The top pharma stories of early 2021

Image courtesy of Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels.

COVID-19 vaccines dominated pharma industry news during the first half of this year.

It’s little wonder, too, since vaccines are the best hope to return the world to some kind of post-pandemic “normal.”

As with any new medical treatments — especially ones authorized amid an emergency — there have been questions about side effects. Drug Discovery & Development delved into what experts and scientific studies are saying. The overall conclusion is clear: While reactogenicity is a valid concern, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines greatly outweigh the risks for the vast majority of patients.

Here are eight stories of our stories that delved into potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects:

Dizziness among common COVID-19 vaccine side effects Tinnitus reports grow amid COVID-19 vaccinations Moderna COVID-19 vaccine might cause facial swelling for p…
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6 questions about facial swelling and COVID-19 vaccines answered

Vials containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Image from Wikipedia.

The news that Moderna’s (NSDQ:MRNA) COVID-19 had a small risk of facial swelling for patients with dermal fillers has spooked scores of patients. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons have been inundated with queries from concerned patients. But the risk of problems is miniscule, according to Dr. Wilbur Hah, the president of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS).

In the following interview, Dr. Hah puts the risk into perspective, explains why Botox recipients are unlikely to experience vaccine-induced facial swelling and provides a suggestion for drug developers and the CDC.

1. How would you characterize the reaction from patients concerned about Moderna’s vaccine reactivity to dermal fillers?

Dr. Wilbur Hah

Hah: Though it is a potential risk, I want to emphasi…

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Facial swelling and COVID-19 vaccines: 4 facts

Image from Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels

Patients with dermal fillers have a small potential risk of developing facial swelling after obtaining mRNA vaccines.

To date, the FDA has noted the problem in three clinical trial recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA). The agency hasn’t observed facial swelling in the Phase 3 clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX).

We reached out to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a board-certified dermatologist and expert injector, to shed light on the topic.

1. Facial fillers ≠ Botox

Delayed inflammation is possible for patients who receive either hyaluronic acid or non-hyaluronic acid fillers. The former option, comprising brands such as Juvéderm from AbbVie subsidiary Allergan (NYSE:ABBV) and Restylane from Galderma Laboratories, is the most common.

Facial fillers, however, are distinct from Boto…

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