Pharmacy Week in Review: FDA to Address Naloxone Availability, Potential Pancreatic Cancer Therapy Shows Promise


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

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.

The FDA will address new ways to increase the availability of naloxone (Narcan and Evzio), during a 2-day advisory committee meeting in December, Pharmacy Times reported. The drug is a critical tool for communities, families, first responders, and individuals, to help reduce deaths from opioid overdose, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. In a statement, he said there is an urgency in making naloxone more accessible. Gottlieb noted that the number of overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids doubled from 21,089 in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.

Whole blood levels of omega-3s are associated with better brain function in children, aged 2 to 6 years, according to a recent study, Contemporary Clinic reported. Published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the study investigated the relationship between whole-blood fatty acids and executive function in 307 children from Northern Ghana. Dried blood spot samples were collected and analyzed for fatty acid content, and the children performed a battery of cognitive function tests that were age appropriate, including the dimensional change card sort. Researchers examined which higher levels of essential fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid were associated with better cognitive performance and found that the average Omega-3 Index in this group was 4.6%, with a range of 2.3% to 11.7%.

A novel cell-based immunotherapy using a switch control approach eradicated pancreatic cancer cells in mice, including cancer cells that had already spread to the liver and lungs, according to a new study, Specialty Pharmacy Times reported. Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, indicating a critical unmet medical need for more effective therapies. The American Cancer Society estimates that 55,440 individuals will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2018, and 44,330 will die from the disease. Immunotherapy with CAR T-cells have represented a novel strategy for targeting and destroying cancer cells; however, its efficacy treating solid tumors is inhibited by toxic adverse effects. The study, published in Gut, used pancreatic cancer cells from patients with late-stage disease and transplanted them into mice. The researchers used a switchable CAR T system, that allows the treatment to be turned on and off, or have its activity changed to a desired level, which can improve safety and minimize adverse effects, according to the researchers.

Pharmacists may get more questions about Tummy Chewy Bites With Gas Relief if their patients have seen a new commercial for the OTC medication. In the spot, called “State Fair Beans,” a woman suffers from heartburn and gas while eating a bowl of chili at the state fair. To demonstrate how she’s feeling internally, two giant beans begin bouncing her back and forth between them until she takes a Tummy Chewy Bites With Gas Relief to ease her symptoms. According to the commercial, Tummy Chewy Bites With Gas Relief can neutralize gas quickly, if used as directed.

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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