Intranasal esketamine shows promise in treatment-resistant depression

According to a small phase 2 clinical trial published in JAMA Psychiatry (doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3739), intranasal esketamine has the potential to be an effective treatment for patients with treatment-resistant depression.
The parent drug ketamine is an NMDA-receptor antagonist licensed for use as an anaesthetic for diagnostic and …

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Guselkumab launched for the treatment of plaque psoriasis

A new biological therapy has been launched in the UK for the management of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy. Guselkumab (Tremfya) is a fully human monoclonal antibody that selectively blocks interleukin (IL)-23, a cytokine that is thought …

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NICE recommends cladribine for highly active MS

In a final appraisal determination, NICE has recommended cladribine (Mavenclad) as an option for the treatment of highly active multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults. NICE recommends treatment with cladribine only if the patient has rapidly evolving severe relapsing-remitting MS (ie at least two relapses in …

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CHMP recommends benralizumab for eosinophilic asthma

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has adopted a positive opinion recommending the marketing authorisation of benralizumab (Fasenra) for the treatment of severe eosinophilic asthma.
Benralizumab is indicated as an add-on maintenance treatment in adults with severe eosinophilic asthma …

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NHS overcharged for liothyronine

According to a provisional ruling by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), pharmaceutical company Concordia has abused its market dominance to overcharge the NHS for the thyroid medication liothyronine.
The CMA found that the NHS spent over £34 million on liothyronine tablets last year, compared with …

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NICE increases IOP threshold for glaucoma referral

NICE has published a new guideline (NG81) on the diagnosis and management of glaucoma in adults. It includes updated recommendations for primary eye care professionals on case finding before referral for chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG; the most common type of glaucoma) and ocular hypertension, …

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New e-tool to improve recognition of meningitis

The charity Meningitis Research Foundation has launched a new an e-learning tool for health professionals to improve their recognition and treatment of young infants who present with suspected bacterial meningitis. The launch was announced at the charity’s annual conference in London in November.
The charity says …

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Sildenafil to be made available over-the-counter

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced that sildenafil 50mg tablets (Viagra Connect) will be reclassified from a prescription-only medicine (POM) to a pharmacy medicine (P) for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men aged 18 years and over. This means that …

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NICE recommends tofacitinib for severe rheumatoid arthritis

NICE has now published final guidance (TA480) recommending the use of tofacitinib (Xeljanz) for the treatment of severe active rheumatoid arthritis.
Tofacitinib, together with methotrexate, is recommended for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis in adults whose disease has responded inadequately to intensive therapy with a …

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BTS publishes new guideline on non-tuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) has published a new guideline on the management of non-tuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease (NTM-PD) – the first guideline on the condition since 2000.
The guideline, published as a supplement to the November 2017 issue of Thorax, is primarily aimed at healthcare …

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