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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news in brief

Acne drug linked to depression
Scientists at Bath University have drawn a link between Roche's drug for severe acne, Roaccutane, and depression. Writing in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology, the team said they gave Roaccutane to adolescent mice over a six-week period, and monitored their behaviour. While the scientists found no change in the physical abilities of the mice, the creatures spent significantly more time immobile in a range of laboratory assessments designed to test their response to stress. ìEstablishing a link between the active molecules within the drug and a change in depression-related behaviour, albeit in mice, is an important step forward in our understanding of the effects of this drug in the wider context of brain function,î said researcher, Dr Sarah Bailey.

Avandia may prevent diabetes, says study
GSK's Avandia (rosiglitazone), in combination with diet and exercise, decreased the risk of high-risk patients developing type II diabetes by 62 per cent compared to placebo, according to the results of a DREAM (Diabetes REduction Assessment with ramipril and rosiglitazone Medication) study. In one arm of the study, patients with pre-diabetes, or higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, were randomised to receive a once-daily dose of Avandia or placebo. After a median follow-up of three years, 280 patients taking Avandia developed diabetes, compared to 658 patients who took placebo. The findings also showed that 51 per cent of patients taking Avandia returned to normal blood glucose levels, compared with 30 per cent of those taking placebo.

Aclasta effective in fracture risk reduction
Novartis says clinical tests have shown its once-yearly medicine, Aclasta, had proved effective in reducing incidence of bone fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO). Data from the phase III trials showed benefits across the most common fracture sites - hip, spine and non-spine - with the effects sustained over three years. Aclasta met the study's two primary endpoints as patients experienced a 70 per cent risk reduction in new spine fractures and a 40 per cent risk reduction in hip fractures, the company said. The drug also met all secondary endpoints, including risk reduction in clinical spine fractures and non-spine fractures.

30th September 2008

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