Healthcare online Keeping you up-to-date
VOL.  14     ISSUE:  9     September 2016 Medical Services Department

SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.





P G Dip. Business Management





Dear Doctor:

Welcome to our healthcare bulletin 'e-SQUARE' .

Our current issue focused on some interesting features like

"New Biologic Drug !", "Prostate Cancer !", "Epilepsy & Pregnancy !", "Antibacterial Soaps !", "Breast Cancer & Radiation !", "Dosing Errors !".

In our regular feature, we have some new products information of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. as well.

Please send us your feedback !

Click on to reply mode.

Yours sincerely,


Editorial Team

Reply Mode      : e-square@squaregroup.com

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of its editor or SQUARE PHARMACEUTICALS LTD.

 New Biologic Drug !

                                                         New Biologic Drug Tackles Hard-to-Control Asthma

A new injectable drug reduces flare-ups in patients with severe asthma that is not controlled by steroid inhalers alone, two new trials show. The drug, benralizumab, is a biologic that works by killing white blood cells called eosinophils. These are present in large numbers in such patients, and they have been linked to severe asthma. If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, benralizumab would join two similar drugs -- mepolizumab and reslizumab in fighting hard-to-control asthma. "We can offer patients who frequently require courses of oral corticosteroids and have a certain level of eosinophils a very effective treatment," said by lead researcher. With the right patient with the right characteristics, the level of asthma severity can be significantly modified. One potential advantage of benralizumab is that it can be given less often. The treatments that we have now are done every two weeks or once a month, but benralizumab can be given every two months, which may lower the cost. The available drugs cost about $25,000 to $30,000 a year and are covered by insurance, including Medicare, lead researcher added. The current drugs have been approved for patients aged 12 and older. If you have severe asthma and you're not getting the control that you need, ask your doctor about these medications. In the first trial, more than 1,300 patients aged 12 to 75 were randomly assigned to one of three groups: benralizumab given every four weeks; benralizumab given every eight weeks; or a placebo. In addition, the patients continued to use high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonistís inhalers to control their asthma. Over 52 weeks, the researchers found that patients taking benralizumab had a 28 percent to 36 percent reduction in flare-ups, compared with a placebo. Patients on benralizumab also showed improved lung function. The most common side effects were cold-like symptoms in 20 percent of those receiving benralizumab, versus 21 percent of those on a placebo, and worsening asthma, 12 percent versus 15 percent, respectively. Among patients taking benralizumab, four suffered serious side effects. One patient had allergic granulomatous (inflammation of blood vessels), one patient had a panic attack and one had paresthesia (pins and needles). Among those receiving the placebo, one had a skin reaction at the site of the injection. Respiratory disease experts see this new drug as another breakthrough in treating hard-to-control asthma.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, September 2016

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 Prostate Cancer !

    Prostate Cancer Treatments: Different Choices for Different Men  

A large, decade-long study offers new insights into the treatment dilemmas that many men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Researcher finds that for certain men, death rates from prostate cancer were roughly the same over several years regardless of whether they chose to be monitored called "watchful waiting" or underwent radiation or had their prostate removed. Men who were otherwise largely healthy and chose to be monitored were twice as likely as the others to see their cancer spread over the 10-year study period. "The healthier you are and the longer your life expectancy, the more risk you're taking with surveillance and the good news is that if you are in good health and seeking treatment, you don't have to worry about one (radiation vs. prostate removal) being inferior to the other" quoted by lead researcher. You can make your decision based on the potential side effects and what you're willing to accept -lead researcher added. Researcher randomly assigned more than 1,600 prostate cancer patients aged 50 to 69 to undergo one of three treatments: "active monitoring" (with an eye toward catching any sign of the cancer getting worse), radiation or removal of the prostate. Survival from localized prostate cancer was approximately 99 percent, irrespective of the treatment assigned. However, the cancer spread in 33 of the 545 men in the monitoring group compared to 13 of 553 in the surgery group and 16 of 545 in the radiation group. Patients and physicians now know from this study that there is no need to rush to make a decision about treatment if the patient has localized prostate cancer. There is a very good chance of survival 99 percent at a median of 10 years and this is the same for all the groups. This means there is time to consider and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the different treatment strategies. 

SOURCE: HealthDay News, September 2016

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 Epilepsy & Pregnancy !

                                                 Newer Epilepsy Drugs May Be Safer During Pregnancy

Women who take the new epilepsy drugs levetiracetam and topiramate during pregnancy don't run the risk of harming their infant's mental development but the commonly prescribed anti-seizure drug valproate was linked with lower IQs in children, especially when taken at higher doses. Lead researcher said that, the treatment of epilepsy in women who are considering a pregnancy or are pregnant involves optimizing the health of the mother as well as keeping the risk to the fetus as low as possible. Children exposed to levetiracetam or topiramate in the womb did not differ from children not exposed to these drugs. And they had better outcomes than the children exposed to valproate in terms of their IQ, thinking and language skills. For the study, researcher used the U.K. Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register to identify 171 women with epilepsy who had a child between 5 and 9 years old. During their pregnancy, 42 of the women took levetiracetam, 27 took topiramate, and 47 took valproate, the researchers said. Researcher compared the women with epilepsy with 55 women who did not take epilepsy drugs during pregnancy. The children had their IQ measured and took tests on verbal and nonverbal comprehension and how fast they could process visual information. The researchers found that children of women who took levetiracetam or topiramate did not have lower IQs or other thinking-skill problems, compared with kids of mothers who did not take these drugs, no matter what dose of these drugs were taken. Because the registry the researcher used does not include all women with epilepsy, the findings might not apply to all women with the conditions. Lead researcher also said that topiramate, one of the newer drugs, has been associated with an increased risk of birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, September 2016

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 Antibacterial Soaps !

