Market Watch


New Generics

  • Donepezil orally disintegrating tablets (generic Aricept ODT)1
  • Nizatadine oral solution (generic Axid oral solution), 15mg/mL.2 It is available in peppermint flavor.

New Drugs, Indications, and Dosage Forms

  • Clonidine ER tablets and suspension (Clonidine ER suspension and Clonidine ER tablets) have been approved by the FDA.3
  • Estradiol 10 mcg vaginal (Vagifem) low-dose tablets have been approved by the FDA for treating atrophic vaginitis due to menopause.4
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa) has been approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia and manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in patients aged 13 to 17 years old.5 Prescribers must consider the potential for weight gain and hyperlipidemia, as well as other long-term risks that might occur in adolescents compared with adult patients.
  • Olanzapine injection (Zyprexa Relprevv) has been approved by the FDA for treating schizophrenia in adults.6 A risk-evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) will be implemented with this agent. It is a long-acting, intramuscular depot injection given every two to four weeks, depending on the dose.7
  • Quetiapine extended-release (Zyprexa) has been approved by the FDA as add-on therapy to antidepressants in managing adults with major depressive disorder.8 AstraZeneca, the drug manufacturer, also is seeking approval for a monotherapy indication to manage depression in the acute and maintenance phases.
  • Sildenafil intravenous (Revatio IV) has been approved by the FDA for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension for patients who are temporarily unable to take the oral medication.9 The injection is administered as a single-dose of 10 mg up to three times daily. According to the manufacturer, this is bioequivalent to 20 mg three times a day for the oral formulation.
  • Tiotropium bromide inhalation powder (Spiriva HandiHaler) has been approved by the FDA for reducing exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).10


  • Approval is pending for Aztreonam lysine inhaled (Cayston) for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.11 The FDA’s Anti-Infectives Drugs Advisory Committee voted 15-2 in favor of the drug’s safety and effectiveness, and 17-0 in favor of a regimen of 75 mg three times a day. The FDA usually approves drugs recommended by its panels.
  • Darapladib, a selective and orally active LpPLA2 inhibitor, has begun Phase 3 clinical trials in the management of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).12 The study will include 11,500 male and female patients from 40 countries. It is a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical efficacy trial of the long-term use of darapladib when added to standard of care. The study will test whether darapladib affects the chances of having a cardiovascular event, such as a myocardial infarction or a stroke, when treatment is started within 30 days after an ACS.
  • Denosumab has received a positive opinion from the European Union for treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at increased risk of fractures, and also for treating bone loss in men with prostate cancer who are at increased risk of fractures.13 In the U.S., approval by the FDA is pending for management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.14 The FDA’s reproductive health advisory committee, which evaluated the agent, voted 12-1 to require the drug to carry a REMS.
  • Ocrelizumab, a Phase 3 humanized anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), recently reported positive results when given in combination with methotrexate (MTX) in an international, randomized, multicenter, double-blind trial.15 Ocrelizumab or placebo administered by intravenous infusion on days one and 15 met the primary endpoint of improving the signs and symptoms of RA in patients with an inadequate response to MTX.
  • A response to an FDA complete response letter dated May 2009 was expected for rivaroxaban, an oral, direct Factor Xa inhibitor for preventing DVT and pulmonary embolism in patients undergoing hip or knee surgery. Complete review of rivaroxaban data was deferred by its manufacturers until February.16,17
  • The FDA is considering a new indication for rosuvastatin (Crestor), following recommendations of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee on Dec. 15, 2009.18

Safety Information

Pay attention to two agents manufactured by AstraZeneca: Dexlansoprazole (Kapidex), a new formulation of the proton-pump inhibitor lansoprazole, and bicalutamide (Casodex), which is used in combination with a hormone treatment for prostate cancer, have had medication mixups. The agent names look alike and sound alike when written and verbalized. Both written and verbal prescriptions have been dispensed in error. Bicalutamide is available as 50-mg tablets; dexlansoprazole is available as 30-mg and 60-mg capsules. TH

Michele B. Kaufman, PharmD, BSc, RPh, is a freelance medical writer based in New York City and a clinical pharmacist at New York Downtown Hospital.


