Quick Hits: New Flu Drug Gets Priority Review and Get a Second Blood Pressure Reading

A new single-dose flu drug known as baloxavir marboxil has received priority review from the FDA. According to the drug’s manufacturer, Genentech, results from a study found that the pill significantly reduced the duration of flu symptoms by nearly 1 day, lasting only 2.5 days instead of 3.3 days. It also reduced the duration of fever from an average of 42 hours to just 1 day, and limited the spread of the virus from person to person from 4 days to 1 day. Baloxavir is currently sold and marketed in Japan as Xofluza. The FDA is expected to make a decision on approval by the end of December. Posted June 26, 2018. Via NBC News.

Getting a second blood pressure measurement during a doctor or hospital visit may lead to a lower blood pressure reading, a new study suggests. Blood pressure measurement errors, including “inappropriate cuff size, talking during measurement, terminal digit preference, and incorrect arm and body positioning,” can lead to overtreatment. A new study found that repeating blood pressure measurements after an elevated reading led to an 8 mm/Hg decrease in systolic pressure. This decrease led 36% of patients who initially had readings greater than 140/90 to have second readings less than 140/90. The findings serve as a good reminder that “proper techniques, including sitting for 5 minutes quietly, are key to accurate blood pressure measurements.” Posted June 27, 2018. Via JAMA Internal Medicine.

A study found that most doctors would be willing to prescribe the anti-HIV drug Truvada to teens. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) with Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir/disoproxil) can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 90%. In a recent study, researchers surveyed 162 doctors who worked with teens and young adults. Almost all of the doctors — 93% — had heard of PrEP, but only 35% had prescribed it. More than half of the doctors (65%) said they would be willing to prescribe PrEP to teens and young adults, and another 19% were willing to refer teens to another doctor for the medication. Also, about two-thirds of those who were unwilling to prescribe it themselves said they would prescribe the medication only if it received FDA approval for these patients. The poll was taken prior to the FDA’s approval of Truvada for adolescents last month. Posted June 25, 2018. Via Journal of Adolescent Health.

Alanna M.

Alanna M. is a graduate of Pace University.

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