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Weekly Drug News Round Up - February 20, 2013

New Codeine Boxed Warning and Contraindication in Pediatrics After Tonsillectomy and/or Adenoidectomy

Providers to prescribe an alternate analgesic for pediatric post-operative pain for tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that a new Boxed Warning and Contraindication will be added to the drug label of codeine-containing products about the risk of codeine in post-operative pain management in children following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy. According to the FDA, deaths have occurred post-operatively in children with obstructive sleep apnea who received codeine for pain following a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy. Codeine is converted to morphine by the liver, and these children had evidence of being ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine -- in other words, due to a genetic tendency, their liver could convert codeine into life-threatening or fatal amounts of morphine in the body.

Believe It or Not: Hemorrhoids - the Top Trending 2012 Health Topic

Hemorrhoids can be treated with several over-the-counter creams and other remedies Read More...

It may be slightly embarrassing, but hemorrhoids were the number one health trending topic in the U.S in 2012 according to Google's annual roundup of popular search terms, as reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hemorrhoids are a common ailment that affects up to 75 percent of people usually between the ages of 45 to 65 years. Painful hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the veins of the anus. Inactivity, obesity, pregnancy and childbirth can increase the risk for their occurrence. Hemorrhoids may occur inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or near the anal opening (external hemorrhoids). Over-the-counter remedies and warm bath soaks can be effective for mild symptoms.

Use of the “Morning-After” Emergency Contraception Pill on the Rise: CDC

Roughly 16 percent of users were between the ages of 25 and 29, but 14 percent were teens 15 to 19 years old Read More...

A report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics has found that 11 percent of women (5.8 million) reported using the emergency contraceptive pill between 2006 and 2010, up from 4.2 percent in 2002. The emergency contraceptive pill is used to prevent an unintended pregnancy and is frequently referred to as “The Morning After Pill” but this is a misnomer, as women do not have to wait until the morning after sex to take the emergency contraceptive pill. It is actually more effective the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex.

Evidence Unclear About Best Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States Read More...

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed dozens of studies and collective reviews on open-angle glaucoma, which accounts for about 90 percent of all glaucoma cases, and concluded the evidence is inadequate to directly compare the effectiveness of medical, surgical or laser treatments. The report is published in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine. While there are many methods to lower intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, the evidence that demonstrates which treatment minimizes vision loss and maximizes patient satisfaction is lacking. Although specific primary care screening recommendations cannot be made, older patients and African-American patients have higher risks and may need more frequent screening.

Proscar Does Not Boost Prostate Cancer Survival

Finasteride given for 7 years does not appear to affect mortality but significantly reduces the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis Read More...

Finasteride (Proscar) is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor approved for use in treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Finasteride has also been shown in large clinical trials to reduce the chance of developing prostate cancer by about 25 percent compared to a placebo pill. However, researchers are now suggesting that once diagnosed with prostate cancer, finasteride does not improve survival -- but it does not decrease survival, either. Some experts feel this lessens the importance of using finasteride as a preventive. However, the study only reports overall deaths -- not deaths specifically due to prostate cancer, which makes it difficult to assess the overall effectiveness of finasteride.