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FluMist back on the 2018-2019 flu vaccine schedule

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to reinstate the intranasal quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) (FluMist) to the 2018-2019 influenza vaccine schedule. In 2016, the ACIP removed the LAIV from the vaccine schedule after reviewing data from 2013 to 2016, which showed that the influenza vaccine's effectiveness was only 3%.


AstraZeneca, the maker of the LAIV, believes there were problems with the virus strain used in the original H1N1 component of the vaccine and have since replaced it. According to the company, the recommendation to put the LAIV back on the vaccine schedule follows positive findings from a U.S. study evaluating the shedding and antibody responses of the H1N1 strain in FluMist in children between ages 2 and under 4 years.


In the recent vote, the ACIP also voted to add the LAIV back into the Vaccines for Children Program. The ACIP recommendation will be final when it is published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


New drug approved for treatment of pain associated with PHN

The FDA approved lidocaine topical system (ZTlido) for the relief of pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). The lidocaine topical system is made of a nonaqueous adhesive containing 1.8% lidocaine, and was designed to maintain optimum skin contact throughout the 12-hour administration period. It is a product of Scilex Pharmaceuticals.


Patients should be instructed to apply the prescribed number (the maximum number is 3) of the lidocaine topical system to intact skin and to cover the most painful area for up to 12 hours within a 24-hour period. Patients should be advised to avoid skin contact with water when wearing the lidocaine topical system. Patients should also be instructed to avoid eye contact and wash hands immediately after applying the topical system.


Common adverse reactions include irritation, erythema, and pruritus at the application site.


Updated recommendations for hepatitis B vaccination

The CDC's ACIP has issued updated recommendations for the prevention of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The new recommendations include:


* universal hepatitis B vaccination within 24 hours of birth for medically stable infants weighing 2,000 g or more


* testing pregnant women who are positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) for HBV DNA


* postvaccination serologic testing for infants whose mothers' HBsAg status remains unknown indefinitely (for example, when a parent or individual with lawful custody surrenders an infant confidentially shortly after birth)


* single-dose revaccination for infants born to HBsAg-positive women not responding to the initial vaccine series


* vaccination for individuals with chronic liver disease


* removal of permissive language for delaying the birth dose until after hospital discharge.



The new recommendations were published in the January 21, 2018, issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Oral suspension ADHD drug now available

Amphetamine extended-release oral suspension (Adzenys ER) for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in patients age 6 years or older is now available. The once-daily medication is a controlled substance Schedule II drug.


The medication does not require reconstitution or refrigeration and uses the same modified-release drug-delivery technology seen in the company's amphetamine extended-release orally disintegrating tablet (Adzenys XR-ODT). Both medications are considered bioequivalent to the mixed salts of a single-entity amphetamine extended-release product (Adderall XR) according to the manufacturer, Neos Therapeutics.

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Amphetamine ER oral suspension is available as 1.25 mg/mL orange-flavored oral suspension in 450 mL bottles.