Homeopathy trial aims to cut drug side-effects
Source: NPICenter.com
Last Update: Saturday, July 24, 2004. 3:26pm (AEST)

A landmark trial of a natural treatment for osteoarthritis could provide relief to many sufferers who cannot use conventional medicines.

Authorities believe around 15 per cent of Australians have the debilitating disease.

Research coordinator Don Baker says some patients, who take the available medication, suffer from side-effects like gastric bleeding, nausea and kidney and liver dysfunction.

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Stroke Drugs May Increase Bleeding in Gut
Combination Treatment Not Advised for Stroke Prevention
By Jeanie Lerche Davis
Reviewed By Brunilda  Nazario, MD
on Thursday, July 22, 2004
Source: WebMDHealth

July 22, 2004 -- A duo stroke prevention drug treatment -- aspirin and Plavix -- may increase the risk of serious intestinal bleeding in people who have had strokes, a new study shows.

The report, which appears in this week's issue of The Lancet, investigates the safety of the anti-clotting drug Plavix -- which is known to reduce stroke risk -- plus aspirin, which also has anti-clotting capabilities. There have been concerns about the use of these drugs and the risks of bleeding. Previous studies have shown that the two drugs effectively reduce the risk of heart attacks.

But does risk of bleeding outweigh the stroke-prevention potential that the combination may offer? That's what this newest study analyzes.

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Schizophrenia maker Janssen Pharmaceutica admits making misleading claims regarding Risperdal's risks
25 Jul 2004
Source: Medical News Today


Janseen Pharmaceutica Products LP has admitted that it had made misleading claims regarding its schizophrenia drug Risperdal. Risperdal does have potentially fatal safety risks.

The company has sent a letter to doctors stating that it had, in fact, minimized the risks and had made misleading claims about Risperdal in its promotional material.

Last year the FDA had told anti-psychotic drug makers to bring their product labels up-to-date. Janssen Pharmaceutica did so, but the FDA said the company’s promotional material was still misleading with regard to the risk of strokes, diabetes and other side-effects (some of which are fatal).

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Children to get jabs against drug addiction
Ministers consider vaccination scheme. Heroin, cocaine and nicotine targeted
By Sophie Goodchild and Steve Bloomfield
Source: The Indipendent
25 July 2004

A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by ministers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Under the plans, doctors would immunise children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection. The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.

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Consumers Protection? Science Based Decision?

In a Shift, Bush Moves to Block Medical Suits
By ROBERT PEAR
Published: July 25, 2004
Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON, July 24 — The Bush administration has been going to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices.

The administration contends that consumers cannot recover damages for such injuries if the products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In court papers, the Justice Department acknowledges that this position reflects a "change in governmental policy," and it has persuaded some judges to accept its arguments, most recently scoring a victory in the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

Allowing consumers to sue manufacturers would "undermine public health" and interfere with federal regulation of drugs and devices, by encouraging "lay judges and juries to second-guess" experts at the F.D.A., the government said in siding with the maker of a heart pump sued by the widow of a Pennsylvania man. Moreover, it said, if such lawsuits succeed, some good products may be removed from the market, depriving patients of beneficial treatments.

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Listen to voters: Don’t fluoridate Watsonville water
By JUDY DOERING-NIELSEN
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinell
July 25, 2004

I’m disappointed by the court’s decision to ignore the vote of the people of Watsonville, and deeply concerned that one person can override the mandate of the residents of this city who circulated a petition, got the issue on the ballot and voted to not fluoridate the water system.

Having said this, I respect the right of experts as well as non-experts to believe or protest putting an additive into the Watsonville public water system. It is irrelevant whether a measure is won by a single vote or thousands of votes. The democratic process must stand and the voice of the people should not be ignored.

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Majority of Americans Not Getting Enough Magnesium
Wednesday July 21, 3:02 pm ET
Source: Yahoo News

Press Release

Most Not Aware of RDA for Essential Mineral

STAMFORD, Conn., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Magnesium is an essential mineral of a healthy diet. It may help to maintain the function of the heart, muscles and nervous system.* However, according to a recent Gallup poll, four out of five Americans (80%) are not consuming enough magnesium from diet alone. That number may be even higher among those who have certain medical conditions or are taking medications known to deplete magnesium in the body.

Even when including vitamin and mineral supplements together with diet, only about one in three (35%) consume the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or better of magnesium (between 310 - 420 mg/day). The vast majority of respondents (86%) were not aware of the daily requirement of magnesium at all.

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Calif. Clinic Accused of Surgery Scam
Calif. Clinic Operators Arrested in Alleged Insurance Scam Involving Thousands of Unneeded Surgeries

The Associated Press (Source: http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20040721_2382.html)

SANTA ANA, Calif. July 21, 2004 — Operators of a Los Angeles-area clinic paid thousands of people to undergo risky, unnecessary surgeries as part of a nationwide insurance fraud scheme, authorities said Wednesday.

Some 5,000 patients were recruited from across the country and flown to California, where they underwent surgeries that were billed at excessive amounts to their insurance companies, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

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Adverse Reactions to Aspartame
From Judy Tidwell,

Aspartame May Be the Cause of Your Health Problems
Commonly known as Nutrasweet or Equal, aspartame, is an artificial sweetener that replaces sugar in many products. It is one of the most controversial products on the market today.

Those who have suffered adverse reactions from aspartame use claim it is a chemical poison, whereas, the United States Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) claim it is a safe product. Whose claim do we believe?

Aspartame is made up of three chemicals. It is a mixture of 40 percent aspartic acid, 50 percent of phenylalanine, and 10 percent of methanol. Does this chemical combination cause health problems?

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Astra Zeneca threatens to leave if Sweden doesn't buy more new medicine
Tue Jul 20,10:17 AM ET
Source: Yahoo News

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Anglo-Swedish drugs giant Astra Zeneca has threatened to move its research activities from Sweden if county councils do not stop recommending that doctors prescribe older, less expensive drugs to their patients, Swedish radio reported.

"Why should we put 11 billion kronor (1.48 billion dollars, 1.20 billion euros) a year into research in Sweden when Sweden as a country doesn't appreciate what these 5,000 researchers do?" Astra Zeneca's head of global drug development Martin Nicklasson told Swedish public radio station Ekot.

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