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Arthritis Drug May Help Eczema Patients, Too

From eMPR.com:

A drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was effective in patients with moderate to severe eczema, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine. Study findings are published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.

Study authors hypothesized that tofacitinib citrate, a janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, could interrupt the immune response that causes eczema. Previous studies had shown that tofacitinib citrate reversed two skin conditions: vitiligo and alopecia areata.

Study findings suggest tofacitinib may be beneficial for the treatment of eczema. More research is needed to assess the drug's long-term efficacy and safety in patients with eczema.

Posted: 7/28/2015 2:41:00 PM

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Monsanto prevails in PCB lawsuit

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A St. Louis County jury has found that Monsanto is not liable in a series of deaths and illnesses suffered by people who were exposed to the PCBs manufactured by the company until the late 1970s.

The jury found in favor of the agriculture giant after a full day of deliberations Monday, according to a St. Louis County Circuit Court clerk. The trial, involving plaintiffs from around the country, took nearly a month.

The lawsuit, filed against Monsanto, Solutia, Pharmacia and Pfizer, sought relief for plaintiffs who developed lymphohematopoietic cancer after being exposed to PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, made by Monsanto. The company was the primary U.S. manufacturer of PCBs from 1929 to 1977, according to the lawsuit. They were used in a range of products, including food packaging and paint, before being banned in the late 1970s.

“The jury found the evidence doesn’t support the assertion that Monsanto’s conduct or the historic use of PCB products was the cause of the plaintiffs’ harms,” the company said in a written statement that also made reference to a similar jury decision last year in California.

An attorney for the plaintiffs did not return a call seeking comment.

Posted: 7/28/2015 2:37:00 PM

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Legal Loophole Closed on Potent Designer Drug

From Courthouse News Service:

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final order Friday placing an extremely potent street drug on the schedule of controlled substances after dozens of deaths.

Acetyl fentanyl, which the agency says is 15.7 times more potent than morphine and up to five times more powerful than heroin, is particularly dangerous because the range between the effective dose and the lethal dose is narrow.

The Center of Disease Control issued an alert on acetyl fentanyl in June 2013, after 14 deaths in Rhode Island were attributed to the drug over a three month period.

A total of 39 known deaths have been reported in Rhode Island, North Carolina, California, Louisiana, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

But the Drug Enforcement Administration says it is likely that emergency room admissions and deaths due to this drug are under-reported because "standard immunoassays cannot differentiate acetyl fentanyl from fentanyl."

Other "clandestinely produced fentanyl-like substances, commonly known as designer drugs" have surfaced since the late 1970s and 1980s and been placed on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.

Due to the "imminent hazard to public safety," today's action by the DEA temporarily places the drug on Schedule 1 under the CSA, and it is effective immediately for up to two years, with a possible extension of one additional year, pending completion of the permanent scheduling process.

Posted: 7/20/2015 11:50:00 AM

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