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Weekly News Round Up - September 28, 2011

Pertussis Vaccination Guidelines Updated to Include Older Adults

Tdap vaccination recommended for additional groups, including grandparents, to help protect infants from whooping cough
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Infants may come into the world kicking and punching, but their immune systems are still catching up with the required vaccines. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine guidelines to now include healthcare workers and adults (including those over 65 years) with infant contact, as well as children 7 to 10 years old and adolescents, if not fully vaccinated. The Tdap recommendations still include adolescents and pregnant women. According to the CDC, there has been an increase in infant and teen cases of whooping cough since the 1980's. Infants are particularly susceptible to serious or fatal outcomes with whooping cough, and that is why it is so important for all contacts to be vaccinated.

FDA: Replacement for Primatene (Epinephrine) Mist Inhalers Needed by Dec. 31, 2011

Chlorofluorocarbon-containing Primatene Mist to be discontinued; patients should get prescription replacement by Dec 31, 2011 Read More...

Code red air quality days are never good for asthma patients, but here's one step in the right direction: over-the-counter (OTC) epinephrine inhalers (Primatene Mist) still contain ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but will be off the shelf by December 31, 2011. Any patient using OTC epinephrine inhalers for treatment of asthma symptoms should contact their health care provider as soon as possible for an asthma evaluation and to get a suitable prescription inhaler, if needed. Manufacturers of prescription inhalers have already replaced CFCs with the environmentally-friendly propellant hydrofluoroalkane (HFA). Those who still have Primatene Mist at year’s end can use it safely until it’s expiration date.

FDA Okays Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Indication for Remicade (Infliximab)

Remicade given approval for ulcerative colitis in children who have failed other treatment options Read More...

Children six years and older with inadequate response to conventional ulcerative colitis (UC) therapies now have another option with the approval of Remicade (infliximab). Ulcerative colitis is an immune-mediated inflammatory bowel disease with symptoms that may include stomach pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Remicade, a tumor necrosis factor blocker with antiinflammatory properties yielded a 73% response at week 8 in children who exhibited moderate-to-severe UC. Patients has previously failed treatment with 6-mercaptopurine, azathioprine, corticosteroids, and/or 5-aminosalicylates.

FDA Advisory Committee Scheduled to Review Drospirenone in Birth Control Pills

FDA warns again that drospirenone in oral contraceptives may increase risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) Read more...

This week the FDA reminded women who use drospirenone-containing birth control pills of the increased risk for developing a blood clot known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). The clots usually start in the legs and can be life-threatening if they travel to the lungs, heart or other organs. Symptoms may include leg pain, chest pain, or sudden shortness of breath. Women who have risk factors for blood clots such as smoking, excess weight, or a family history of clots should talk with their health care provider to determine the best alternative. The FDA has scheduled an Advisory Committee Meeting for Dec 8, 2011 to further discuss the risk and benefits of drospirenone.

Continuing HPV Debate: Should Boys and Young Men Also Receive the Vaccine?

CDC Advisory Committee Meeting set to discuss extending guidelines to boys and young men to protect against HPV Read more...

Was Human papillomavirus virus (HPV) the top tweeted vaccine topic last week? The HPV vaccine took headlines in a heated political debate and the opening skit of a Saturday night satire. This week, the discussion centers around whether boys and young men should also receive the vaccine as part of an immunization program to ward off the sexually transmissible virus. Vaccinating boys and young men could further help to prevent transmission of HPV, and lower the rates of cervical cancer, genital warts and uncommon penile and anal cancer. In October, infectious disease experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will further discuss whether vaccination should be expanded.