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|June 14, 2011
The FDA announced significant changes to sunscreen products that will help consumers decide how to buy and
use sunscreen, and allow them to more effectively protect themselves and their families from sun-induced
damage. For more information about these changes, see Questions and Answers1.
Sunscreen products that meet modern standards for effectiveness may be labeled with new information to help
consumers find products that, when used with other sun protection measures, reduce the risk of skin cancer
and early skin aging, as well as help prevent sunburn. These new requirements are part of an ongoing effort to
ensure sunscreens meet modern-day standards for safety and efficacy and are based on the latest science
available. They will also reduce confusion about sunscreen.
|June 11, 2011
Growing Internet Use May Help Explain Rise in Rx Abuse in US
The rising availability through the Internet of commonly abused prescription drugs has raised
public health concerns. We examined whether the growth of US prescription drug abuse may be
explained by the parallel growth in high-speed Internet use. We find that for every 10 percent
increase in high-speed Internet use at the state level, associated treatment facility admissions
for prescription drug abuse rose by 1 percent. Admissions for abuse of alcohol, cocaine, and
heroin, which are not readily purchased online, had minimal or negative growth during the same
period. The results suggest that better surveillance of online prescription drug sales is
warranted, and aggressive efforts to curb illegitimate online pharmacies may be necessary.
(Source: Health Affairs, v. 30, no. 6, June 2011, p. 1192-1199)
|June 8, 2011
Conoce las Preguntas -- New Public Service Campaign Urges Hispanics To Talk With Their Doctor
Hispanics are less likely to see a doctor or other health professionals regularly than other ethnics groups. The
data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is startling. Half (47 percent) of adult Hispanics
reported that they did not see a doctor in 2008, compared with 29 percent of adults in other ethnic groups.
Click here for data
Why is there such a gap? One reason is the lack of health insurance. One in three, or 33 percent, of Hispanics
under age 65 did not have health insurance coverage in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. Another is language. Nearly half (49 percent) of Hispanics who are not comfortable
speaking English do not have a regular source of health care, compared to two-thirds (63 percent) who are
fluent in English, according to AHRQ data.
To address these problems, AHRQ and the Ad Council have created a new Spanish language campaign called
Conoce las Preguntas, or Know the Questions. Through TV, radio, print and Web ads, the new campaign
encourages Hispanics to get more involved in their health care and to talk with their doctors.
For example, one ad shows a middle-aged man with a backache asking for treatment advice from his barber, a
woman in a Laundromat, and a friend at the gym. Each offers different—and sometimes conflicting—remedies:
use heat to relieve the ache, use cold, and exercise. Finally, in the last part of the ad, the man asks his doctor
what he should do about his aching back.
The PSAs also offer tips to help Hispanics prepare for medical appointments by thinking about questions to ask
during doctors' visits. Additional tips include talking to the doctor about all symptoms, habits, and treatments;
making sure you understand what your doctor tells you; and following instructions about medicines or follow-
up visits. The PSAs direct audiences to visit AHRQ's Spanish-language Web site at www.ahrq.gov/preguntas
for important health information.
|June 7, 2011
Safety Information: Benzocaine Topical Products: Sprays, Gels and Liquids - Risk of Methemoglobinemia
FDA continues to receive reports of methemoglobinemia, a serious and potentially fatal adverse effect,
associated with benzocaine products both as a spray, used during medical procedures to numb the mucous
membranes of the mouth and throat, and benzocaine gels and liquids sold over-the-counter and used to
relieve pain from a variety of conditions, such as teething, canker sores, and irritation of the mouth and gums.
BACKGROUND: Methemoglobinemia is a rare, but serious condition in which the amount of oxygen
through the blood stream is greatly reduced. In the most severe cases, methemoglobinemia can result in
death. Patients who develop methemoglobinemia may experience signs and symptoms such as pale, gray or
blue colored skin, lips, and nail beds; headache; lightheadedness; shortness of breath; fatigue; and rapid
heart rate. Methemoglobinemia has been reported with all strengths of benzocaine gels and liquids, and cases
occurred mainly in children aged two years or younger who were treated with benzocaine gel for teething. The
signs and symptoms usually appear within minutes to hours of applying benzocaine and may occur with the
first application of benzocaine or after additional use. The development of methemoglobinemia after treatment
with benzocaine sprays may not be related to the amount applied. In many cases, methemoglobinemia was
reported following the administration of a single benzocaine spray.
Recommendations for Consumers
• Benzocaine products should not be used on children less than two years of age, except under the
advice and supervision of a healthcare professional.
• Adult consumers who use benzocaine gels or liquids to relieve pain in the mouth should
follow the recommendations in the product label.
• Consumers should store benzocaine products out of reach of children.
• Talk to their healthcare professional about using benzocaine.
On the FDA web site (see above link) read the two Drug Safety Communications for other specific
recommendations for Healthcare Professionals, for Consumers and Caregivers and the Data Summary which
supports these recommendations. FDA is continuing to evaluate the safety of benzocaine products and the
Agency will update the public when it has additional information. FDA will take appropriate regulatory actions as
|May 27, 2011
Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Abuse Medicine
This publication from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is designed to be a guide to help consumers
understand and identify the current medications that teens are abusing. It is not all-inclusive; every dosage
unit or generic form of the medications cannot be listed due to space constraints and the frequent introduction
of new drugs. (Published 2008).
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