Tag Archives: yeast infection

New Psoriasis Med Demonstrates Efficacy, Safety Over Long Term

A new medication approved by the FDA in March to treat psoriasis has demonstrated sustained efficacy, even after the drug is taken for more than a year.

Taltz (ixekizumab), a biologic medication, was also found to be more effective than another popular biologic already on the market called Enbrel (etarnecept). Both medications are given by injection.

Taltz works by targeting a pathway in the immune system, called IL-17, known to promote psoriasis.

The latest findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are based on results from 3 clinical trials that enrolled almost 4,000 people. In the first trial, Taltz was compared against a placebo. However, in the other two, it was compared against a placebo and Enbrel for the first 12 weeks, and then just placebo after 12 weeks.

After the first 12 weeks, the Taltz injection was given either once a month or every 12 weeks. After 60 weeks, nearly 75% of the patients given the biologic once a month had only a minimal amount of psoriasis, compared to just 7% of patients taking the placebo.

In addition, during the 12-week intial period of the studies, Taltz was more effective than Enbrel by a wide margin.

“Based on these findings, we expect that 80% of patients will have an extremely high response rate to ixekizumab, and about 40% will be completely cleared of psoriasis,” lead author Kenneth Gordon, MD, a professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Like most medications, side effects were seen with some patients taking Taltz. These adverse events included slightly higher rates of low white blood cell count (neutropenia), yeast infection and inflammatory bowel disease compared to placebo. The safety of the biologic past 60 weeks of use is also not known.

Also, the research was funded by Eli Lilly, Taltz’s manufactuer. In addition, Gordon is a paid consultant for the drugmaker.

Quick Hits: Yeast Infection Drug Linked to Birth Defects, & More

The FDA has issued a safety alert recommending that women who are pregnant or are seeking to get pregnant avoid taking the vaginal yeast infection drug Diflucan (fluconazole). The agency is evaluating a study from Denmark that found reports of abnormalities in babies at birth whose mothers took as few as 1 to 2 doses of oral fluconazole at 150 mg. Previously, abnormalities had only been seen at higher doses (400-800 mg) for longer periods of time. The FDA also “advises caution in prescribing oral fluconazole during pregnancy.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that pregnant women use only antifungal creams, not oral meds, during pregnancy for yeast infections. Via FDA. Posted April 26, 2016

A common class of chemotherapy drugs does not negatively impact mental functioning, according to a new study that contradicts earlier research. There is no link between anthracyclines, such a doxorubicin and epirubicin, and a foggy mental condition commonly known as “chemo brain,” researchers that worked on the study say in JAMA Oncology. The research team, led by Patricia Ganz, MD, of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, said women’s mental health skills remained the same whether they took an anthracycline or not, and was the case for up to seven years after treatment. Despite the findings of the latest study, some doctors question why the results of this one came out differently than many others, and caution more research must be conducted on the long-term mental effects of chemotherapy. Via HealthDay. Posted April 26, 2016.

The CDC has reported on emergency room visits caused by people that took counterfeit opioid drugs. Two people were treated in Contra Costa Co., CA, after they took what they thought were real Norco (hydrocodone, acetaminophen) pills. The two people, who bought the drugs off friends, were treated for symptoms consistent with opioid intoxication and released. Neighboring counties have reported counterfeit Norco that was laced with fentanyl, a narcotic 100 times more potent than morphine, and has cause more than 1,000 deaths from 2005-2007. Via MPR. Posted April 26, 2016.

An FDA advisory committee voted against approving a drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. No medication currently exists for the condition. Sarepta Therapeutics, the manufacturer of the drug, eteplirsen, attempted to sway the committee with results of a clinical trial that enrolled just 12 people. In addition, many patient advocates and those with the condition itself that had been treated with eteplirsen, spoke in favor of its approval. The FDA had encouraged Sarepta to do a placebo-controlled trial, but the company declined, saying it would be unethical and impractical to do so. Via The New York Times. Posted April 25, 2016.

Saturday, April 30, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a national initiative where people with unused or expired medications can drop them off at collection sites. Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the effort provides a safe and efficient way to discard prescription drugs. It is also a way to educate the public about the abuse potential of medications since many drugs that are abused are taken from friends or family, including straight from the medicine cabinet. You can search for a collection site near you here. Via DEA. Posted April 25, 2016

Strangely, acid may ease the burn

“Did you know you will experience symptoms of heartburn if you make too much acid, but also if you are deficient? Weird but true. Healthy amounts of stomach acid keep the tiny trap door shut between your stomach and esophagus. This sphincter is pH sensitive and in a healthy person, it stays shut because of the natural production of acid in the stomach. When you reduce stomach acid, you then have insufficient amounts, and your stomach pH increases and this causes the trap door to swing open, causing heartburn. That’s why some people who take a digestive acid supplement (like betaine) sometimes feel better. Small amounts of healthy digestive acids keep the trap door shut, and the acid where it should be (down in your stomach) as opposed to your throat!
“The signs of low acid (termed hypochlorhydria) include heartburn! Surprised? It’s true. Also, you see irritable bowel, belching, cramps, food sensitivities, rheumatoid, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, gallbladder disease, osteoporosis, pancreatitis, yeast infections and rosacea. You will certainly have chronic fatigue because acid is needed to give you minerals which then participate in the production of both thyroid and adrenal hormones. No doubt, a little betaine can breathe life into some tired people (but get your doctor’s approval even though this is over-the-counter). I don’t know what’s right for you.”