, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 111-117
Date: 13 Nov 2008

Update in New Medications for Primary Care

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Each year, the FDA approves dozens of new drugs for use in clinical practice. Clinicians must wade through a staggering amount of evidence to determine which drugs will be important new additions to their practice. Many of the new drugs relate to specialty practices, such as chemotherapeutic agents and immune-based therapies. A fraction of the newly approved drugs are potentially relevant for primary care clinicians. Most of these drugs are “me too” drugs that are a new drug within an existing class of medications. For example, the FDA may approve a new beta-blocker or a new proton-pump inhibitor. When these types of new drugs are as effective and safe as existing drugs, they are welcome primarily when their cost to patients and health plans is lower than that of currently available drugs.

However, a small number of drugs each year are novel and relevant for primary care practice. These are drugs that work through a completely new mechanism compared to existing therapies and have the po ...