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FDA approves first of new class of antibiotic

By Wire services
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 13, 2003

WASHINGTON - A new type of antibiotic has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of complicated skin infections that affect millions of patients each year.

The chemical name of the new drug is daptomycin. It will be marketed under the brand name Cubicin by Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Lexington, Mass.

"This drug is an important contribution to the cache of drugs that doctors can use to treat serious infections," said Dr. Janice M. Soreth, director of the division of anti-infection drug products at the FDA.

The drug is to be given by injection. It is approved for the treatment of serious infections, usually among hospitalized patients, that involve the skin. These could include abscesses, postsurgical skin wound infections and skin ulcers.

Cubicin is the first of a new class of antibiotics and is part of a continuing effort by industry and government to develop drugs that are more effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Cubicin is specifically approved for treatment of skin infections caused by members of the staphylococcus family of bacteria, including S. aureus, a frequent cause of serious and resistant infections. The drug also is indicated for Enterococcus faecalis, which can cause serious systemic infections.

Conjoined twins separated

BALTIMORE - Surgeons have successfully separated 2-month-old twin girls who were joined at the abdomen and shared a liver, the hospital announced Friday.

Faithful and Favour Sobowale-Davies, who are from Nigeria, were "doing well" after Thursday's surgery, said Dr. Paul Colombani, director of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

"The surgery went very smoothly, with no problems at all," he said.

In Los Angeles, another pair of conjoined baby girls who were separated Thursday remained in serious condition Friday, but had stable vital signs.

The 9-month-old identical twins, identified only as Baby A and Baby B, were separated in a marathon surgery involving about 60 medical personnel.

"There is no reason to think they will not survive or lead healthy lives," said Dr. James Stein, leader of the surgical team.

In New York, 17-month-old Filipino twins who are joined at the head started physical therapy Friday as neurosurgeons prepared for a series of separation surgeries.

Doctors hope to double Carl and Clarence Aguirre's weight and strengthen their muscles before the surgeries, which are expected to take place next month.

Dr. James Goodrich, director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, said since the twins have separate brains, he is optimistic they can be separated without severe neurological damage.

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