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Health Highlights: March 22, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Some 'Male Enhancement' Products Can Be Risky: FDA

They claim to be all herbal, but three "male enhancement" products sold online contain hidden prescription drug ingredients and could be harmful, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The agency said the three products -- Rocket-It Man, Libido Sexual Enhancer and Stiff Days -- contain compounds similar to the active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and Cialis, NBC News reported.

This ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may cause blood pressure to fall to dangerous levels, the FDA said. Nitrates are often taken by men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

The FDA said anyone who has these products should throw them away, and that anyone who has suffered negative side effects after taking the products should consult a doctor as soon as possible, NBC News reported.


Axe Body Spray Not Welcome at Pa. High School

Students and staff at a Bethlehem, Pa. high school have been asked to stop using Axe Body Spray after a teen suffered a serious allergic reaction to the fragrance and is now being home schooled.

"The purpose of this posting is to make all parents, staff and students aware of a medical issue involving a Freedom High School student having an extreme allergy to Axe Body Spray. This allergy is potentially life threatening for this student," said a statement posted this week on the school's website, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

"My request to all Freedom Family members is that we take into consideration this student's allergy to Axe Body Spray and refrain from using it as your cologne or fragrance of choice while attending Freedom High School," the statement urged.

Rosa Silk told a TV station that the student who suffered the reaction was her son, 15-year-old Brandon Silk. Over a period of nine days, his throat closed up three times after breathing in the smell of Axe Body Spray and he had to be rushed to the hospital, CBS/AP reported.


Health Care Law Saves Seniors $6.1 Billion on Drugs

About 6.3 million American seniors saved more than $6.1 billion on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

She said the act makes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable by gradually closing the so-called donut hole, which is the gap in coverage where beneficiaries have to pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of their own pockets.

People in the donut hole now receive discounts when they buy prescription drugs. Additional savings will be provided each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.

In 2013, the discounts and savings were increased to 52.5 percent of the cost of most brand name drugs and 21 percent of the cost of covered generic drugs, Sebelius said.

Also under the act, people who enroll in Medicare Advantage and Part D now have access to a wider range of high-quality plans, with more four- and five-star plans now available.


New NFL Rule Meant to Reduce Head and Neck Injuries

In an effort to reduce head and neck injuries, a new NFL rule will prohibit runners and defenders from lowering their heads and striking a hard blow with the crown of their helmets when they are outside the tackle box.

Breaking the rule will result in a 15-yard penalty from the location of the infraction, The New York Times reported.

NFL owners passed the rule Wednesday by a vote of 31 to 1. The lone holdout was Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Along with improving the safety of professional players, another consideration in adopting the new rule was to change the message to younger players about making big hits at any cost, according to those involved in the discussions that led to the new regulation, The Times reported.

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Posted: March 2013