It’s the beginning of the school year, which means that it is time to prepare for the little bugs that get passed around the classroom, lice!
Head lice are parasitic insects that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Preschool and elementary school-aged children, as well as their parents and caregivers, are at the greatest risk for lice infestation. The most common way to spread lice is through head-to-head contact, which can easily happen when children are playing.
Here are some tips from the pharmacist to help prevent and treat head lice.
Try over the counter options first
There are over the counter (OTC) options that can be used if your child has lice. OTC items like Nix are available at your local grocery store. Using an OTC option first can save you money, as many of the prescription-only items can be costly, and may not be covered by your insurance.
Prescription treatment is available
If you’re unable to get rid of lice using OTC products, your doctor can write you a prescription for lice treatment. The following are examples of prescription-only lice treatment.
- Sklice is for children 6 months of age and older. It is a 10-minute treatment that doesn’t require any nit combing. The manufacturer offers a savings program that can reduce your co-pay to at least $30. For more information, visit their website here.
- Ovide is a lotion used on children 6 years of age and older. Keep in mind that it is flammable, and a second treatment may be required after seven days if lice are still present.
- Ulesfia is for children 6 months of age and older. Be sure to repeat the treatment after seven days. The manufacturer offers a savings program that can reduce your co-pay to as little as $10. For more information, visit their website here.
- Natroba is a topical solution indicated for children 6 months of age and older. Nit combing is not required, but using a fine-tooth comb may be helpful to remove dead lice and nits.
Don’t share personal items
Teaching your child to share is an important life lesson; however, some personal items should not be shared in order to protect against spreading lice. Make sure your child knows that personal items like brushes, hats, helmets, headbands, and towels should not be shared.
Check with your state department of health
Each state department will have information on symptoms, treatments, and guidance for lice prevention and treatment. Refer to your state’s department of health website for more information.
What is a biosimilar?
Without getting too technical, biosimilars are basically the generic product of a biologic (a medication made from a living organism). However, because these medications are made out of living cells they are slightly different. The good news about biosimilars is that they are typically 15%-30% less expensive than their reference drug.
For more information about biologics and biosimilars, read our blog here.
What is Cyltezo indicated for?
Cyltezo is approved for the following 7 conditions:
- Pediatric patients 4 years of age and older with moderate to severe active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis
- Moderate to severe active adult Crohn’s disease
- Moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis
- Moderate to severe plaque psoriasis
- Active ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine)
- Active psoriatic arthritis
Keep in mind that Cyltezo is only approved for 7 indications whereas Humira has 10 indications. These three indications that Humira also treats include uveitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and pediatric Crohn’s disease.
How will Cyltezo be sold?
Cyltezo will be available in a single-use prefilled glass syringe in the dosage of 40 mg/0.8 ml. The manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, will also seek approval for an auto-injector in the future.
What are the most common side effects of Cyltezo?
The most common side effects include infections, injection site reactions, headache or rash.
Although these two are both biosimilars for Humira, they are different. Amjevita will be available additionally in a single-use prefilled glass syringe in the 20 mg/0.4 mL strength as well as a SureClick autoinjector in the 40 mg/0.8 mL strength.
Is Amjevita currently available?
How much will Cyltezo cost?
No. Although Cyltezo is a biosimilar, it is not interchangeable.
Interchangeable products are usually known as generic medications and can be substituted for a brand name medication if available and without needing to consult the prescriber. Your doctor must write your prescription for Cyltezo if this is the medication that is intended for you to use.
Believe it or not, medications are recalled on a daily basis for numerous reasons. Medication recalls can range from minor to life-threatening incidents if not immediately and appropriately taken care of.
What are these drugs prescribed for?
Which products were recalled?
In this recall, only one lot was affected. The manufacturer, International Laboratories, released a company announcement detailing the states that may be affected by this recall. Read here for the full list.
This recall will affect the following:
- Drug: Pravastatin 40 mg tablets, 30-count bottle.
