New Drugs for 2009

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Dear Readers,

Here are the most interesting FDA-approved items for 2009.  I wish you all a very happy new year!

Adcirca (tadalafil) tablets, Rx: Sex pills may help you breath easy!  Adcirca is just Cialis renamed. It treats pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) which causes excessive pressure in the arteries of the lungs. PAH symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, leg swelling and feeling lightheaded during mild exertion.  Take a guess what the most prominent side effect of this drug is. If you can’t figure it out, your wife will.

Mycocide Nail Fungus Test Kit, OTC:  The first at-home screening kit to help you diagnose toenail/fingernail fungus -though most people see a yellow-green discoloration.

Qutenza (capsaicin 8%) transdermal patch, Rx:  A strong skin patch of chili pepper extract used to treat nerve pain from shingles (PHN). One patch works for 3 months. Lower dose capsaicin patches are sold at most pharmacies.

Besivance (besifloxacin), Rx:  Eye drops which treats eye infections like ‘pink eye.’

Savella (milnacipran), tablets, Rx:  Used for fibromyalgia, this medication works similar to the  anti-depressant, Cymbalta.

ClearEars, solution, OTC:  For people prone to swimmer’s ear, this product may dry your ear before infection occurs.

Ulesfia (benzyl alcohol) lotion, Rx: An insecticide-free lice treatment which basically asphyxiates the lice to death.

Gelnique (oxybutynin) gel, Rx:  It’s the skin cream version of the oral drug called Ditropan, which treats overactive bladder, incontinence or urgency.

Kapidex (dexlansoprazole) capsules, Rx: When Prevacid lost it’s patent and went generic this year, the makers launched an extended-release version of the same drug, giving you longer-lasting relief, and them too!  It treats severe heartburn, esophagitis and GERD.

Vectical (calcitriol) ointment, Rx:  It’s just vitamin D for your skin, used to treat psoriasis. A different drug, Stelara (ustekinumab) injection, also got the thumbs up from the FDA this year.

Lysteda (tranexamic acid) tablets, Rx:  It’s an anti-clotting drug used in women with heavy periods.  While I don’t discount the effectiveness of this medication, I still feel it’s more important to address the underlying hormonal imbalance of menorrhagia (which is often excess estrogen or progesterone deficiency).

Uloric (febuxostat) tablets, oral, Rx:  Used to manage gout (excessive uric acid).

Zegerid OTC (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate) capsules:  It used to be prescription only. This combo drug marries Prilosec with sodium bicarb (baking soda) for serious GI problems.

Pennsaid (diclofenac sodium) solution, Rx:  Rub it on your knee for arthritis pain; it’s the same ingredient used in Voltaren tablets.

Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA), injection, Rx:  It’s similar to Botox  and can smooth frown lines and treat cervical dystonia.

Twynsta (amlodipine and telmisartan) tablets, Rx:  This combination drug treats hypertension; it’s the marriage of Norvasc with Micardis in a single pill.

Afinitor (everolimus) tablets, Rx:  It may slow the growth of kidney cancer.

Apidra (insulin glulisine), injection, Rx:  This insulin helps control mealtime blood sugar spikes, and it works fast so make sure you have glucose tablets on hand in case you get hypoglycemic.