In 2019, 48 new prescription
drugs were approved that were considered to be "new
molecular entities" (NME) or "new therapeutical biological
products." This is the second-highest number of novel drugs approved
in one year, but less than in 2018, when 58 novel drugs won U.S. FDA
approval. Generics availability continued to grow in 2019, with
98 first-time generic drugs
approved, which is about the same number as last
Many of 2019's new drugs treat rare or complicated diseases or conditions. Ten of them are for different kinds of cancer, six are for genetic diseases (including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Duchenne, and beta thalassemia) two are for migraine, and two treat skin conditions. One of them, called Jeuveau, is the first neurotoxin specifically approved for a cosmetic purpose (improving the appearance of frown lines), and is chemically similar to Botox.
Two unusual antidepressants were approved in 2019. Zulresso, which treats postpartum depression, requires a 3-day stay at a healthcare facility. This is because the medication is administered by I.V. continuously for 60 hours and has risk of loss of consciousness. Another new antidepressant, Spravato (not an NME but a new drug formulation based on ketamine), is a nasal spray and must be administered at a certified health care facility because it contains esketamine, chemically similar to ketamine used as a pre-surgery drug and also in "club drug" known as "Special K." Read more about Spravato: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-nasal-spray-medication-treatment-resistant-depression-available-only-certified
Here are the novel drugs approved during 2019 and a brief description of the condition they were approved to treat. The list does not include diagnostic drugs such as special dyes used for conducting medical tests.
|NEW DRUG||APPROVED TREATMENT|
|Accrufer||iron deficiency - anemia|
|Adakveo||sickle cell disease complication|
|Balversa||advanced bladder cancer|
|Beovu||wet age-related macular degeneration|
|Brukinsa||mantle cell lymphoma|
|Enhertu||metastatic breast cancer|
|Evenity||osteoporosis if high risk of fracture|
|Fetroja||severe urinary tract infection|
|Givlaari||hepatic porphyria (blood disorder)|
|Ibsrela||irritable bowel syndrome with constipation|
|Inrebic||high-risk primary or secondary myelofibrosis|
|Jeuveau||cosmetic appearance of facial lines|
|Mayzent||relapsing multiple sclerosis|
|Nourianz||Parkinson's disease experiencing off episodes|
|Oxbryta||sickle cell disease|
|Padcev||non-responsive bladder cancer|
|Polivy||large B-cell lymphoma|
|Reblozyl||anemia associated with beta thalassemia|
|Recarbrio||very complicated UTI|
|Rinvoq||moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis|
|Rozlytrek||metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are ROS1-positive|
|Turalio||tenosynovial giant cell tumor|
|Vyleesi||hyposexual desire disorder in women|
|Vyndaqel||heart disease caused by ATTR-CM|
|Vyondys 53||Duchenne muscular dystrophy|
|Wakix||Excessive daytime sleepiness|
Learn more about the newly approved drugs listed above and
view select press releases at the FDA:
During 2019, there was a surge in the number of safety-related
additions or modifications made to drug labels, including
200 "black box" (the most
serious) warnings and more than
700 other safety-related
warnings or contraindications. In 2016, 2017,
and 2018 there were 144 black box warnings for
all three years combined, according to the U.S.
FDA Drug Safety Labeling database. Only a
handful of the 986 label changes in 2019 were
publicized through FDA press releases.
The AskaPatient database will be updated in the next few weeks to include links to all of the safety labeling changes for 2016 -2019.
Here are the most important drug safety communications issued in 2019, with links to FDA press releases:
Valsartan, Losartan, Irbesartan (angiotensin-ii-receptor-blockers)
All year (beginning in 2018): Recalls of this common blood pressure medication have been ongoing due to contamination with NDMA.
(Zantac brand name)
Beginning in September 2019: Recalls of this popular h-2 blocker for acid reflux due to contamination with NDMA. Includes brand name and generics.
Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) and Pregabalin (Lyrica)
12/19/2019: These seizure and pain medications can cause serious breathing problems.
FDA warns about serious breathing problems with seizure and nerve pain medicines gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica, Lyrica CR)
Ibrance, Kisquali, Verzenio
9/13/2019: These breast cancer drugs can cause severe lung inflammation.
FDA warns about rare but severe lung inflammation with Ibrance, Kisqali, and Verzenio for breast cancer
Mavret, Zepatier, Vovesi
8/28/2019: These hepatitis C medicines can cause serious liver injury.
FDA warns about rare occurrence of serious liver injury with use of hepatitis C medicines Mavyret, Zepatier, and Vosevi in some patients with advanced liver disease
Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR (tocfacitinib)
7/26/2019: These ulcerative colitis and RA drugs can increase risk of blood clots and death.
FDA approves Boxed Warning about increased risk of blood clots and death with higher dose of arthritis and ulcerative colitis medicine tofacitinib (Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR)
Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist (zolpidem)
4/30/2019: A new Boxed Warning was added for these insomnia drugs because of the risk of serious injuries caused by sleepwalking.
Prescription Opioids (such as Oxycodone, Norco, etc.)
List of Narcotic Pain Relievers
4/9/2019: FDA issues label change warning that sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medications can cause harm and prescribers should use gradual, individualized tapering.
FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering
2/21/2019: A new Boxed Warning is added for this gout drug that it has an increased risk of death (heart-related and other) compared with another gout medicine, allopurinol.
FDA adds Boxed Warning for increased risk of death with gout medicine Uloric (febuxostat)