Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Start HIV Treatment Earlier: New WHO Guidelines
Antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV should begin sooner
than it does now, according to new guidelines released Sunday by
the World Health Organization.
Treatment should begin as soon as a patient's CD4 count drops
below 500 cells per cubic millimeter of blood, compared with the
previous count of 350,
The New York Timesreported. CD4s are immune system cells
that are attacked by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The WHO said some people should begin antiretroviral therapy as
soon as they test positive for HIV, regardless of CD4 count. This
includes patients with active tuberculosis or hepatitis B liver
disease, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, children under
age 5, and people whose regular sex partners are not infected.
Many experts recommend that all patients diagnosed with HIV
start treatment immediately, regardless of CD4 count. This greatly
reduces the risk that they'll infect others and may help them live
longer, healthier lives,
Hobby Lobby Won't be Fined in Birth Control Case
Hobby Lobby and the Mardel Christian bookstore chain will not
have to pay $1.3 million in daily fines for refusing to provide
employees with access to certain forms of birth control.
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton made the ruling Friday and set a
court date of July 19 to hear claims by the companies' owners that
having to provide every form of birth control through workers'
health care plans would violate their religious beliefs, the
The owners object to birth control methods meant to prevent
implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, such as the
morning-after pill or an intrauterine device. However, they are
willing to provide employees' with access to 16 other forms of
birth control mentioned in the federal health care law.
Heaton said that between now and the hearing, the government
cannot impose fines against the companies for failing to comply
with the Affordable Care Act, the
FDA Detains Pomegranate Seed Shipments From Turkish Company
Imports of pomegranate seeds from a Turkish company will be
detained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because the seeds
have been linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A.
The outbreak has sickened 127 people in Arizona, California,
Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin and was
linked to a frozen food blend called Townsend Farms and Harris
Tweeter Organic Antioxidant Blends.
An investigation into the outbreak concluded that the most
likely source of the hepatitis A was a shipment of pomegranate
seeds used in the frozen food products. The shipment of pomegranate
seeds came from Foodstuffs Import Export Trading of Turkey, the FDA
The agency said it's working with companies that have
distributed pomegranate seeds from this shipment to help ensure
that all recipients of these seeds are notified.
First Non-Hormonal Treatment for Hot Flashes Approved by FDA
The first non-hormonal treatment for menopause-associated hot
flashes has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
The agency approved Brisdelle to treat moderate to severe hot
flashes. The new drug contains paroxetine, a selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant sold under the brand names
Paxil and Pexeva. Brisdelle is taken once daily at bedtime.
There are a number of FDA-approved treatments for hot flashes,
but all contain either estrogen alone or estrogen plus a progestin.
Approval of Brisdelle was based on two clinical trials that
included a total of 1,175 postmenopausal women and found that
Brisdelle was more effective than a placebo at reducing hot
flashes. Common side effects included headache, fatigue and
Paxil and Pexeva carry a warning about an increased risk of
suicide in children and young adults. Because Brisdelle contains
the same active ingredient as those drugs, a warning about suicide
risk is included on the new drug's label.
Brisdelle's label also warns about a possible reduction in the
effectiveness of tamoxifen if both medications are used together,
and an increased risk of bleeding.
Menopause-associated hot flashes occur in up to 75 percent of
women and can persist for five years or longer. While not
life-threatening, hot flashes can cause discomfort, embarrassment
and sleep disruption.
"There are a significant number of women who suffer from hot flashes associated with menopause and who cannot or do not want to use hormonal treatments," Dr. Hylton Joffe, director of the Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.
Brisdelle is marketed by Noven Therapeutics, LLC. of Miami,
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