FDA Approves Prostate Cancer Drug

Degarelix, a new drug for treatment of prostate cancer, the second-leading cause of death among men in the U.S., has gained FDA approval.

A gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor inhibitor, the drug is intended to treat patients with advanced cancer, and slows the growth and progression of the cancer by suppressing testosterone, which plays an important role in the continued growth of prostate cancer, according to FDA officials.

The drug's efficacy was reportedly established in a clinical trial in which patients with prostate cancer received either degarelix or leuprolide, a drug currently used for hormone therapy in treating advanced prostate cancer. Degarelix treatment did not cause the temporary increase in testosterone that is seen with some other drugs that affect GnRH receptors, according to the FDA.

The most frequently reported adverse reactions in the clinical study included injection site reactions (pain, redness, and swelling), hot flashes, increased weight, fatigue, and increases in some liver enzymes.

The most frequently reported adverse reactions in the clinical study included injection-site reactions (pain, redness, and swelling), hot flashes, increased weight, fatigue and increases in some liver enzymes.

According to the FDA, nearly 190,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 29,000 men died from the cancer in 2004.

Degarelix is manufactured for Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc., Parsippany, NJ, by Rentschler Biotechnologie Gmbh, Laupheim, Germany.

Older Adults Mixing Medications

A study published in JAMA has found older adults are routinely mixing their medications.
According to researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center, nearly one in 25 people ages 57-85 have taken dangerous combinations of drugs with the potential for serious interactions. For men ages 75-85, there are as many as one in 10.

Researchers studied the medication use of 3,500 people living independently across the country to create a representative sample, according to the study, which claims some 2.2 million people are at risk of taking dangerous medication combinations.

About one-third of older adults use five or more prescriptions, and about half use over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements, the study found.

More than half of older adults used five or more prescription medications, over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements while 29 percent took more than five prescription medications.

The report also found that U.S. adults over the age of 65 are taken to the ED more than 175,000 times each year because of dangerous reactions to medications.

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