Health Highlights: Sept. 24, 201009/24/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Glass Flakes Trigger Recall of Amgen Anemia Drugs
Certain lots of the anemia drugs Epogen and Procrit have been
recalled because they may contain glass flakes, says
California-based biotechnology company Amgen.
The flakes result from interaction of the drugs with glass
vials, according to the company, the
Associated Press reported.
In most cases, the flakes are barely visible and there have been
no complaints or reports about problems that can be directly linked
to the glass flakes, Amgen said.
The Web sites for the drugs contain information about the lot
numbers and expiration dates of the recalled products, the
Epogen is used to treat anemia in kidney failure patients who
are on dialysis, and Procrit treats anemia in cancer patients
receiving chemotherapy and in some patients with HIV.
Recalled Baby Formula Poses Little Risk, Manufacturer Says
The maker of Similac says it's unlikely any recalled containers
of the baby formula are tainted by insects, and doctors say the
risk of serious harm is low even if babies do consume bug-tainted
Abbott Nutrition announced the voluntary recall of five million
cans and plastic containers of Similac powdered formula after
common warehouse beetles were found near a production line at its
Sturgis, Mich., plant late last week, the
Associated Press reported.
Production was immediately halted and tests conducted on
containers of formula from that production line showed that "99.8
percent of product was not contaminated," according to company
spokeswoman Kelly Morrison.
One doctor told the
AP that there's "no reason for parents to panic."
Even if a baby consumes bug-tainted formula, symptoms might
include a mild upset stomach that should last only a few days, said
Dr. Joseph Gigante, an associate professor of pediatrics at
Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.
For more information about the recall, Abbott asks consumers to
phone (800) 986-8850.
Clean Out Medicine Cabinet This Weekend: DEA
Americans are being encouraged to gather expired, unused, and
unwanted prescription drugs from their medicine cabinets this
Saturday and take them to one of the more than 4,000 drop-off sites
around the country.
The national "Take-Back" campaign is part of the effort to
reduce the growing problem of teen abuse of prescription drugs, the
Associated Press reported.
"We have an epidemic," said acting Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Michele Leonhart. The DEA is working on the "Take-Back" with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and thousands of state and local agencies.
"Our research shows that the No. 1 source of medicines that kids abuse is their own home medicine cabinet or a family member or friend's home," Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, told the AP.
Medicare Beneficiaries in 'Donut Hole' Get Drug Discount in
A 50 percent discount on brand name prescription drugs will be
given next year to Medicare beneficiaries who are in the Medicare
Part D "donut hole" coverage gap, the U.S. government announced
This year, Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole
received $250 rebate checks as part of the new health care law. So
far, more than 1.2 million beneficiaries have received rebate
checks and millions more are scheduled to receive a check,
according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen
This year, the donut hole begins when a Medicare beneficiary's
prescription drug costs reach $2,830. While in the gap, they have
to pay 100 percent of the cost of their prescription drugs and must
spend $3,610 out of their own pockets before they qualify for
Under the new health care law, the donut hole will be closed by
2020, according to the White House.
Many HIV-Positive Men Unaware They're Infected: Study
Nearly 20 percent of gay and bisexual men in U.S. cities are
infected with HIV, and 44 percent of those men don't know they have
the virus that causes AIDS, says a federal government study
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers
tested and interviewed 8,153 gay and bisexual men in 21 cities and
found that the overall rate of HIV infection was 19 percent. Black
men were most likely to be infected (28 percent), followed by
Hispanics (18 percent) and whites (16 percent).
Young men and those of color were least likely to know they were
infected with HIV. The study found that 63 percent of infected men
under age 30 were unaware. Among infected men of all ages, 59
percent of blacks, 46 percent of Hispanics, and 26 percent of
whites were unaware they were infected.
Only 45 percent of men unaware of their infection reported
having an HIV test within the last year.
The study appears in this week's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC.
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