The FDA approved Ingrezza (valbenazine) to treat adults with tardive dyskinesia, a serious side effect characterized by involuntary movements in the face and extremities sometimes seen in patients who have been treated with antipsychotic medications. Ingrezza, the first drug approved for this condition, may itself cause unwanted side effects such as sleepiness and heart rhythm problems (QT prolongation). Patients with congenital long QT syndrome (abnormal heartbeat) should avoid taking this drug. Posted April 11, 2017. Via FDA.
The FDA has approved 2 hepatitis C (HCV) drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni, for use in children ages 12 to 17. Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) are the first direct-acting antiviral treatments approved for children and adolescents with HCV. Some patients experienced reactivation of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) when treated with the drugs, resulting in serious liver problems or death. The FDA advises that all healthcare professionals screen all of their patients for evidence of current or prior HBV infection before starting treatment with Harvoni or Sovaldi. Posted April 7, 2017. Via FDA.
Sedatives such as Valium or Xanax may increase the risk for pneumonia in Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers reviewed data from nearly 50,000 Alzheimer’s patients in Finland. The patients’ average age was 80 and about two-thirds were women. The study, published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), found that people with Alzheimer’s who took benzodiazepines were 30% more likely to develop pneumonia than those who weren’t given the sedatives. Posted April 10, 2017. Via CMAJ.
Alanna McCatty is founder and CEO of McCatty Scholars, an organization that devises and implements financial literacy programs for students to combat the nationwide issue of the loss of educational opportunity due to the ramifications of burdensome student debt. At MedShadow, she reports on new findings and research on the side effects of prescription drugs. She is a graduate of Pace University.