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Weekly News Round Up - December 28, 2011

New Strength of Infant Acetaminophen Poses Dosing Risk

Acetaminophen liquid 160 mg/5 mL strength now available for infants; use only the dosing device provided with product Read More...

Until recently, infant acetaminophen has only been available in the concentrated drop formulation. Now, in an attempt to standardize strengths of acetaminophen, manufacturers are marketing a new strength of liquid acetaminophen (160 mg/5 mL) and phasing out the concentrated drops (80 mg/0.8 mL or 80 mg/1 mL). However, at this time both products are still on store shelves. Switching the directions or measuring devices between the new strength and the older concentrated drops could result in dosing errors and possibly fatal liver toxicity. The FDA emphasizes that consumers should not interchange dosing devices between products or rely on outside packaging to soley identify the drug; instead look at labeled directions and strengths on the package carefully. Seek the advice of a health care provider for questions about acetaminophen infant dosing and measuring devices.

Expanded Pediatric Approval for HIV Drug Isentress

Isentress (raltegravir) now approved for children and teens; twice a day, chewable form available Read More...

Isentress (raltegravir), a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment approved for adults in 2007 is now available for pediatric patients 2 to 18 years old. And an added bonus, a new chewable dosage form for children 2 to 11 years old has been developed. In clinical studies in 96 children and teens with HIV, 53 percent of the group had undetectable blood HIV levels after 24 weeks. Raltegravir is in a class of medications called HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitors. Raltegravir does not cure HIV; it is used in combination with other HIV drugs to slow the spread of HIV in the body.

Experts Advise to Restrict Cold Remedies During Pregnancy

Cough, cold and flu season is here: if you are pregnant, experts advise to avoid combination OTC treatments, oral decongestants Read More...

Experts warn many over-the-counter (OTC) medications contain ingredients that may be harmful or not studied in pregnancy. Combination cough, cold and fever medications contain multiple ingredients, and women may be better off using single ingredient OTC products to treat only the bothersome symptoms. Some decongestants have been linked with fetal defects in early pregnancy, and are best avoided. For a stuffy nose, saline sprays may be a safer option. Herbal and dietary supplements often contain untested ingredients, and some cough medications may contain alcohol. Women should be cautious, check ingredients and ask a health care provider for advice prior to using OTC cough, cold or flu medications in pregnancy.

New ACIP Guidelines: Hepatitis B Vaccine for Type 1 and 2 Diabetics

Hepatitis B Vaccine recommended for unvaccinated adults 19 to 59 years of age with type 1 and type 2 diabetes Read More...

New recommendations from the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) state that all unvaccinated adults 19 to 59 years old with type 1 or 2 diabetes should receive the hepatitis B vaccine series. Vaccination should occur as quickly as possible after a diabetes diagnosis. Patients over 59 years of age may be vaccinated based upon their physician’s discretion. Diabetics are at increased risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which can occur if blood is transferred between shared medical or glucose-monitoring devices. In an attempt to lessen HBV infection, infection-control training with diabetes health care providers and improved device design and labeling are suggested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health Tip: Using OTC Medications Safely in Children

Over-the-counter medications can pose hazards for kids, just like prescription drugs Read More...

The saying “children are not just small adults” is often quoted by health care providers to emphasize the need for kid-specific medications and doses. But the same practice should apply to over-the-counter (OTC) medications, as well. Pediatric experts from the American Academy of Family Physicians suggest a few helpful tips for caregivers: be sure the drug treats only the symptoms at hand; know the dose, timing, and type of medication needed; never give cough and cold medications to children under 4 years or aspirin to anyone under 18 years; don’t give adult medication to a child; and keep OTCs in their original packaging so instructions can be easily retrieved.