Drugs Copackaged to Treat Arthritis and Prevent Ulcers

Daphne Allen

Naprosyn and Prevacid are copackaged in a child-resistant blister card.

Packaging plays a key role in TAP Pharmaceuticals� (Lake Forest, IL) new regimen for treating arthritis. The Prevacid NapraPAC package houses a combination therapy of naproxen 375- or 500-mg tablets and lansoprazole delayed-release 15-mg capsules, better known as Naprosyn and Prevacid, respectively. The two drugs are copackaged in a child-resistant carded blister.

�Prevacid is the only proton-pump inhibitor approved by FDA for the risk reduction of stomach ulcers associated with non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) use,� says Katherine Stueland, manager of public affairs for TAP Pharmaceuticals. �We learned that doctors were prescribing Prevacid with Naprosyn, an NSAID.�

When prescribed alone, Prevacid is supplied in a bottle. �But for a combination therapy, we clearly needed to define the treatment regimen for proper dosing,� says Stueland. �So we came up with the idea of putting both drugs together in unique packaging. Now, doctors only have to write one prescription for the Prevacid NapraPAC 500.� She adds that they are expecting that patients will only be charged one copayment for the combination therapy. 

The copackaged therapy already appears to be well received. �Prevacid NapraPAC represents an easy-to-use option in one prescription for arthritis patients who must take antiinflammatory agents to relieve their pain, but who also need to reduce the risk of reoccurrence of stomach ulcers,� says A. Mark Fendrick, MD, associate professor of internal medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.

Stueland explains that TAP set out to find a child-resistant package that was easy for arthritis sufferers to open. �After an exhaustive search of available F=1 child-resistant packages, we conducted a series of qualitative market research studies that included patients, pharmacists, and doctors,� she says.

The firm eventually chose DosePak from MeadWestvaco. �It was perceived to be easier to open, intuitive, and more mobile for travel than the other package designs [we considered],� she says. TAP had not worked with MeadWestvaco prior to this project. The package is filled and sealed by Anderson Packaging (Rockford, IL). 

Prevacid NapraPAC 500 is the first combination therapy packaged in DosePak, says Larry Blake, director of marketing for MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging. TAP will also be using DosePak for the therapy�s physician sample. �There is continuity between the sample and trade packages. Using DosePak, TAP is the first of our customers trying to emulate the trade pack with the sample,� Blake says.

TAP currently works with Anderson on another combination package, PREVPAC. �The pack contains a daily multiple-drug treatment consisting of lansoprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin, which is intended to eliminate Helicobacter pylori to reduce the risk of duodenal ulcer recurrence,� Stueland says. 

TAP will work with doctors to educate them about the new package through professional marketing campaigns and physician samples, Stueland adds. 


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