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Differin (adapalene) Approved for OTC Use

FDA approves Differin Gel 0.1% for over-the-counter use to treat acne

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Differin Gel 0.1% (adapalene), a once-daily topical gel for the over-the-counter (OTC) treatment of acne. Differin Gel 0.1% is approved for use in people 12 years of age and older.

Differin Gel 0.1% is the first in a class of drugs known as retinoids to be made available OTC for the treatment of acne, and contains the first new active ingredient for acne treatment for OTC use since the 1980s. Differin Gel 0.1% was originally approved in 1996 as a prescription product for the treatment of acne vulgaris in patients 12 years of age and older.

“Millions of consumers, from adolescents to adults, suffer from acne,” said Lesley Furlong, M.D., deputy director of the Office of New Drugs IV in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Now, consumers have access to a new safe and effective over-the-counter option.”

Acne is a common skin disease that affects approximately 50 million people in the United States. Acne pimples form when hair follicles of the skin clog up. Generally, pimples form on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. Anyone can get acne, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. Acne can cause scarring and have adverse psychological effects (for example, poor self-image, depression and anxiety). Several OTC and prescription treatment options are available for people with acne.

Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast-feeding should ask a doctor before use. While topical retinoid products are often prescribed as first-line therapies for acne of all levels of severity, either alone or in combination with other treatments, Differin Gel 0.1% is the first retinoid acne treatment to be made available OTC. While there have been no adequate and well-controlled studies of Differin Gel 0.1% in pregnant women, there is no specific evidence that Differin Gel 0.1%, when used topically as directed, causes birth defects in humans. Some other retinoid drugs have been shown to cause birth defects.

Differin Gel’s safety and efficacy were initially established based on five clinical trials in people with mild to moderate acne. To support approval for OTC marketing, the data accrued from 1996-2016 on post-marketing safety, data from consumer studies (a label comprehension study, a self-selection study, and an actual use trial), and data from a maximal use trial were submitted.

Overall, results from the consumer studies showed that consumers can understand the information on the OTC label, appropriately select whether the product is right for them, and use the product appropriately. The maximal use trial, a study of absorption of the drug through acne-affected skin when applied daily over a large surface area (face, shoulders, upper back and chest), demonstrated that absorption is limited, thus supporting safe use of Differin Gel 0.1% by people using it OTC.

Consumers should follow the Drug Facts label and consult with their health care providers if their symptoms do not improve. The drug should be applied once daily in a thin layer on the affected areas of skin, and it is for external use only. Differin Gel 0.1% should not be used on damaged skin (for example, cuts, abrasions, eczema, or sunburn). People using Differin Gel 0.1% should avoid sunburn and avoid product contact with their eyes, lips and mouth. Differin Gel 0.1% should not be used by people who are allergic to the product. In the first few weeks of use, skin may become irritated (redness, itching, dryness, burning). Consumers should stop use and ask a doctor if irritation becomes severe, if there is no improvement in acne after three months of daily use, if symptoms of allergic reaction appear, or if they become pregnant or are planning to become pregnant while using the drug.

Differin Gel 0.1% is distributed by Galderma Laboratories, L.P., based in Fort Worth, Texas.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of huma/n and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

 

AHFS Drug Information/Essentials Update – July 2016

The July update to the AHFS Drug Information/Essentials database was published today. Highlights from this month’s update include:

New AHFS/Essentials Monographs

  • Daclatasvir (Daklinza®)
    • Daclatasvir dihydrochloride is used in conjunction with sofosbuvir (with or without ribavirin) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 or genotype 3 infection in adults who are treatment-naive (previously untreated) or previously treated, including those with cirrhosis (compensated or decompensated), liver transplant recipients, and those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection
  • Ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir (Technivie®)
    • The fixed combination of ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir) is used in conjunction with ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4 infection in treatment-naive (previously untreated) or previously treated adults without cirrhosis

FDA MedWatch Alerts

  • Canagliflozin & Dapagliflozin
    • FDA has strengthened the existing warning about the risk of acute kidney injury for the type 2 diabetes medicines canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga, Xigduo XR)
  • Aspirin
    • The FDA is warning consumers about the risk of serious bleeding when using nonprescription, also known as over-the-counter or OTC, aspirin-containing antacid products to treat heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, or upset stomach
  • Sumatriptan
    • Sumatriptan iontophoretic transdermal system patch (Zecuity) manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals has decided to temporarily suspend sales, marketing, and distribution to investigate the cause of burns and scars associated with the sumatriptan iontophoretic transdermal system patch
  • Loperamide
    • FDA is warning that taking higher than recommended doses of the common over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription diarrhea medicine loperamide (Imodium), including through abuse or misuse of the product, can cause serious heart problems that can lead to death

Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir) Approved

FDA approves Epclusa for treatment of chronic Hepatitis C virus infection

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epclusa to treat adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) both with and without cirrhosis (advanced liver disease). For patients with moderate to severe cirrhosis (decompensated cirrhosis), Epclusa is approved for use in combination with the drug ribavirin. Epclusa is a fixed-dose combination tablet containing sofosbuvir, a drug approved in 2013, and velpatasvir, a new drug, and is the first to treat all six major forms of HCV.

“This approval offers a management and treatment option for a wider scope of patients with chronic hepatitis C,” said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to diminished liver function or liver failure. There are at least six distinct HCV genotypes, or strains, which are genetically distinct groups of the virus. Knowing the genotype helps inform treatment recommendations and the duration of treatment. Approximately 75 percent of Americans with HCV have genotype 1; 20-25 percent have genotypes 2 or 3; and a small numbers of patients are infected with genotypes 4, 5 or 6. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HCV infection becomes chronic in approximately 75 to 85 percent of cases. Patients who suffer from chronic HCV infection over many years may have complications, such as bleeding, jaundice (yellowish eyes or skin), fluid accumulation in the abdomen, infections, liver cancer and death.

The safety and efficacy of Epclusa for 12 weeks was evaluated in three Phase III clinical trials of 1,558 subjects without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis (mild cirrhosis). Results demonstrated that 95–99 percent of patients who received Epclusa had no virus detected in the blood 12 weeks after finishing treatment, suggesting the patients’ infections had been cured. The safety and efficacy of Epclusa was also evaluated in a clinical trial of 267 subjects with decompensated cirrhosis (moderate to severe cirrhosis), of whom 87 subjects received Epclusa in combination with ribavirin for 12 weeks, and 94 percent of these patients had no virus detected in the blood 12 weeks after finishing treatment.

The most common side effects of Epclusa include headache and fatigue. Epclusa and ribavirin combination regimens are contraindicated for patients for whom ribavirin is contraindicated.

Epclusa carries a warning for patients and health care providers that serious slowing of the heart rate (symptomatic bradycardia) and cases requiring pacemaker intervention have been reported when amiodarone is used with sofosbuvir in combination with another HCV direct-acting antiviral. Co-administration of amiodarone with Epclusa is not recommended. Epclusa also carries a warning not to use with certain drugs that may reduce the amount of Epclusa in the blood which could lead to reduced efficacy of Epclusa.

Epclusa was reviewed under the FDA’s priority review program, which provides for an expedited review of drugs that treat serious conditions and, if approved, would provide significant improvement in safety or effectiveness.

Epclusa is manufactured and marketed by Gilead Sciences, Inc., of Foster City, California.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency is also responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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