What We're Reading: FDA Panel Clears Antipsychotic Therapy; Slowing the Spread; Wildfires, Contaminated Water

October 12, 2020

A novel antipsychotic therapy is cleared by FDA panel; CDC warns of urgent need to address the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in young adults; contaminated tap water in wildfire-ravaged areas.

Novel Antipsychotic Clears FDA Advisory Committee

Last Friday, the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee voted 15-1 that the combination therapy ALKS 3831, from manufacturer Alkermes, adequately characterized the drug’s safety profile. Reported by FierceBiotech, the therapy combines Eli Lilly’s olanzapine (Zyprexa), one of the optimal treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder that is burdened by extreme weight gain, with samidorphan, an opioid antagonist designed to counter the weight gain and metabolic side effects. While promising, the inclusion of opioids is still a point of contention as the panel disagreed in a 11-6 vote whether labeling would be enough to contain the opioid antagonist.

CDC Study Cites Urgent Need to Curb Coronavirus Spread in Young Adults

A study released Friday by the CDC warns of an “urgent need” to address the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in young adults as increases among these populations often serve as a precursor to transmission among older, higher-risk people. According to The Hill, the study examined 767 counties in June and July that were hot spots for COVID-19 infection and found that the percentage of positive tests first began in people aged 24 and under, before later rising in older, increasingly vulnerable groups.

Contaminated Water Causing Concern

STAT reported that the underlying issue of contaminated tap water in northern California may be further exacerbated by wildfires in the area. According to recent research, fires can lead to water contamination by heating up plastic pipes that can then leach chemicals into the water. Moreover, it’s also possible for damaged, depressurized water systems to suck smoke and pollutants from the air into the pipes. One prominent issue, the presence of the colorless chemical benzene, has become greater in levels of drinking water in the area, with 1 sample from California’s CZU Lightning Complex Fires-affected region finding 42 times more benzene than the state’s acceptable limit.