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January 5, 2006
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Seroquel submitted for bipolar depression
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Driver was on a suicide mission, coroner rules
Seroquel to Treat Depression In Case Of Bipolar Disorder
Free program to focus on mental illness
1 in 4 Report Mental Illness Symptoms
Company in drug licence plea to US; New mental health therapy.
Daily Post (Liverpool, England); 1/4/2006
Byline: BY DAVID WINNING Daily Post Correspondent
DRUGS giant AstraZeneca chased a world first yesterday by filing an application in the United States for a single treatment for manic depression, bipolar disorder.
AstraZeneca, led by chief executive Tom McKillop, and which has a major research centre of excellence in Cheshire, asked regulators across the Atlantic to approve Seroquel for treating both manic and depressive episodes of sufferers.
The best-selling drug is only licensed for the treatment of mania at present, but the Anglo-Swedish company has put forward new clinical data that indicates it is effective in controlling depressive episodes as well.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that affects around 3% to 4% of the adult population and is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world.
People with the illness experience severe mood swings, feeling euphoric during episodes of mania and then suffering from the lows associated with depression.
The submission of a supplemental New Drug Application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was widely expected in the City after AstraZeneca trumpeted the results of trials involving Seroquel in October.
AstraZeneca described the submission as an "important milestone in the history" of Seroquel, which generated sales of $2bn (pounds 1.16bn) in 2004.
The company added: "If Seroquel receives approval from the FDA to treat bipolar depression, it would be the only single agent indicated to treat both the depressive and manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder."
AstraZeneca said trials using different doses of Seroquel found that it significantly reduced levels of bipolar depression compared with a placebo within their first week.
Symptoms continued to be reduced throughout the eight week study, said the company.
Seroquel has been licensed for the treatment of schizophrenia since 1997.
Shares in AstraZeneca rose 1% to hit their highest level in more than two years following the announcement.
COPYRIGHT 2006 MGN Ltd.
PREVENTIVE CARE INSURANCE PROVISIONS PROMPT DEBATE.
The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH); 1/3/2006
Byline: Carrie Spencer Ghose Associated Press
COLUMBUS -- For Debi Martin, the math is simple: Spending $73 on chemically sensitive strips for testing blood sugar saved her insurance company $20,000 for hospitalization when her diabetic daughter Jessi had an infection.
"Why would health insurance readily pay for hospitalization, but not be willing to cover diabetes tools to avoid requiring hospitalization in the first place?" Martin, of Williamsburg in Clermont County, asked a Senate committee in September.
But skeptics in the legislature and business are not sure that bills requiring certain health insurers to cover preventive care for diabetes and mental illness would accomplish the goal of equal coverage. The state regulates only 39 percent of the insurance market, according to the trade group the Ohio Association of Health Plans.
An independent study also concluded that the bills would cause premiums to increase statewide by 3 percent for the diabetes coverage and 1 percent for the mental health coverage, said Chip Palazzo, spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio.
The company's plans already provide the coverage sought in the bills, he said.
Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, often has said he would not accept insurance mandates because they might make coverage hard to afford for small businesses.
"Any new state mandate has to meet a very high burden, which is that it really has to demonstrate that it could actually save money for the plans," he said recently.
The diabetes bill, by Sen. Jeffry Armbruster, R-North Ridgeville, would require payment for equipment, supplies and education in managing the disease, including 10 hours of training in the first year after diagnosis.
Such training -- including how to test blood sugar and administer insulin --is essential, said Lisa Torok, a nurse from Bethel in Clermont County whose daughter was diagnosed with diabetes in 2004. Insurance paid for a three-day hospital stay, but Torok got a nearly $2,000 bill for the training, she said.
The other bill, by Sen. Robert Spada, R-North Royalton, would require coverage for medication and therapy for severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and panic attacks. The bill would allow an employer to opt out if the new coverage causes premiums to rise more than 1 percent.
Several hearings were held last year, but the chairman of the committee that handles insurance law, GOP Sen. Steve Stivers of Columbus, was overseas on military duty. Now home, he said he's willing to listen to supporters but, for now, agrees with Taft.
"If there's compelling evidence for why this should be a state mandate, I'm willing to support it," Stivers said. "I'm not there yet."
Spada's son has bipolar disorder, which causes drastic mood swings, but is being managed with medication. He told the committee it's unfair that his son's insurance can cut him off after spending $550 a year on treatment, while agreeing to spend up to $1 million on a patient with Parkinson's.
Spada said he's working to show how the bill would save small businesses money instead of harming them -- not only through lower health care costs, but also increased productivity if ill employees aren't missing work.
"We can come up with a significant inclusive number," he said. "That might not convince some employers. I think the state and society in general saves money."
The employers, though, sound hard to convince.
Herman Harrison, president of Cincinnati-based Foster Transformer Co., which has had a 20 percent increase in health insurance premiums the past five years, said being required to add coverage might force him to cut dental and vision coverage for those who even stick with the plan.
His company now covers only half the cost, and several employees opt to remain uninsured because they can't afford their half of the premium.
COPYRIGHT 2006 The Cincinnati Post. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of the Dialog Corporation by Gale Group.
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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