Quick Hits: Drugs That Boost Heart Failure Risk, Crestor Goes Generic, & More

Many commonly used medications can lead to heart failure or worsen existing heart failure, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA). Many of the drugs that the AHA identified increase heart failure risk due to their high sodium content. Some of these drugs are: Fosamax (alendronate), azithromycin, Prilosec (omeprazole), and Zantac (ranitidine). Other drugs the AHA identified are: Onglyza (saxagliptin) and Januvia (sitagliptin), drugs known as DPP-4 inhibitors to treat diabetes; Celexa (citalopram) for depression; certain anti-cancer biologic medications; and Cardizem (diltiazem) and Verelan (verapamil), calcium channel blockers used for high blood pressure and chest pain. The AHA also found that certain over-the-counter medications, including NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), certain decongestants, NyQuil/DayQuil, and Pepto-Bismol can also boost heart failure risk. Posted July 11, 2016. Via American Heart Association.

Generics of the blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor will soon hit the market after the FDA approved applications from 8 generic manufacturers. The approval means the price of Crestor (rosuvastatin) – which has a retail price of $260 per month – will come down dramatically. AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of the statin, had been trying to prevent the launch of the generics by claiming in a lawsuit that the FDA couldn’t approve generic rosuvastatin because it was recently approved to treat children with a rare disease. The drugmaker argued that because of this indication, generic Crestor couldn’t be approved because of the Orphan Drug Act, which protects certain drugs from competition to encourage development of medications for rare diseases. A judge rejected that argument. Crestor had $5 billion in sales last year, making it AstraZeneca’s best-selling drug. Posted July 20, 2016. Via The New York Times.

An FDA advisory committee has unanimously recommended approval of a new biologic medication for psoriasis. The FDA’s Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 18-0 to approve Siliq (brodalumab) to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. However, many of the panel members also said there should be a warning on the drug’s labeling and a risk management program over concerns about self-injurious behavior and suicide. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Siliq’s developer, reported 6 suicides among 6,200 patients who took the biologic in its clinical studies. However, 4 of the suicides were in patients with a history of psychiatric issues, while the other 2 were in people with no signs of self-injurious behavior. The FDA is slated to make a decision on Siliq by November 16. Although the agency is not bound by its advisory committees’ recommendations, it usually follows their advice. Posted July 20, 2016. Via MedScape.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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