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FDA Approves New Higher Dose Formulation of FOSRENOL

Drug NewsNov 29 05

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new, higher dose formulation of the chewable(1) non-calcium phosphate binder FOSRENOL(R) (lanthanum carbonate). The new, higher dose strengths of 750 milligrams (mg) and 1.0 gram (g) will be available in the U.S. by year end. This formulation will help to reduce the number of pills end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients must take to achieve target phosphorus levels, thereby helping to simplify the treatment of hyperphosphatemia. FOSRENOL(R) is marketed by Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Even with a low phosphorus diet, 60 percent of ESRD patients on dialysis in the United States may develop hyperphosphatemia (high phosphorus levels in the blood) and up to 70 percent are considered noncompliant when using currently prescribed phosphate binders. Without effective treatment, hyperphosphatemia may lead to increased rates of death, renal bone disease, hyperparathyroidism and calcification of tissues. Also, evidence shows hyperphosphatemia may contribute to cardiovascular disease, which accounts for almost half of all deaths among dialysis patients. FOSRENOL(R) is indicated to reduce serum phosphorus in patients with ESRD.

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Low doses of aspirin increase chance of developing ulcers

Bowel ProblemsNov 29 05

Aspirin has long been hailed as one of the most effective, low-cost ways to help guard against a heart attack or stroke. However, international medical researchers caution that low doses of aspirin also increase a patient’s chance of developing an ulcer, often without warning signs.

The JUPITER study measured the prevalence and incidence of gastroduodenal ulcers among 187 aspirin therapy patients from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain.

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Depression treatment in children - poor data

DepressionNov 29 05

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared in 2004 that certain antidepressants are linked to an increased risk of suicide in adolescents, there was surprisingly little data about how depression was being treated in young patients.

Now new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine provides critical documentation of the potential misuse of these medications in the years leading up to the FDA’s decision to issue the so-called “black-box” warnings.

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Mental disorder signs seen in young children-study

Psychiatry / PsychologyNov 28 05

Preschool children can show early signs of mental disorders, which can be diagnosed and treated to prevent problems later in life, a leading psychologist said on Monday.

Children as young as 2 or 3 years old may suffer from depression, anxiety, disruptive behaviour or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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China official HIV count rose 50 percent last year

AIDS/HIVNov 28 05

China’s confirmed cases of HIV infection rose more than 50 percent in the past year, but poor monitoring and official obstruction still obscure the real scale of the AIDS epidemic, the country’s top AIDS official said on Monday.

The number of Chinese diagnosed with HIV infection, which leads to AIDS, grew to 135,630 by the end of September, Wang Longde, director of the State Council AIDS Prevention and Treatment Work Committee, told a conference of Chinese health officials ahead of World AIDS Day on Thursday.

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Blood tests may help predict stroke

StrokeNov 28 05

Testing for high blood levels of two proteins involved in inflammation—Lp-PLA2 and CRP—may help identify people who are at increased risk for stroke, new research suggests.

Ultimately, measuring these proteins could help guide preventative strategies or they may even serve as targets for new drugs, according to the report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Many cancer patients continue to smoke

CancerNov 28 05

Many people with cancer continue to smoke after their diagnosis, even though smoking can significantly compromise the outcome of treatment, according to a new study.

In a review of past research, the study authors found that even with the help of smoking cessation therapies, cancer patients often continued to smoke or fell back into the habit. Though smokers who get help quitting appear more likely to succeed, studies have found wide variation in success rates.

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Epidemic survivors stress need for mental care

StressNov 28 05

Joey Lee began suffering severe mood swings, depression and would sob every day for no apparent reason soon after she survived a SARS infection while working as a nurse in a public hospital in Hong Kong in 2003.

Lee and her 8-year-old son, who was not infected, have been seeing a psychologist since. “He would cry all the time and at night, he is terrified that my husband and I will die,” she said.

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Distance from facility affects cancer therapy

Breast CancerNov 28 05

The distance a woman has to travel to reach a radiation therapy facility appears to influence whether she receives the recommended treatment for early-stage breast cancer, investigators report. Women who live farther away are also less likely to undergo breast-conserving surgery plus radiation as opposed to mastectomy.

Treatment guidelines recommend breast-conserving surgery plus radiation for early stage breast cancers. However, radiation treatment after surgery involves daily treatments for 5 to 6 consecutive weeks, Lydia Voti, at the University of Miami in Florida, and her colleagues explain.

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Height Loss: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It

Gender: MaleNov 28 05

As we age, we experience decreases in everything from hair and hearing to memory and muscle. Height is also on the list. Starting at about age 40, people typically lose about half an inch each decade. Why do we shrink, what are the consequences, and what can we do? The December issue of Harvard Health Letter answers these questions.

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New findings in patients with pediatric kidney failure

Children's HealthNov 28 05

Two studies just released by physicians at Texas Children’s Hospital are addressing new findings in patients with pediatric kidney failure, and on the growing prevalence of high blood pressure in children.

Dr. Stuart L. Goldstein, medical director of the Renal Dialysis Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital, and associate professor of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. Daniel I. Feig, chief of the Pediatric Hypertension Clinic’s at Texas Children’s and Ben Taub General Hospital, and assistant professor of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, were two of only five physicians nationwide to have their pediatric projects selected for the conference’s pediatric briefing.

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Large-scale international study confirms value of blood test to diagnose heart failure

HeartNov 28 05

A large-scale international study has demonstrated the usefulness of a blood test to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of acute heart failure in emergency room patients and shows that the test also can identify patients at a higher risk for death.

The report from investigators in the U.S., the Netherlands, Spain and New Zealand also clarifies the importance of age-specific levels of a protein called NT-proBNP that definitively diagnose heart failure. The report will appear in the European Heart Journal and is receiving early online release.

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Novartis hopes to develop cheap dengue test

Drug NewsNov 26 05

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG hopes to develop a cheap test to detect dengue fever following the acquisition of vaccine and blood-testing firm Chiron, an executive said.

Thousands of people across Southeast Asia this year have been hit by dengue, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease for which there is no vaccine. The disease, which occurs mainly in tropical Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, affects tens of millions of people every year.

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Hairdressers at Risk for Occupational Asthma

AsthmaNov 26 05

The bleaching agents used by hairdressers can cause occupational asthma and rhinitis, say researchers here.

The finding comes from an eight-year series study of 47 hairdressers who were referred to the allergy and immunology unit at the Scientific Institute of Pavia here, according to Gianna Moscato, M.D., head of the allergy unit.

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Problem of Emerging Infectious Diseases Likely to Worsen

InfectionsNov 25 05

Emerging infectious diseases pose a global threat to human and animal health, and the problem is likely to worsen, warns an expert in this week’s BMJ.

The recent emergence of diseases, such as AIDS, SARS and avian flu, have catapulted emerging infectious diseases to the top of the medical and political agendas, and have highlighted the importance of wildlife as reservoirs or vectors for disease, writes Dr Andrew Cunningham.

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