Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Anti-Seizure Drug Can Cause Serious Skin Reactions: FDA
In rare cases, the anti-seizure drug Onfi (clobazam) can cause
serious skin reactions that can result in serious injury and death,
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
The drug is used in combination with other medications to treat
seizures caused by a severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut
Syndrome. The drug's label and its patient Medication Guide have
been changed to explain the risk, the FDA said.
The skin reactions -- called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and
toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) -- can occur at any time during
Onfi treatment. However, the risk of skin reactions is greater
during the first 8 weeks of treatment or when a patient stops
taking Onfi and then starts taking it again.
All cases of SJS and TEN reported to the FDA have resulted in
hospitalization, one case resulted in blindness, and one case
resulted in death.
Patients taking Onfi should seek immediate medical treatment if
they develop a rash, blistering or peeling of the skin, sores in
the mouth, or hives, but patients should not stop taking the drug
without first talking to their health care professionals, the FDA
Stopping Onfi suddenly can cause serious withdrawal problems,
such as seizures that will not stop, hallucinations, shaking,
nervousness, and stomach or muscle cramps.
Obama Announces $100 Million HIV Research Program
A $100 million National Institutes of Health initiative to
pursue a cure for HIV was announced Monday by President Barack
He said the money will be used to develop a new generation of
therapies, and also said the U.S. should be a leader in research to
eliminate HIV or to force it into remission without the need for
lifelong therapy, the
Obama made the announcement at a White House event marking World
AIDS Day, which was Sunday.
He also said the U.S. had passed the goal he set last year to
support 6 million HIV patients worldwide in getting access to
anti-retroviral drugs. So far, the U.S. had helped 6.7 million
people receive the life-saving treatment, the
First Human Case of H7N9 Bird Flu Reported in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has reported its first human case of H7N9 bird
The patient is a 36-year-old Indonesian maid who is in hospital
in critical condition, according to Hong Kong Health Secretary Ko
The maid was known to cross the border to the mainland Chinese
city of Shenzhen to buy, slaughter and eat chickens, said Ko, who
added that Hong Kong will step up its flu pandemic preparedness
The H7N9 virus was first identified in mainland China in April
and has since sickened 139 people and killed 45 in China and
Taiwan. The spread of the virus appears to have stalled since
Chinese authorities cracked down on live animal markets, the
Even so, experts fear the virus will re-emerge this winter.
4th Meningitis Case Confirmed at California University
Another case of meningitis has been confirmed at the University
of California, Santa Barbara and public health officials have urged
the school to suspend parties and other social events on the
The 18-year-old male student was the fourth case at UCSB in a
month. One student has been left permanently disabled,
The B strain of meningitis has been confirmed as the cause of
three of the cases. The strain in the latest case still needs to be
confirmed. The B strain of meningitis is not covered by the vaccine
recommend for U.S. college students.
Princeton University in New Jersey has been hit by an outbreak
of meningitis B, but it has a different genetic fingerprint than
the strain in the UCSB cases, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention,
U.S. Bishops Face Lawsuit Over Catholic Hospitals' Abortion
A lawsuit filed Friday against the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops says the group's anti-abortion orders to Catholic
hospitals prevent proper care of pregnant women in medical
distress, leading to medical negligence.
The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on
behalf of a woman who says she was not given accurate information
or care at a Catholic hospital in Michigan after her water broke at
18 weeks of pregnancy,
The New York Timesreported.
As a result of this failure by staff at Mercy Health Partners in
Muskegon, Tamesha Means says she was exposed to dangerous
infections. The suit alleges that the bishops' ethical and
religious directives require Catholic hospitals to avoid abortions
or referrals "even when doing so places a woman's health or life at
The ACLU said it launched legal action against the bishops
because there have been several cases in recent years in which
Catholic hospital policies on abortion interfered with medical
Both the hospital and the bishops conference refused
An advisor to the bishops could not speak about the ACLU lawsuit
because he was unfamiliar with it. But John Haas, president of the
National Catholics Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, told
The Timesthat the bishops' directives do allow actions to
treat women at risk, even if the treatment might cause the loss of
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