Morning RX: August 9, 2023


COVID-19 hospitalizations tick up, Wegovy shows cardiovascular benefit, and health care organizations team up to fight overdose deaths in New Jersey.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Increase

Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 have increased for the third consecutive week, US News reported. According to data from the CDC, COVID-19 hospitalizations for the last week in July ticked up by 12% compared to the previous week. Hospital admissions were just over 9000, or 2.73 per 100000. However, the rise in admissions is not nearly as bad as those seen in previous summers. COVID-19 hospital admissions are still considered “low” across most of the country, with only a small number of counties reporting a “medium” level.

Wegovy Shows Significant Cardiovascular Benefit

Data from the SELECT trial (NCT03574597) has showed that 2.4 mg of subcutaneous once weekly semaglutide (Wegovy) reduced major adverse cardiovascular events in overweight or obese patients by 20%, Novo Nordisk announced in a press release. The trial, which followed participants for 5 years, included 17604 adults ages 45 years or older with no prior history of diabetes. The health care company plans to file for regulatory approvals of a label indication expansion in the US and Europe later in 2023.

"People living with obesity have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but to date, there are no approved weight management medications proven to deliver effective weight management while also reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death,” Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president for development at Novo Nordisk, said in a release. “SELECT is a landmark trial and has demonstrated that semaglutide 2.4 mg has the potential to change how obesity is regarded and treated.”

Health Care Organizations Partner to Fight Overdose Epidemic in NJ

In an effort to combat the overdose epidemic in New Jersey, 3 health care organizations have teamed up to pilot a take-home naloxone program. The non-profit Dispensary of Hope, HIKMA Pharmaceuticals, and Hackensack Meridian Health will deliver 8 mg of naloxone HCl nasal spray (Kloxxado) free of charge to patients at high risk of an opioid overdose. The pilot, which began in May, hopes to dispense 2500 doses of naloxone to help those at high-risk.

"Even though naloxone medications like Kloxxado can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, not enough patients at risk have access to naloxone," Hillary Blackburn, chief pharmacy officer at Dispensary of Hope, said in a release. "With 40% of overdoses happening in front of another person, we know we can save lives by engaging in creative strategies to deliver pragmatic results."

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