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      Assessing the potential impact of non-proprietary drug copies on quality of medicine and treatment in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis: the experience with fingolimod

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          Fingolimod is a once-daily oral treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis, the proprietary production processes of which are tightly controlled, owing to its susceptibility to contamination by impurities, including genotoxic impurities. Many markets produce nonproprietary medicines; assessing their efficacy and safety is difficult as regulators may approve nonproprietary drugs without bioequivalence data, genotoxic evaluation, or risk management plans (RMPs). This assessment is especially important for fingolimod given its solubility/bioavailability profile, genotoxicity risk, and low-dose final product (0.5 mg). This paper presents an evaluation of the quality of proprietary and nonproprietary fingolimod variants.


          Proprietary fingolimod was used as a reference substance against which eleven nonproprietary fingolimod copies were assessed. The microparticle size distribution of each compound was assessed by laser light diffraction, and inorganic impurity content by sulfated ash testing. Heavy metals content was quantified using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, and levels of unspecified impurities by high-performance liquid chromatography. Solubility was assessed in a range of solvents at different pH values. Key information from the fingolimod RMP is also presented.


          Nonproprietary fingolimod variants exhibited properties out of proprietary or internationally accepted specifications, including differences in particle size distribution and levels of impurities such as heavy metals. For microparticle size and heavy metals, all tested fingolimod copies were out-of-specification by several-fold magnitudes. Proprietary fingolimod has a well-defined RMP, highlighting known and potential mid- to long-term safety risks, and risk-minimization and pharmacovigilance procedures.


          Nonproprietary fingolimod copies produced by processes less well controlled than or altered from proprietary production processes may reduce product reproducibility and quality, potentially presenting risks to patients. Safety data and risk-minimization strategies for proprietary fingolimod may not apply to the nonproprietary fingolimod copies evaluated here. Market authorization of nonproprietary fingolimod copies should require an appropriate RMP to minimize risks to patients.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection.

          Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. The immunologic mechanisms whereby zinc modulates increased susceptibility to infection have been studied for several decades. It is clear that zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, from the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within lymphocytes. Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells. Zinc deficiency also affects development of acquired immunity by preventing both the outgrowth and certain functions of T lymphocytes such as activation, Th1 cytokine production, and B lymphocyte help. Likewise, B lymphocyte development and antibody production, particularly immunoglobulin G, is compromised. The macrophage, a pivotal cell in many immunologic functions, is adversely affected by zinc deficiency, which can dysregulate intracellular killing, cytokine production, and phagocytosis. The effects of zinc on these key immunologic mediators is rooted in the myriad roles for zinc in basic cellular functions such as DNA replication, RNA transcription, cell division, and cell activation. Apoptosis is potentiated by zinc deficiency. Zinc also functions as an antioxidant and can stabilize membranes. This review explores these aspects of zinc biology of the immune system and attempts to provide a biological basis for the altered host resistance to infections observed during zinc deficiency and supplementation.
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            Lead Exposure and Cardiovascular Disease—A Systematic Review

            Objective This systematic review evaluates the evidence on the association between lead exposure and cardiovascular end points in human populations. Methods We reviewed all observational studies from database searches and citations regarding lead and cardiovascular end points. Results A positive association of lead exposure with blood pressure has been identified in numerous studies in different settings, including prospective studies and in relatively homogeneous socioeconomic status groups. Several studies have identified a dose–response relationship. Although the magnitude of this association is modest, it may be underestimated by measurement error. The hypertensive effects of lead have been confirmed in experimental models. Beyond hypertension, studies in general populations have identified a positive association of lead exposure with clinical cardiovascular outcomes (cardiovascular, coronary heart disease, and stroke mortality; and peripheral arterial disease), but the number of studies is small. In some studies these associations were observed at blood lead levels < 5 μg/dL. Conclusions We conclude that the evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship of lead exposure with hypertension. We conclude that the evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship of lead exposure with clinical cardiovascular outcomes. There is also suggestive but insufficient evidence to infer a causal relationship of lead exposure with heart rate variability. Public Health Implications These findings have immediate public health implications. Current occupational safety standards for blood lead must be lowered and a criterion for screening elevated lead exposure needs to be established in adults. Risk assessment and economic analyses of lead exposure impact must include the cardiovascular effects of lead. Finally, regulatory and public health interventions must be developed and implemented to further prevent and reduce lead exposure.
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              The long-term effects of exposure to low doses of lead in childhood. An 11-year follow-up report.

              To determine whether the effects of low-level lead exposure persist, we reexamined 132 of 270 young adults who had initially been studied as primary school-children in 1975 through 1978. In the earlier study, neurobehavioral functioning was found to be inversely related to dentin lead levels. As compared with those we restudied, the other 138 subjects had had somewhat higher lead levels on earlier analysis, as well as significantly lower IQ scores and poorer teachers' ratings of classroom behavior. When the 132 subjects were reexamined in 1988, impairment in neurobehavioral function was still found to be related to the lead content of teeth shed at the ages of six and seven. The young people with dentin lead levels greater than 20 ppm had a markedly higher risk of dropping out of high school (adjusted odds ratio, 7.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 40.7) and of having a reading disability (odds ratio, 5.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.7 to 19.7) as compared with those with dentin lead levels less than 10 ppm. Higher lead levels in childhood were also significantly associated with lower class standing in high school, increased absenteeism, lower vocabulary and grammatical-reasoning scores, poorer hand-eye coordination, longer reaction times, and slower finger tapping. No significant associations were found with the results of 10 other tests of neurobehavioral functioning. Lead levels were inversely related to self-reports of minor delinquent activity. We conclude that exposure to lead in childhood is associated with deficits in central nervous system functioning that persist into young adulthood.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                25 June 2014
                : 8
                : 859-867
                [1 ]Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, Foundation for the Fight against Infant Neurological Illnesses, Buenos Aires, Argentina
                [2 ]Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition, Mexico City, Mexico
                [3 ]Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jorge Correale, Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, Foundation for the Fight against Infant Neurological Illnesses, Montañeses 2325, (1428) Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tel +54 11 5777 3200, ext 2704/2706/2708, Fax +54 11 5777 3209, Email jcorreale@ 123456fleni.org.ar
                © 2014 Correale et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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