  1. Walsh S. FDA Approves Generic Aricept to Treat Dementia Related to Alzheimer’s Disease. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site. Available at: www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm194173.htm. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  2. Amenal Receives FDA Approval For Nizatidine Oral Solution, the First Oral Solution for Axid in the Market. Medical News Today Web site. Available at: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173591.php. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  3. Clonidine ER Suspension and Clonidine ER Tablets approved. Monthly Prescribing Reference Web site. Available at: www.empr.com/clonidine-er-suspension-and-clonidine-er-tablets-approved/article/159148/. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  4. FDA Approves Mcg Dose of Vagifem For the Treatment of Atrophic Vaginitis Due to Menopause. Medical News Today Web site. Available at: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172804.php. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  5. Todoruk M. Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa approved in US for adolescents. FirstWord Web site. Available at: www.firstwordplus.com/Fws.do?articleid=B5699B38AADB46AF85E7B34F508DB943&logRowId=340534. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  6. Dennis M. FDA approves Eli Lilly’s long-acting Zyprexa injection. FirstWord Web site. Available at: www.firstwordplus.com/Fws.do?articleid=30C504823E42425FA0C3B9BB8490D5AA&logRowId=341775. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  7. Gever J. FDA Approves Long-Acting Olanzapine. MedPage Today Web site. Available at: www.medpagetoday.com/ProductAlert/Prescriptions/17539. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  8. Dennis M. FDA approves AstraZeneca’s Seroquel XR as add-on therapy; requires more data as monotherapy. FirstWord Web site. Available at: www.firstwordplus.com/Fws.do?articleid=0530A906ABCB44B5A32EC05E148E0220&logRowId=340531. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  9. Petrochko C. FDA Approves IV Sildenafil for Hypertension. MedPage Today Web site. Available at: www.medpagetoday.com/ProductAlert/Prescriptions/17296. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  10. FDA Approves Spiriva HandiHaler for the Reduction of COPD Exacerbations. Pfizer Web site. Available at: mediaroom.pfizer.com/portal/site/pfizer/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20091217006384&newsLang=en. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  11. Leuty R. Gilead wins panel OK for cystic fibrosis drug. San Francisco Business Times Web site. Available at: sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/12/07/daily59.html?surround=etf&ana=e_article. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  12. GSK initiates second pivotal Phase III trial for investigational cardiovascular medication Darapladib. GlaxoSmithKline Web site. Available at: www.gsk.com/media/pressreleases/2009/2009_pressrelease_10141.htm. Accessed Dec. 29, 2009.
  13. Todoruk M. EU panel issues positive opinion for Amgen’s Prolia. FirstWord Web site. Available at: www.firstwordplus.com/Fws.do?articleid=A9F30DD044A14893899DF7D880FB8AB0&logRowId=342650. Accessed Dec. 29, 2009.
  14. Walker EP. FDA Panel Backs Denosumab for Osteoporosis, But Not Osteopenia. MedPage Web site. Available at: www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/Osteoporosis/15530. Accessed Dec. 29, 2009.
  15. Phase 3 study of ocrelizumab for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Monthly Prescribing Reference Web site. Available at: www.empr.com/phase-3-study-of-ocrelizumab-for-rheumatoid-arthritis-ra/article/159474/. Accessed Dec. 29, 2009.
  16. Phase III EINSTEIN-Extension Study of Bayer’s Rivaroxaban Shows Significant Benefit in the Prevention of Secondary Symptomatic VTE. Bayer Web site. Available at: www.bayer.com/en/News-Detail.aspx?id=12554. Accessed Dec. 20, 2009.
  17. Todoruk M. Bayer, Johnson & Johnson provide update on Xarelto complete response to FDA. FirstWord Web site. Available at: www.firstwordplus.com/Fws.do?articleid=8F8AEC62E7DB46C3809C1E77A8384F30&logRowId=340535. Accessed Dec. 29, 2009.
  18. O’Riordan M. FDA advisory panel votes in favor of broadened rosuvastatin indication. TheHeart.org Web site. Available at: www.theheart.org/article/1035155/print.do. Accessed Dec. 29, 2009.
  19. Kapidex-Casodex confusion. Institute for Safe Medication Practices Web site. Available at: www.ismp.org/newsletters/ambulatory/archives/200907_1.asp. Accessed Dec. 28, 2009.

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