                                            FDA Cracks Down on Antibacterial Soaps

People should remain diligent about washing their hands with regular soap and water to avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs, especially during the start of the school year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is banning most antibacterial soaps and body washes currently on store shelves, arguing that the products create potential health risks but don't perform any better than plain old soap and water. The ban covers soaps and body washes containing triclosan and triclocarban, the two most common antibacterial ingredients. Another 17 active ingredients also are included in the ban. Most consumer wash products labeled 'antibacterial' or 'antimicrobial' contain at least one of the antibacterial ingredients addressed in this final rule. There are more than 2,100 antibacterial soaps sold today, representing about 40 percent of the overall soap market, researcher said. Researcher also added that antibacterial soaps might be contributing to bacterial resistance. In the United States, at least 2 million people a year become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 die from these infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA also noted other health concerns related to long-term use of the now-banned active ingredients. Recent studies have shown that triclosan can affect the thyroid, estrogen and testosterone systems of mammals, which could have implications for human health. At the same time, manufacturers failed to show that their antibacterial products are any better than ordinary soap and water at preventing the spread of germs, the FDA said. The new ban does not cover hand sanitizer gels or wipes, which are not used with water and often contain alcohol as the active ingredient. It also does not cover antiseptics used in health care settings. The FDA estimates that this ban will reduce Americans' exposure to these active ingredients by 2.2 million pounds per year. Triclosan is most often included in liquid soap, while triclocarban is found in bar soaps. In terms of effectiveness the manufacturers had to prove to the FDA that antibacterial soaps worked better than plain soap and water at preventing the spread of germs or reducing infections. Antibacterial soaps containing benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol will remain on the market while manufacturers develop additional safety and effectiveness data for these ingredients, researcher said.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, September 2016

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Breast Cancer & Radiation !

                            More Breast Cancer Patients Should Consider Radiation, New Guidelines Say

New guidelines issued by three leading cancer organizations suggest that more breast cancer patients should consider radiation therapy after a mastectomy. Overall, the guidelines say there's enough evidence to show radiation treatment after a mastectomy decreases the risk of breast cancer recurrence, and that even women with smaller tumors and three or fewer lymph nodes involved can benefit from the therapy. "The new guidelines say there is clear evidence that the benefit of [post-mastectomy radiation therapy] extends to women with limited lymph node involvement," said the lead researcher. Radiation treatment expert welcomed the updated recommendations. The new guidelines help clarify what used to be a gray area. In the past, if a woman had a small tumor, less than 5 centimeters, and not more than three or four positive lymph nodes, many doctors would say she does not need. The guidelines don't offer a single formula for which patients need radiation therapy. But they do focus on the group of women for whom there is the most debate about the value of radiation. There is a great deal of controversy about whether women with one, two or three lymph nodes [with cancer] have sufficient risk to warrant radiation or for women with four or more lymph nodes involved, everyone would recommend radiation. The guidelines also strongly support input from all specialists who treat breast cancer in making the decision about radiation treatment. That typically includes the surgeon, radiation physician and an oncologist. Side effects can include redness of the skin, swelling and skin breakdown severe enough to compromise future breast reconstruction. Patients are to expect the surgeon to have consulted with the radiation oncologist. If a woman's doctor tells her she does not need radiation after a mastectomy, the woman should be told why and she should ask if the radiation oncologist weighed in on the decision.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, September 2016

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Dosing Errors !

                                                             Dosing Errors Common with Kids' Liquid Meds

Parents may give their child too much or too little medicine when dispensing liquid medication, especially if they use a dosing cup. Four out of five parents made at least one dosing error when using a dosing cup or an oral syringe, researchers found during laboratory experiments. Often, those errors were large enough to cause concern, lead researcher added. Over 20 percent of parents made at least one dosing error that was more than two times the dose that was listed on the label. Research revealed that dosing cups proved much less reliable than an oral syringe in terms of dosage. Parents had four times the odds of making an error with a cup compared with a syringe. These errors could result in a child receiving an overdose and suffering serious health consequences. When we're talking about a very small child, you can easily and the consequences could be as dire as death, depending on the medication. More than two-thirds of the dosing errors made during the new study involved overdosing, the researchers added. Children also might receive too little medicine to treat what ails them but this is particularly an issue for antibiotics, where you really want them to get the correct dose of medication. Researchers asked 2,110 parents of children age 8 or younger to measure nine doses of liquid medication in random order. The exercises involved different measuring units (milliliters and teaspoons) and either a dosing cup or oral syringes. Parents doled out the wrong dose 43 percent of the time when using a dosing cup, compared to 16 percent of the time when using an oral syringe, according to the findings. Missing the targeted measuring line in a wide cup will cause a larger error than the same mistake in a narrow syringe and people also can pour the wrong amount if they aren't holding the cup flat or at eye level. More errors also occurred when parents were provided teaspoon-only medication labels but were given a measuring tool that listed both milliliters and teaspoons, lead researcher added. To measure out the most accurate dose, parents should pour liquid medication into a dosing cup, and then draw it up into an oral syringe. That method provides a quick double-check of the dose, and also prevents a syringe from potentially contaminating a bottle of medicine.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, September 2016

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New Products of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

  Product TylaceTM Effervescent Tablet
  Generic Name Acetylcysteine USP
Strength 600 mg
  Dosage form Tablet
  Therapeutic Category Expectorant
  Product AnemaTM Saline Laxative
Generic Name Monobasic Sodium Phospate and Dibasic Sodium Phosphate
Strength 133 ml
Dosage form Enema
Therapeutic Category Laxative
  Product CeevitTM DS Tablet
  Generic Name Vitamin C (Vitamins and Minerals)
  Strength 500 mg
  Dosage form Tablet
  Therapeutic Category Vitamin C

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