A Look Back at 2017’s FDA Approvals

2018 is poised to be a promising year in terms of new medications the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be considering for approval. This pipeline of potential new specialty pharmacy medications includes a new psoriasis medication, a few new multiple sclerosis medications, and several medications for oncology. In terms of new treatment options,…

Introducing Epclusa

The treatment options for hepatitis C infections just gained a member to the club. There are six genotypes (numbered 1-6) of the hepatitis C virus. Previously, hepatitis C medications generally worked best for only one or a few genotypes. Consequently, identifying a patient’s genotype was an important part of the treatment process in order to…

A Quicker Oncology Pipeline

Oncology treatment is serious business. Lives are at stake, which is why some oncology researchers advocate for a faster path from drug development to approval. The development of new therapies, for the past several decades, has followed a very clear, step-wise progression. First, there are phase 1 trials to establish a medication’s safety and dose….

New Hepatitis C Combo On the Way

Another once-daily pill is on-track for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hepatitis C, adding to the growing number of treatment options for this life-threatening disease. This time, it’s a combination of Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir) with a new NS5A inhibitor called velpatasvir from Gilead Sciences. The sofosbuvir-velpatasvir combination is…

Meet Zepatier

There’s a new option in the treatment of hepatitis C, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving Merck’s Zepatier™ (elbasvir and grazoprevir) just a few days ago on January 28, 2016. This medication’s entry to the treatment field came on an accelerated track with the FDA granting it a breakthrough therapy designation last…

The MS Game Changer

A new medication for multiple sclerosis made waves when research about its effectiveness debuted at the Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) back in October 2015. Now experts are calling this medication one of the greatest developments of the past year for the multiple sclerosis (MS) field. Is…

Hepatitis C: Looking Beyond the Liver

The liver is, understandably, ground zero when it comes to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, other body organs are not without consequences from this disease. There is a strong association between hepatitis C and chronic kidney disease. This combination of HCV and kidney disease presents challenges for treatment, since hepatitis C negatively affects the…

New Promising Tool for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis, being slightly less common than rheumatoid arthritis, garners less research than rheumatoid arthritis. However, more than 2 million Americans struggle with the devastating effects of this disease, which causes chronic, painful inflammation of the joints and connective tissue. It’s common for psoriatic arthritis to develop about a decade after psoriasis. Cosentyx® (secukinumab) is…

World Hepatitis Day

One of the key messages of today July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, is simply this: hepatitis C is a preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organization created World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the massive number of people already infected with one of several hepatitis viruses, including the hepatitis C, and how anyone…

Biosimilars: Close to the Real Thing

The issue of “biosimilar” medications has been under debate for years. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the cusp of approving the first biosimilar. In case you don’t know, biosimilars are less expensive versions of already approved biological medications used for cancer, autoimmune, and other diseases. Biologic medications are typically large…

Medication Outperforms Chemo for Some Lung Cancers

Lung cancer remains the top cancer killer in the United States for both men and women. There are different forms of lung cancer, but the most common form is non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC accounts for approximately 85 percent of lung cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. For a long time, chemotherapy has…

After the Cure, Expect Many Years

Life after hepatitis C can be sweet, indeed. A patient who achieves a sustained viral response (SVR), which is another term meaning they are cured of the hepatitis C infection, can expect a lifespan just as long as someone who never had this disease. The year just keeps getting better and better for those with…

Treat Hepatitis C Promptly For Your Liver…And Your Heart

As if it’s not bad enough to have chronic hepatitis C infection, with the damage that brings to the liver, it seems that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) also brings other health risks. Naga Pothineni, M.D. from the Division of Cardiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science and fellow researchers looked into the…

Leukemia Drug Could Also Help Skin, Breast, and Other Cancers

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy A well-known medication used for a specific type of leukemia now shows promise against several other cancers. This chemotherapy tablet, Sprycel® (dasatinib) from Bristol-Myers Squibb, gained FDA approval for treating chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2010, although it had been approved since 2006 in…

Options for Aching Joints: RA Meds Go Head to Head

Nearly 1.3 million Americans endure the effects of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), leaving them with painful, swollen joints. This disease develops when the immune system mistakenly targets the linings of joints. The current front-line treatment to counteract this autoimmune attack is the medication methotrexate which suppresses inflammation by dampening the body’s immune response. Methotrexate, in a…

Eat Nuts for a Longer Life

Time to put nuts on the menu: a new study reveals that regularly including nuts in one’s diet slashes the risk of dying from any cause (that is, total mortality), as well as from the specific causes of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. In March 2012 I shared with readers in my blog Going…