The use of prescription drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is rising faster among American adults than children, says a study by Medco Health Solutions, one of the largest prescription benefit mangers in the United States.
The research, released Thursday, found that between 2000 and 2004 the use of ADHD drugs doubled among adults aged 20 to 44, compared to an increase of 56 percent among children. ADHD drug use increased 113 percent among women aged 20 to 44 and 104 percent among women aged 45 to 64, the Associated Press reported.
Those increases among women were far higher than among men. The study also found that spending on ADHD drugs quadrupled between 2000 and 2004. Overall, nearly 1.5 million Americans aged 20 and older are using the drugs, which are meant to help the mental focus of people with ADHD.
Improved drugs and advertising are among the reasons for this increase in adult use of ADHD drugs, according to experts. Another factor is that some parents of children newly diagnosed with ADHD realize they have the same symptoms, the AP reported.
While about 1 percent of American adults are being treated for ADHD, about four times as many are estimated to have the disorder, Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer, told the AP.
Erbitux Warning Label Revised
Doctors need to monitor patients who receive the colorectal cancer drug Erbitux for an hour after they are given an injection of the drug to watch for possible reactions such as difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood pressure, or hives, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday.
The monitoring advice was among the changes made to the drug's warning label announced Wednesday by the FDA and drug makers ImClone and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Associated Press reported.
The warning label advises doctors that about 3 percent of patients who receive an injection of Erbitux suffer a severe reaction. The label also notes that deaths are rare -- occurring in fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of patients who are given Erbitux, the AP reported.
Periodic monitoring for severe electrolyte depletion is recommended for patients who receive Erbitux for several weeks, the label says.
Closer Scrutiny Urged of FDA's Monitoring of Medical Devices
Prompted by recent controversy over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's failure to alert the public about a problem with a model of implantable heart defibrillator, two U.S. lawmakers have vowed increased scrutiny of how the FDA monitors the safety of these and other kinds of critical medical devices.
In separate statements released Wednesday, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) criticized what they said was the FDA's failure to alert the public about data it receives from medical manufacturers that shows problems with their products, The New York Times reported.
The FDA requires companies that make defibrillators and pacemakers to file annual detailed reports about how often, and why, their products fail. The FDA treats these reports as confidential. The reports provided to the FDA contain far more product safety information than data that the companies give to doctors, the Times reported.
Earlier this week, the newspaper reported that the FDA received a regular annual filing in February from heart-device maker Guidant Corporation that revealed that one model of a popular implantable defibrillator was suffering short circuits at a rate of about one unit a month.
About a month later, a young U.S. man with one of the flawed defibrillators suffered sudden cardiac arrest and died.
Late Wednesday, the FDA announced it was reviewing how companies of critical medical devices file their annual reports.
"Guidance is being developed which will ensure that companies provide information about device failures and problems in a way that facilitates prompt, efficient review by FDA," said a statement from the agency.
Celebrex Cancer Prevention Study Resumes
A University of Texas study to determine whether the painkiller Celebrex can help prevent lung cancer is resuming after being cancelled late last year due to concerns over whether the drug may increase heart attack risk.
Smokers recruited for this study will be monitored for cardiovascular problems and given aggressive treatment if necessary, the Associated Press reported.
The cancer-prevention potential of Celebrex makes the study worth doing, despite the possibility of increased heart attack risk among volunteers, said Dr. Bernard Levin, vice president of cancer prevention at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The study was two-thirds complete when it was suspended last year. The resumed study will last six months instead of a year. Study volunteers will have their blood pressure monitored and patients with any cardiovascular changes will receive prompt treatment. No patients who've had a heart attack or stroke will be allowed to take part in the study, the AP reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended in February that researchers continue to study the potential of Celebrex to prevent cancer. The U.S. National Cancer Institute advised researchers to weigh the risks and benefits of Celebrex in their clinical trials.
Celebrex is part of a family of painkillers called cox-2 inhibitors, which have been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Two other cox-2 drugs, Vioxx and Bextra, have been removed from the market.
2nd Lawsuit Against Vioxx Maker Begins
A second trial has begun alleging that Merck & Co. knew of the cardiac risks posed by the now-defunct arthritis drug Vioxx but failed to warn consumers.
During opening statements in an Atlantic City, NJ. courtroom on Wednesday, the lawyer for Frederick Humeston said the Vietnam War veteran had led an active lifestyle before he suffered a heart attack within two months of starting the painkiller, according to the Associated Press. Humeston, 60, of Boise, Idaho, survived the Sept. 18, 2001 attack.
Merck contends Humeston's heart attack was related to war injuries and a sedentary lifestyle, the wire service reported.
His trial is the first to be heard since last month, when a Texas jury hearing the nation's first Vioxx case found in favor of a widow who blamed the drug for the death of her husband from an abnormal heartbeat. The jury awarded the woman $253 million, although the award will be reduced to about $26 million. Texas law caps punitive damages at about that number in malpractice cases.
Vioxx, which once had annual sales of $2.5 billion, was withdrawn by Merck in September 2004, when research showed the drug increased long-term users' risks of heart attack and stroke.
Health Tip: If Your Child's Sinuses Are Blocked
Blocked sinuses, which rarely occur in kids under age five, are often caused by a cold or hay fever, according to St. Louis Children's Hospital.
By treating your child's sinus congestion, you can prevent it from developing into a true sinus infection.
Here are some tips:
Use warm water or saline nose drops followed by suction or nose blowing to wash dried mucus out of the nose. Run a humidifier in the home. Ice applied over the sinus for 20 minutes may give some pain relief. With treatment, sinus congestion often resolves in five to seven days. A fever and increased pain could indicate a bacterial sinusitis that may need an antibiotic.
Health Tip: Don't Skip Meals
If you're trying to cut your calorie intake by skipping meals, you could end up gaining weight instead.
According to George Washington University, people who skip meals, especially breakfast, are more likely to overeat later in the day. That's because when you skip meals, you upset your body's natural cycle of sleep, wakefulness and hunger.
So in trying to right itself, your system overcompensates and you may end up eating from mid-afternoon until bedtime.