- Manufacturer: International Laboratories, LLC
- Lot: 115698A
- National Drug Code (NDC): 54458-0925-16
Why were these medications recalled?
A manufacturer can voluntarily recall their medication, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can request or require that a manufacturer recalls a particular medication.
In this case, International Laboratories has voluntarily recalled 1 lot of pravastatin 40 mg tablets, due to mislabeling. According to International Labs, the packaging labeled for pravastatin 40 mg actually contained the 300 mg bupropion XL tablets.
International Laboratories has notified its distributors and customers by letter and is arranging for the return of all recalled products.
What is the significance of this recall?
Taking the wrong medication may potentially cause severe adverse effects like:
- Drug interactions with other medications you take. For instance, bupropion XL can cause serotonin syndrome when mixed with other medications.
- Sudden worsening of your condition due to taking the wrong medication.
- Allergic reaction.
- Unwanted adverse reactions.
Have patients reported any adverse events to the FDA?
At this time, there have not been any complaints or reports of medical illnesses or harmful effects.
This lot was recalled when a pharmacist informed International Laboratories that the 30-count bottle was mislabeled.
What do I do if I think I have a recalled package?
Consumers who have purchased this product should not open the package or use the contents. Instead, they should return the product to the location of purchase for a full refund, or call a Customer Complaint phone number at International Laboratories, LLC 727-322-7146 (Monday – Friday 8 AM – 5 PM EST). You should contact your physician or healthcare provider if you have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using these drug products.
Always inspect your medications, including all parts of the packaging and devices. If you ever notice your medication doesn’t look or smell right, contact the manufacturer or ask your pharmacist for more information. You can also notify the FDA’s MedWatch Reporting Program as they can conduct further necessary investigations.
A pharmaceutical company can decide to discontinue a medication for many reason reasons. Just like any other business, if a product does not sell as expected, the company can decide to stop making it—and this just what happened with Tanzeum.
What is Tanzeum indicated for?
Tanzeum is used, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, to improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Why is Tanzeum being discontinued?
GlaxoSmithKline is discontinuing Tanzeum due to the limited prescribing of the medication. There are no known safety concerns.
When will Tanzeum be off the market?
GlaxoSmithKline is recommending that health care professionals switch their patients to a different treatment option as soon as possible. They are alerting patients by updating their consumer website here. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you are currently taking Tanzeum.
GSK is ensuring that Tanzeum will remain available to existing patients until at least the end of June 2018. This will allow for enough time for patients to identify and initiate a satisfactory treatment alternative.
Since the FDA created the Priority Review Program, aimed at fast tracking the development of drugs used to treat serious conditions, new hepatitis C medications are being approved at a faster rate.
Recently, the FDA approved Mavyret, a new combination medication for hepatitis C.
What is Mavyret prescribed for?
Mavyret is a combination medication indicated for the treatment of all major genotypes for chronic hepatitis C.
Mavyret will be available as a combination tablet in the strength of 100mg/40mg, supplied in a 4-week (monthly) dose wallet. The recommended dose is 3 tablets once daily, for 8 weeks, with food. You may need to take Mavyret for longer than 8 weeks if you have been previously treated with other medications, or have mild liver disease.
What are the most common side effects associated with Mavyret?
The most common side effects include headache and fatigue. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you experience any of these side effects for a prolonged period of time.
Is there anything unique about Mavyret?
Yes. Mavyret is the only 8-week treatment for patients with hepatitis C, without liver disease, who have not been treated before.
How much will Mavyret cost?
Abbvie has priced Mavyret at $13,200 per month, or $26,400 per treatment course, before discounts. Although this is still expensive, Macyret is priced significantly lower than other hepatitis C treatments. For instance, popular medications Epclusa, Sovaldi and Harvoni are priced at $74,760, $84,000, and $94,500 respectively.
There is good news, though! Abbie offers a co-pay assistance program for commercially insured patients. If you are eligible, you may pay as little as $5 per co-pay using their Abbvie HCV Co-Pay Card. Visit the website here, and call 1-877-628-9738 to learn more and find out if you are eligible.