Health Highlights: Oct. 29, 201010/29/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Sandoz Recalls Methotrexate
Possible contamination with glass flakes has prompted the recall
of two sizes of methotrexate injection vials sold under the Sandoz
and Parenta brands, German drug maker Sandoz announced
The company said the flakes may occur due to delamination of
glass used to make the 50 milligram and 250 milligram vials. The
flakes could cause serious harm or death, but Sandoz has not
received any reports of such incidents, the
Los Angeles Times reported.
The drug maker said patients should immediately stop using the
products included in the recall, which covers 24 lots.
Methotrexate is used to treat severe cases of psoriais and
rheumatoid arthritis, as well as leukemia, breast cancer, and other
Travelers to Haiti Must Take Precautions: CDC
People traveling to Haiti need to take precautions to protect
themselves from cholera, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
The agency noted that many Haitian-Americans go to Haiti to
visit family and friends to celebrate All Saints' Day and All
The CDC offers the following travel tips:
- Take water purification tablets or other supplies to ensure you
have safe drinking water.
- Only eat food that is thoroughly cooked and hot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Pack oral rehydration salts to use if you get sick with
diarrhea. Use safe water to make your oral rehydration
- If you develop watery diarrhea while in Haiti, start drinking
oral rehydration solution immediately and go to a clinic.
- If you develop water diarrhea within five days of returning
from Haiti, seek medical care right away.
Pfizer Recalls More Bottles of Lipitor
Two more customer reports of musty odors have led Pfizer Inc. to
recall another 38,000 bottles of the cholesterol-lowering pill
Lipitor, bringing to 369,000 the total number of bottles recalled
In an e-mailed statement, the company said the odor is
consistent with the presence of a chemical called TBA, which is
used as a fungicide and wood preservative. Pfizer said it prohibits
the use of wood treated with TBA in shipments of it products,
Bloomberg news reported.
A medical assessment of the tainted bottles concluded that the
health risk "appears to be minimal," according to Pfizer.
TBA was linked to recalls earlier this year of Tylenol and other
Johnson & Johnson over-the-counter medicines,
Weight-Loss Drug Qnexa Rejected by FDA
A highly-anticipated experimental diet pill called Qnexa has
been rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The agency wants additional study results and information on the
drug's potential health threats, California-based drug maker Vivus
Inc. said in a news release Thursday, the
Associated Press reported.
The company said it plans to respond to the FDA in about six
Some experts had considered Qnexa to be the most promising
weight-loss drug in more than a decade.
But in July, an FDA expert panel recommended that the agency not
approve Qnexa because it was associated with a number of dangerous
side effects, including heart palpitations, birth defects, suicidal
thoughts and memory lapses, the
Last Saturday, the FDA rejected another experimental weight-loss
drug called lorcaserin due the development of tumors in rats during
early stage testing.
McDonald's Fined for Manager's Weight Gain
McDonald's has been ordered to pay a former franchise manager in
Brazil $17,500 because he gained 65 pounds while working at the
outlet for 12 years.
The unnamed 32-year-old man said he gained the weight because he
had to sample food products every day in order to check the
quality. He did this because McDonald's employed "mystery clients"
who made random visits to restaurants and assessed the food,
service and cleanliness, reported
The Guardian in the U.K.
In addition, McDonald's offered free lunches to employees, the
The Brazilian court ruling can be appealed by McDonald's,
The Guardian reported.
Experts Debate Increased HPV Vaccination for Males
The pros and cons of more widespread use of human papillomavirus
(HPV) vaccines in boys and young men are being debated by U.S.
government vaccine advisers.
They must also decide whether a program for boys would drain
meager resources from a vaccination campaign for girls that's had
The New York Times reported.
Two vaccines -- Gardasil and Cervarix -- are approved for use in
both sexes to protect them against HPV, which can cause genital
warts and cervical, anal and some head and throat cancers. HPV can
be passed through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Each year in the United States, about 800 men get HPV-related
penile cancer, 1,100 men get HPV-related anal cancer, and 5,700 men
get HPV-related head and neck cancer, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The government advisory committee must decide if the cost of
vaccinating all boys is worth preventing those numbes of cases. But
they also have to consider the fact that vaccinating males against
HPV also helps prevent cervical cancer in their female sex
The committee heard study findings that suggest when HPV
vaccination rates are low in females (the current situation in the
U.S.), vaccinating males isn't as cost-effective as efforts to
boost vaccination rates in females. The study also said that when
HPV vaccination rates in females are high, vaccination of males is
Currently, the HPV vaccination rate for boys ages 11 to 17 is
less than one percent, but the rate for male college students is
closer to 15 percent, according to Dr. James C. Turner, a liaison
to the committee from the American College Health Association, the
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