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Screening Test Finds Drugs That Show Promise Against Ebola

Posted 17 Dec 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 – A screening test has identified more than 50 drugs that could be helpful in treating people with Ebola, researchers report. The drugs, which are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all showed promise in preventing the Ebola virus from entering human cells, where it can cause life-threatening infections. "These drugs are all approved, so they could be deployed quickly if follow-up research proves that they are effective," said study author Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The study was published online Dec. 17 in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections. The screening test involves a laboratory-engineered fake Ebola virus. The fake virus contains two proteins from the deadly pathogen, but does not include the ... Read more

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Medication Errors Occur Every 8 Minutes in U.S. Children

Posted 20 Oct 2014 by

MONDAY, Oct. 20, 2014 – A child receives the wrong medication or the wrong dosage every eight minutes in the United States, according to a recent study. Nearly 700,000 children under 6 years old experienced an out-of-hospital medication error between 2002 and 2012. Out of those episodes, one out of four children was under a year old. As the age of children decreased, the likelihood of an error increased, the study found. Though 94 percent of the mistakes didn't require medical treatment, the errors led to 25 deaths and about 1,900 critical care admissions, according to the study. "Even the most conscientious parents make errors," said lead author Dr. Huiyun Xiang, director of the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. That conscientiousness may even lead to one of the most common errors: Just over a quarter of these mistakes involved a ... Read more

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Certain Meds, Driving Can Be Deadly Mix: FDA

Posted 7 Oct 2014 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 7, 2014 – Thinking about taking a drive after popping some over-the-counter medications? Better check the label first, warn experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency cautions that some common nonprescription medicines can impair your ability to drive and operate other vehicles and machinery safely. Some of the most common of these drugs include certain types of nonprescription antihistamines, anti-diarrheals, and anti-nausea medications, according to the FDA. "You can feel the effects some over-the-counter medicines can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours," Dr. Ali Mohamadi, a medical officer at the FDA, said in an agency news release. "In some cases, a medicine can cause significant 'hangover-like' effects and affect your driving even the next day." And if you haven't had enough ... Read more

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Health Tip: Antihistamines Have Side Effects

Posted 9 Apr 2014 by

-- Antihistamines can be effective in alleviating allergy symptoms, but they can also make you sleepy and cause other side effects. The American Academy of Family Physicians says possible side effects of antihistamines include: Drowsiness, which can affect the ability to safely drive a car or manage machinery. Difficulty thinking clearly. Dryness of the eyes and mouth. Headache. Abdominal pain. Read more

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Health Tip: When Food and Drugs Interact

Posted 27 Feb 2014 by

-- When food and drinks interact with medication, the medication may not work sufficiently or the drug can become too powerful as the body has trouble handling it properly. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics mentions these common examples of food and drug interaction: Grapefruit juice interacts with several drugs and may affect the way the body metabolizes medication. Drugs that may interact with grapefruit juice include: some statins, antihistamines, thyroid medications, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, cough suppressants and medications that block stomach acids. Blood-thinning medications can interact with leafy green vegetables, affecting the blood's clotting ability. Natural black licorice may interact with certain blood pressure medications and blood-thinning medications. Salt substitutes can interact with ACE inhibitors and digoxin. Tyramine (found in foods ... Read more

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Health Tip: Possible Causes of Dry Eye

Posted 21 May 2013 by

-- You produce tears to help keep your eyes moist and protected from irritants. But dry eye can make your eyes vulnerable and uncomfortable. The National Eye Institute says possible causes of dry eye include: Certain medications, including birth control pills, antidepressants, antihistamines and blood pressure drugs. Diseases of the eye or nearby skin. Damage to the eye, such as from chemical exposure. Health conditions, such as thyroid problems, allergies or immune disorders. Irritation caused by use of contact lenses, or after LASIK surgery. Pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy or some homeopathic remedies. Not blinking frequently enough during use of a computer screen. Read more

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Know What's in Your Child's Medications, FDA Warns

Posted 17 Mar 2013 by

SUNDAY, March 17 – It's the time of year when cold season and allergy season overlap, and parents need to know the active ingredients in the medicines they give their children for these conditions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns. Taking more than one medicine at a time could cause serious health problems if the drugs have the same active ingredient, which is the component that makes the medicine effective against a particular condition. For over-the-counter products, active ingredients are listed first on a medicine's Drug Facts label. For prescription medicines, active ingredients are listed in a patient package insert or consumer information sheet provided by the pharmacist, the FDA said. Many medicines have just one active ingredient. But combination medicines – such as those for allergy, cough or fever and congestion – may have more than one. Antihistamine is an ... Read more

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Health Tip: Using an Antihistamine

Posted 11 Oct 2012 by

-- Antihistamines are medications used to prevent or treat allergy symptoms. Many of these medicines may be bought without a doctor's prescription. The American Academy of Family Physicians has issued these guidelines for people who take an over-the-counter antihistamine: Before you take an antihistamine, talk to your doctor if you have a chronic health condition, including heart disease, high blood pressure or thyroid disease. Before you take an antihistamine, talk to your doctor if you also take a sleeping pill, sedative or muscle relaxant. These other medicines may interact with an antihistamine. If you take an antihistamine that is combined with a decongestant or pain reliever, carefully check the label for potential interactions with your other medications. Be careful that you aren't taking more than one medication that contains an antihistamine. This could cause you to take more ... Read more

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When Prescription Drugs Go OTC, Ads Talk Less of Harms: Study

Posted 11 Sep 2012 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 – When prescription drugs become available over-the-counter, advertisements for the medications are far less likely to tell consumers about the potential harms and side effects, new research finds. The reason for it, experts say, likely has to do with which federal agency regulates the marketing materials for each type of drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ads for prescription drugs, while ads for over-the-counter drugs are regulated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has much less stringent standards than the FDA for what manufacturers have to reveal about products in their marketing materials, the researchers noted. The FDA requires prescription drug advertising to provide consumers with a "fair balance" of risks and benefits – for drug ads, that often means rattling off a lengthy list of potential side effects. The FTC, on ... Read more

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Health Tip: Alcohol Can Interact With Medications

Posted 25 Oct 2011 by

-- Over-the-counter medications may seem safer because they don't require a prescription. But they can still interact badly when alcohol enters the mix. The American Academy of Family Physicians mentions these popular medications that may have adverse effects if mixed with alcohol: NSAID pain relievers, which may lead to gastrointestinal bleeding if taken while consuming as few as two alcoholic drink per week. Acetaminophen, which may cause liver damage when taken with alcohol. Some OTC antihistamines can make you drowsy when taken with alcohol. Decongestants and cough medications that contain the cough suppressant dextromethorphan can increase drowsiness when taken with alcohol. Herbal supplements, such as kava kava, St. John's wort or valerian root, may increase drowsiness if taken with alcohol. Read more

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