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15 million American diabetics at risk for bladder cancer

Fifteen million Americans who take a class of drugs to treat type 2 diabetes are at risk for developing bladder cancer, according to a new study published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. As much as 20 percent of the drugs prescribed to diabetics in the United States are thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. Drugs in this class include Avandia (rosiglitazone), Actos (pioglitazone) and Rezulin (troglitazone). In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew Rezulin from the market due to an increased incidence of drug-induced hepatitis. In 2010, the FDA severely restricted the use of Avandia after ... Read More

Study links SSRI use during pregnancy to newborn microcephaly

Babies born to mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to babies with smaller head size, according to a study recently published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The condition, known as microcephaly, puts children at risk for neurologic and cognitive problems. For the study, researchers at the Sophia Children’s Hospital and Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, studied babies born to more than 7,500 pregnant women. Among them, 570 were depressed but were not taking medication, and 99 women were depressed and taking SSRIs. SSRIs – or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – are the ... Read More

Chrysler says Jeep recall unnecessary despite fatal fiery crashes

The investigation into fuel tank-related fires on 5.1 million 1993-2004 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees is conjuring up memories of one of the most controversial cars in history, the Ford Pinto. The Pinto was the center of media reports and lawsuits surrounding the safety of its gas tank design, which critics alleged allowed the fuel tank filler neck to break off and the fuel tank to be punctured in a rear-end collision, resulting in deadly fires from spilled fuel. The vehicles were ultimately recalled after 27 deaths were attributed to Pinto fires. The latest fuel-tank concerns involve Jeep Grand Cherokee ... Read More

FDA approves new vaccine for babies to prevent deadly bacterial diseases

A new vaccine to protect infants as young as 6 weeks against two potentially deadly bacterial infections has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MenHibrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is a combination vaccine that prevents meningococcal disease and haemophilus influenza (Hib disease), two serious illnesses that can lead to blindness, mental retardation and amputation. The diseases are difficult to diagnose because their symptoms are similar to the common cold. MenHibrix is approved for use in children aged 6 weeks through 18 months. The vaccination schedule is a four-dose series given at 2, 4, 6 and 12 through ... Read More

Patients with aggressive breast cancer granted experimental drugs

Women with highly aggressive, early-stage breast cancers will now be able to try experimental drugs before they have been tested for safety and efficacy in the sickest cancer patients. The new guideline is part of a new push by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to speed lifesaving drugs to patients faster. Previous practice was to test cancer drugs on the sickest patients with end-stage disease. If the drug appeared to extend life and slow the progression of the disease, it was then approved for use in patients in earlier stages of breast cancer. But it could take nearly a ... Read More

New warning of serious skin rash issued for antidepressant Paxil

A new side effect has been added to the safety label of the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) following reports that some patients who used the drug developed a rare but life-threatening rash known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS). Paxil is in a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Other drugs in this class include Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Prozac. SSRIs are among the most prescribed medications in the United States and are used to treat depression and anxiety. SJS is an allergic reaction to medication. It is most often liked to anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics. The ... Read More

Bourdain says Deen is ‘playing the victim’ with diabetes diagnosis

“Let’s call it what it is. This is a big company that rolled out a new product, a diabetes drug, (with someone who was) selling doughnuts to children for years,” celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain told ABC News. Bourdain has been vocal about his opinion of television chef Paula Deen, known for her fattening and sugar-laden recipes, after she announced she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years earlier. She decided to go public with her diagnosis after signing on as a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Victoza. “I think she’s being disingenuous,” Bourdain argued. “She’s being very good ... Read More

FDA considers selling Rx meds for chronic diseases available OTC

Prescription drugs for high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes may soon be available over the counter if a new proposal by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is approved. The federal agency hopes making drugs for common chronic diseases readily available to the public will ensure that people take them as needed. The FDA says people who are not willing to take certain medications as prescribed for many chronic illnesses put themselves at risk for more serious health problems and ultimately put a strain on the country’s health care system. For example, untreated high blood pressure puts people at ... Read More

Drug-drug interaction with statins may cause serious muscle injury

Just a week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new warnings for an increased risk of diabetes and memory loss with cholesterol-lowering statins, the agency is alerting the public about the risk of muscle injury associated with the drugs if used with certain HIV or hepatitis C medications known as protease inhibitors. The labels for both protease inhibitors and statins has been updated to warn that protease inhibitors and statins, when taken together, may raise blood levels of statins and increase the risk for muscle injury (myopathy). The most serious type of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the ... Read More

Woman nearly killed by bladder sling surgery lobbies for more oversight

Lena Keeton contracted a deadly flesh-eating bacteria following surgery in 2001 to implant a synthetic mesh bladder sling to treat her occasional incontinence, and has since endured 17 surgeries and ongoing medical problems as a result of the mesh. Now Keeton, who spits her time between Austin, Texas, and Miami Beach, Fla., was in Washington, D.C., last week lobbying federal officials to strengthen oversight of medical devices such as surgical mesh. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning to patients about complications with the mesh when used transvaginally to treat pelvic floor disorders, including incontinence and pelvic ... Read More