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Antibiotics speed up recovery from ear infections in young children, studies show
January 13th, 2011
10:12 AM ET

Antibiotics speed up recovery from ear infections in young children, studies show

Giving babies and toddlers antibiotics when doctors are certain they have ear infections can help speed up their recovery, supporting current treatment guidelines for children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months.

However, antibiotics do come with significant side effects including diarrhea, rashes, yeast infections and vomiting. Overuse of drugs also contributes to antibiotic resistance, so careful selection of who should take antibiotics is necessary according to 2 studies published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA warns public of internet pharmacy extortion scam
January 7th, 2011
04:58 PM ET

FDA warns public of internet pharmacy extortion scam

Criminals posing as law enforcement agents are scamming people who purchase drugs over the internet, the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers Friday.

The international extortion scam targets people who bought drugs online or from telepharmacies. The victims are called by criminals posing as FDA special agents or other law enforcement personnel. They are told that buying drugs over the telephone or internet is illegal and threatened with police action unless fines ranging between $100 and $250,000 are paid.

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The power of placebos
December 22nd, 2010
05:41 PM ET

The power of placebos

Hoping to get around the practice of deceiving patients with fake treatments, researchers tried to determine whether placebos, also known as dummy pills, would work even if the patients knew they weren't taking an active drug. 

Patients knowingly taking a placebo still found relief from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE found.

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November 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Drugs common in fatal car crashes

A first-ever drug analysis of drivers killed in car crashes found one in three tested positive for drugs in 2009, the Office of National Drug Control Policy reported Tuesday.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy, said the percentage was alarming and should serve as a wakeup call.

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Pregnant women should take acid inhibitors with caution
November 24th, 2010
05:03 PM ET

Pregnant women should take acid inhibitors with caution

Pregnant women who take acid-suppressing medications called proton-pump inhibitors  are not at an increased risk of having babies with birth defects, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, an epidemiologist from Boston University School of Medicine, in an accompanying editorial, calls the results "reassuring" but "far from definitive."

"There's no evidence that they do any harm, but we don't yet have as much safety evidence as we would like," said Boston University's Dr. Allen Mitchell. "Unlike experimental studies, a single observational study can't provide definitive results."

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Study: Breastfeeding OK for moms with epilepsy
November 24th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Study: Breastfeeding OK for moms with epilepsy

Women who have epilepsy have always faced a dilemma when it came to having babies.  It's a difficult balancing act between taking antiepileptic drugs, known as AEDs, during their pregnancy and protecting their unborn children from the risks associated with the medication, like birth defects and adverse cognitive effects.  That balancing act continues for new mothers who want to breastfeed but worry about continuing to expose their infants to their medication.

Now a study in the journal Neurology takes some of that worry away.  According to the research, breastfeeding while taking antiepileptic medication is not associated with an increased risk of adverse events.  Researchers enrolled 195 pregnant women from around the country.  Each woman took one of four popular antiepileptic medications throughout her pregnancy: Carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, or valproate.  Nearly half of those women went on to breastfeed their newborns.  Once each child reached the age of three, researchers tested their IQ.

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November 19th, 2010
11:50 AM ET

Darvon, Darvocet to be pulled from U.S. market

Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc. - the maker of Darvon and Darvocet, the brand version of the prescription pain medication propoxyphene - has agreed to withdraw the medication from the U.S. market at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA said on Friday.

The FDA sought the action after new clinical data showed the drug puts patients at risk of potentially serious or even fatal heart rhythm abnormalities.


October 12th, 2010
06:53 PM ET

FDA OKs drug to fight opiate addiction

Doctors who treat drug addicts have a new option at their fingertips, thanks to a decision Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA gave its blessing to an injectable medicine, Vivitrol, as a treatment for opiate addiction. That's addiction to drugs including heroin as well as powerful prescription painkillers such as OxyContin.

Vivitrol is a time-release version of a drug called naltrexone, which blocks brain receptors from responding to opiates. Without that internal reward, the craving for the drug goes away.

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September 2nd, 2010
11:30 AM ET

Americans' RX drug use on the rise

Americans are using more prescription drugs than ever before. New data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that over the last 10 years the number of Americans taking one prescription drug increased 10 percent, those taking multiple prescriptions rose 20 percent and the number of folks using five or more prescription drugs jumped 70 percent.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) monitors health and nutrition of the U.S. population. Participants were asked about their prescription drug use in the past month. The survey found for the year 2007-2008–the most recent data–one of five children and nine out of 10 adults over 60 used one or more medications.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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