Pharmacy Week in Review: FDA Approvals for Schizophrenia, Severe Emphysema

A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.


Nicole Grassano, Host: Hello and welcome to the Pharmacy Times News Network. I’m Nicole Grassano your host for our Pharmacy Week in Review.

FDA officials have approved an Alkermes aripiprazole lauroxil (Aristada Initio) extended-release product to treat schizophrenia in adults, according to the company, Pharmacy Times reported. Aristada Initio leverages proprietary nanocrystal technology, and the drug uses a smaller particle size than Alkermes’ Aristada, an injectable atypical antipsychotic medication that also contains aripiprazole lauroxil. Although Aristada and Aristada Initio both contain aripiprazole lauroxil, the 2 medications are not interchangeable because of differing pharmacokinetic profiles. Aristada Initio provides faster dissolution and leads to more rapid achievement of relevant levels of aripiprazole. Aristada Initio is expected to be available in mid-July. Previously, the standard initiation regimen for Aristada included 21 consecutive days of oral aripiprazole starting with the first dose. The Aristada Initio regimen provides patients with relevant levels of aripiprazole within 4 days of initiation.

The FDA has approved a new device intended to treat breathing difficulty associated with severe emphysema, Contemporary Clinic reported. The device, Pulmonx’s Zephyr Endobronchial Valve (Zephyr Valve) is a less invasive treatment than options currently available to patients. Using a flexible bronchoscope about the size of a pencil eraser, a doctor places Zephyr Valves into the diseased areas of the lung airways during a procedure in a hospital setting. The device’s design is intended to prevent air from entering the damaged parts of the lung, while also allowing trapped air and fluids to escape.

A new clinical trial will investigate a combination therapy including an anticancer vaccine and an immunotherapy to target metastatic colorectal cancer, according to a press release and reported by Specialty Pharmacy Times. The trial addresses an unmet need for new therapies aimed at preventing disease recurrence for patients with colorectal cancer. The researchers, from Rutgers Cancer Institute, are exploring whether the combination therapy will prompt a patient’s immune system to attack their cancer and improve survival. The investigational vaccine therapy is a newer version of a poxvirus-based cancer treatment previously called PANVAC, which was deemed safe after being tested in more than 15 clinical trials, according to the press release. Given by injection, PANVAC works to stimulate the immune system against infection to target tumor cells that produce specific proteins. The newer version, now called CV301, has undergone changes for improvement.

Pharmacists may get questions about Copper Fit Advanced Back Pro if their patients have seen a commercial for the OTC pain relief medication. In the spot, called 'When Legends Play,' 2 groups of guys meet for a pickup football game. However, 1 team brings former pros Brett Favre and Jerry Rice, who talk about how the medication has helped them stay active since their retirement from the NFL, with Rice adding that it is like finding the fountain of youth. According to the commercial, Copper Fit Advanced Back Pro can improve posture and reduces strain and stress on the lower back.

For more great coverage and practical information for today’s pharmacist, visit our website and sign up for our Daily eNews. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks for watching our Pharmacy Week in Review. I’m Nicole Grassano at the Pharmacy Times News Network.

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This weekly video program provides our readers with an in-depth review of the latest news, product approvals, FDA rulings, and more. Our Week in Review is a can't miss for the busy pharmacy professional.
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