It’s time for my annual report about the novel medications that were approved in 2020. I’ve been writing this yearly article for more than 20 years! Many drugs in 2020 were fast-tracked in order to come to market faster.

While you read this, keep in mind that I’m read worldwide, but I am only listing the American brand names, so please ask your doctor what the brand name is in your country.

All are available via prescription only.

 

Pizensy (lactitol), oral

This medication is used for constipation, especially the unrelenting type that has no obvious cause (termed “idiopathic”).

Lactitol is the active (generic) ingredient name, which is a common additive in many prescription drugs. It has been around and has been used as a sweetener for low-calorie foods. You may have heard of its cousins, which are also used so sweeten foods: erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol.

 

Ayvakit (avapritinib), oral

This medication is for stomach tumors, and it’s taken once daily on an empty stomach.

The FDA fast-tracked approval for this medication based upon a nationwide test conducted on 204 patients with a metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) or one that could not be surgically removed. The drug seeks to shrink the tumor.

 

Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw), IV injection

This medication is given as an infusion to people with a specific eye problem caused by Graves’ disease. The disorder sometimes causes a person’s eyes to bulge out, and Tepezza helps over time.

It does not stop the autoimmune process. Tepezza seems to flare up problems for people who have preexisting inflammatory bowel disease.

 

Nurtec ODT (oral disintegrating tablets), rimegepant, oral

These quickly dissolving pills work for a day or two and help with symptoms of a migraine.

In a study of 1,351 people, those who took the drug experienced improvement from light and sound sensitivity, as well as nausea at the two-hour interval (compared to the placebo group).

This is a treatment, not a preventative agent.

 

Sarclisa (isatuximab), injection

Used for the treatment of resistant multiple myeloma, this newer agent is slightly easier to administer because it’s faster for patients.

As part of its mechanism of action, it acts like a CD38 inhibitor, binding to myeloma cells and blocking growth or slowing spread. Before Sarclisa, one had to also take an FDA-approved CD38 inhibitor, such as daratumumab, along with other treatments.

This new drug is not a first-line agent; it is for people who have not responded to other meds.

 

Retevmo (selpercatinib), oral

This treats people with either thyroid cancer or non-small-cell lung cancer.

It’s in a category of drugs called “kinase inhibitors,” and it’s not like traditional chemotherapy. It is very targeted, so there are fewer side effects.

 

This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or treat your disease. For more information about the author, visit suzycohen.com.

Have questions?

We are just a click away!