious fungal infections

June 15, 2009

Centocor Ortho Biotech has issued a Dear Healthcare Professionals letter to remind healthcare providers that golimumab (Simponi), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha blocker, is associated with a risk of serious fungal infections.

Osteoarthritis: A review of treatment options

May 01, 2009

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and the leading cause of disability in the United States, especially among older adults. This article reviews nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic approaches to management of OA of the knee and hip.

Anti-TNF-alpha monoclonal antibodies associated with increased risk of herpes zoster

March 01, 2009

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, investigators demonstrated an association between treatment with the anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) adalimumab and infliximab and risk of herpes zoster events in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Loop diuretics have mixed effects on fracture risk

February 17, 2009

In an analysis of fracture risk associated with loop diuretic use among postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study, investigators demonstrated no significant association between loop diuretic use and fractures or changes in bone mineral density (BMD). With prolonged use of loop diuretics, however, the risk of fracture was modestly increased.

Tibolone reduces fracture and breast CA risk, increases stroke risk

October 14, 2008

The Long-Term Intervention on Fractures with Tibolone (LIFT) study demonstrated a reduced risk of vertebral fracture, breast cancer, and possibly colon cancer but a significantly increased risk of stroke in older postmenopausal women treated with tibolone versus those treated with placebo.

Methotrexate plus etanercept effective in inducing clinical remission in patients with early moderate-to-severe RA

August 01, 2008

The first phase of a double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, multicenter, outpatient study demonstrated that treatment with the combination of etanercept and methotrexate was more effective in inducing both clinical remission and radiographic nonprogression than methotrexate alone in patients with early moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Tocilizumab: A humanized anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

August 01, 2008

Tocilizumab, an investigational agent for the treatment of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis, is a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody. Because tocilizumab contains a mouse monoclonal antibody grafted onto human immunoglobulin, the grafted antibody is less antigenic and has a longer half-life than the mouse antibody. When administered, tocilizumab inhibits IL-6 activity by competing for both the membrane-bound and soluble types of IL-6 receptors, thus eliminating IL-6 transduction into the cell.

Drug Watch: Agents in late-stage development for the treatment of adult and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (July 2008) (PDF)

July 01, 2008

Drugs in development for the treatment of adult and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Current and emerging treatment options for postmenopausal osteoporosis

May 01, 2008

Treatment options for osteoporosis include calcium, vitamin D, estrogen plus progesterone, calcitonin, and bisphosphonates.

Biologic treatment of RA associated with increased risk of nonmelanotic skin cancer and melanoma

January 01, 2008

The use of biologic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with an increased risk of nonmelanotic skin cancer and melanoma, according to a large observational study published that included 13,001 patients.

Drug Watch: Agents in late-stage development for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis (December 2007) (PDF)

December 01, 2007

A summary of agents in late-stage development for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis.

Use of SSRIs could lead to brittle bones in older patients

October 01, 2007

In 2 prospective cohort studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers demonstrated that selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use, but not the use of other common antidepressants, was associated with a significant decrease in total hip and lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) among older patients compared with nonuse of antidepressants.

IV bisphosphonates may cause inflammatory conditions, osteomyelitis of the jaw, facial bone or jaw surgery

September 01, 2007

In a large cohort study, it was demonstrated that the use of intravenous (IV) bisphosphonates was associated with an increased risk of inflammatory conditions or osteomyelitis of the jaw and the need for jaw or facial bone surgery.