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August 2013 Archives

Cold Medicines and Birth Defects

Certain birth defects have been shown to have an 8 fold increased risk of occurring when oral and nasal decongestants are used during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to a new case-controlled study by the Harvard School of Public Health. The findings support previous suspected associations between first trimester use of phenylephrine (such as found in Neo-Synephrine, Sudafed, Sudogest), and endocardial cushion defects, between first trimester use of phenylpropanolamine (such as found in Rhinocaps, Sinapils, Saleto-D, Coricidin D, Sinulin, Conex, Contuss, Dextrim, Gentab) and ear defects, and between first trimester use of phenylpropanolamine and pyloric stenosis. In fact, the risk of pyloric stenosis in newborns was greater with the use of any intranasal decongestant.

Warning: Common Antibiotics Linked to Nerve Damage

Six fluoroquinolone antibiotics have received a heightened warning about their causing a serious risk for permanent nerve injury in patients by the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration. Cipro (Ciprofloxacin), Avelox (Moxifloxacin), Levaquin (Levofloxacin), Factive (Gemifloxacin), Noroxin (Norfloxacin) and Floxin (Ofloxacin) are commonly prescribed antibiotics, with 23 million patients receiving these fluoroquinone antibiotics in 2011 alone. The risk of permanent peripheral nerve injury has been shown to be caused by the injectable and oral routes of administration, but has not been seen with the topical drop preparations used for infections in the eyes and ears.

Gestational Diabetes Recommendations from ACOG

Gestational diabetes develops is 7% of the 4 million women who give birth in the United States each year. These 280,000 women are at risk for complications of pregnancy that can cause severe injury to both mother and baby, including death. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has noted that this condition is increasing as obesity and older age at pregnancy become more frequent. Mothers with gestational diabetes are at higher risk for hypertension, preeclampsia, cesarean section and a 7 time increase risk of developing diabetes later in life. Their babies are at increased risk for macrosomia, hypoglycemia, hyperbilirubinemia, birth trauma, shoulder dystocia and Erb's Palsy. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 137 conclude that the 2 Stage test should be used rather than the shorter 1 Stage test.

Lung Cancer Screening Now Endorsed By USPSTF

Lung cancer screening in high-risk individuals is now also recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), following other professional organizations that have recommended the same. There had been controversy as to whether or not screening by way of chest x-rays and CT scan provided a true benefit in the fight against this cancer. Based on an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, annual screening with low-dose CT for people at high risk because of age and smoking history is now the recommended standard. High risk individuals are current and former smokers aged 55 to 80 years of age with a smoking history of 30 pack years or who have smoked in the last 15 years.

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