News in brief - December 2013

Other new launches, licence changes and updates relevant to general practice.

Niquitin Strips should be placed on the tongue and pressed against the roof of the mouth until dissolved
  • A new orodispersible film formulation of nicotine (Niquitin Strips) has been launched by GSK as an aid to smoking cessation or reduction.
  • The influenza vaccines Agrippal and Optaflu (both Novartis) are now available for the 2013/2014 flu season.
  • Zonegran (zonisamide) is now licensed for use as adjunctive therapy for partial seizures with or without secondary generalisation in children aged six years and older.
  • The TNF-alpha inhibitor Simponi (golimumab) can now be used to treat moderate to severe ulcerative colitis when conventional treatments, including corticosteroids, 6-mercaptopurine and azathioprine, are unsuitable.
  • The MHRA has restricted the use of short-acting β2-agonists in obstetric indications to parenteral preparations, with a maximum treatment period of 48 hours and a requirement for specialist supervision. This is due to the risk of serious cardiovascular events in the mother and the foetus/newborn.
  • Revolade (eltrombopag) can now be prescribed for patients with chronic hepatitis C where thrombocytopenia prevents or limits optimal interferon-based therapy.
  • Zedbac is the first parenteral formulation of the antibacterial azithromycin to be launched in the UK and is licensed for use in community-acquired pneumonia and pelvic inflammatory disease when initial intravenous treatment is required.

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