8 most influential drug approvals in 2023: GoodRx

Out of the hundreds of new drugs entering the U.S. market, eight made tailwinds in the healthcare industry, according to GoodRx

Note: This list does not include notable FDA approvals in December.

1. Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) for COVID-19: In late May, the COVID-19 antiviral treatment gained FDA approval after being on the market since December 2021 with an emergency use authorization. It's the first-choice treatment option for nonhospitalized patients 12 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

2. Arexvy, Abrysvo and Beyfortus for respiratory syncytial virus: Before 2023, the only drug approved for RSV was Synagis (palivizumab), which is only indicated for high-risk patients. Arexvy (RSVPreF3) is the first FDA-approved RSV vaccine, and RSV vaccine Abrysvo (RSVpreF) followed a few months later. Beyfortus (nirsevimab) is the first preventive RSV drug approved for all children 2 years old and younger. 

3. Opill (norgestrel) for contraception: The FDA approved the nation's first over-the-counter oral contraceptive pill in July. Prescription-only contraceptives can be out of reach for many patients because of systemic healthcare disparities, so Opill might improve access. It is set to launch in 2024.

4. Zurzuvae for postpartum depression: In August, the FDA approved the first pill to treat postpartum depression, which affects up to 20% of women in the U.S. and can cause long-term harm if left untreated. Zurzuvae can ease postpartum depression symptoms within three days, while traditional antidepressants can take weeks to make a difference. 

5. Leqembi (lecanemab) for Alzheimer's disease: In January, Leqembi secured an accelerated approval, marking it the third approved drug for Alzheimer's. Six months later, the therapy received full approval. It's also the first Alzheimer's drug to prove clinical benefit — in a study,  Leqembi lowered the worsening of dementia symptom severity by 27% over one and a half years. 

6. OTC Narcan nasal spray for opioid overdoses: After an independent FDA panel voted 19-0 in favor of an over-the-counter naloxone product, the agency approved OTC Narcan in March. Historically, Narcan was only available in pharmacies and physician offices. Similar to Opill, OTC Narcan can broaden access.

7. Zepbound (tirzepatide) for weight loss: Eli Lilly's Zepbound was approved in November for obese or overweight adults, and on Dec. 5, the chronic weight management therapy hit shelves. Its active pharmaceutical ingredient is the same as Mounjaro, Eli Lilly's Type 2 diabetes treatment. 

8. Roctavian (valoctocogene roxaparvovec) for hemophilia A: Roctavian is the first FDA-approved gene therapy for hemophilia A, a rare blood disorder. The drug's single dose can reduce the number of bleeds patients experience each year by more than 50%.

 

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