ADHD Drug Shortage Leaves Patients Scrambling to Find It

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A nationwide shortage of the generic form of Adderall XR, a drug used for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults, has sent many patients scrambling from pharmacy to pharmacy to find it and has left others wondering what they'll do if their pharmacies run out.

The companies that make the drug, known in its generic form as mixed amphetamine salts, say the shortage is caused by supply problems and blame other manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration for restricting the amount of amphetamines available, which the DEA denies.  The companies say they don't know when supply will increase.

Although the brand name drug is in adequate supply, it's still been difficult for many people to get it.

"Patients have had to run around to other pharmacies trying to find the generic, or try to get their insurance companies to cover the brand name product," said Erin Fox, manager of the Drug Information Service at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, which tracks drug shortages nationwide.  "Some pharmacies don't even carry the brand name."

Those who live with ADHD and doctors who treat it know how debilitating the condition can be.  Without their medication to keep it under control, the consequences can be serious.

"Adults are more likely to get divorced, underperform at work, have motor vehicle accidents, and if they're not treated, tend to have higher rates of substance abuse," said Dr. Lenard Adler, director of the Adult ADHD Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

Children, he said, may have academic problems and place a lot of stress on families because of their hyperactivity.

Adler added that if people with ADHD need to switch medications, it can lead to a number of problems.  The dosage may not be correct and it will take time to adjust it appropriately, or they may not respond as well to other drugs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dads May Influence Kids' Eating More Than Moms

D. Anschutz/Digital Vision(COLLGE STATION, Texas) -- Fathers play a huge role in the choices their children make, and according to a new study, those choices include the food they eat.

Researchers analyzed the eating-out habits of more than 300 families with children ages 9 to 11 or 13 to 15. They found that how often fathers ate in fast-food and in full-service restaurants influenced how often their children ate in the same places.

"By far the biggest influence on how often children ate out was the number of times fathers did," said lead author Alex McIntosh, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University in College Station. "Fathers' time in and use of fast-food restaurants increased a kid's likelihood of going to a fast-food restaurant."

The study found that fathers also influenced how often children ate in fast-food restaurants in other ways. Children whose fathers were more authoritarian were more likely to eat junk food. The children of fathers who believed they didn't have a lot of control at work and who also placed less value on family meal time were also more likely to eat in fast-food restaurants.

The amount of time spent in the car also influenced eating habits.

"If more time is spent riding in the car, less time might be available to the child and others in the car for other activities, including family meals at home," the authors wrote.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2008, 48 percent of the money spent on food went to pay for meals eaten away from home. In 1974, that number was 34 percent. Other studies have linked this increased spending to the rise in obesity nationwide.

"We undertook the study because people are interested in how parents affect children's eating habits and obesity, and I've always felt that there was too much attention paid to mothers, and we ought to be looking at fathers every time we look at mothers," said McIntosh.

The authors acknowedge that the findings don't necessarily apply to all families, since they only studied a few hundred families in a limited geographic area. Despite that limitation, nutrition experts not involved in the research said the study was very important. While some of the other variables, such as work schedules and parenting styles, have been studied before in relation to dietary choices, the finding that fathers have such a strong influence over what their children eat should send a message that both parents play a role in what kids eat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Test to Help Speed-Up Distinguishing Between MRSA and MSSA

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Health experts will now be able to save time when trying to determine whether Staphylococcus aureus infections in patients are methicillin resistant (MRSA) or methicillin susceptible (MSSA), as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that it has cleared a test that will allow a speed-up in the process.

There are various types of Staphylococci bacteria, some of which are easily treated with antibiotics and some that are resistant to this treatment, such as MRSA.

The FDA has cleared the KeyPath MRSA/MSSA Blood Culture Test for use by doctors, with officials saying that the test makes it possible to determine whether bacteria in a patient’s positive blood culture sample are MRSA or MSSA within about five hours.

“This not only saves time in diagnosing potentially life-threatening infections but also allows health care professionals to optimize treatment and start appropriate contact precautions to prevent the spread of the organism,” said Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics Device Evaluation and Safety in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


California Cities Top 'Most Polluted' List

Jupiterimages/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) -- There are some lists that cities would rather not be highly ranked on, and the list of most polluted cities is one of those lists.

The American Lung Association recently released its annual report on air quality across America, titled the State of the Air 2011. Those who compiled the report say it assigns grades for ozone air pollution (smog) and particle air pollution (soot) and then ranks the cities according to these criteria. Overall, researchers say the 2011 report found that some progress has been made in the cleanup of deadly toxics.

The five most polluted cities by ozone pollution, according to the State of the Air 2011 report are as follows:
1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
2. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
3. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
4. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
5. Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Yuba City, Calif.

The five most polluted cities by short-term particle pollution, according to the State of the Air 2011 report are as follows:
1. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
2. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
3. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
5. Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Five Tips for Fighting Spring Allergies

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you are sneezing and have itchy eyes this spring allergy season, you are not alone. The year 2011 is shaping up to be the worst year for allergy sufferers on record.

More than 35 million Americans suffer from pollen allergies, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And every year, the United States reportedly spends approximately $21 billion on health costs related to allergies.

A study published Friday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA searched for the cause of a trend towards longer allergy seasons.

Researchers found that a delayed first frost of the fall season and a lengthening of the frost-free season combined with increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have contributed to a longer allergy season. Longer pollen seasons increase human exposure, the duration of symptoms and severity of symptoms.

"Studies have found that not only do [plants] create more pollen, it's more potent," said Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and a practicing physician in Atlanta.

So what can you do if you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from pollen allergies every year? Fineman gave ABC News the following five tips for avoiding allergies:

1. Get tested to find out exactly to what you are allergic.

2. Consult your physician about possible treatments such as allergy shots and medication.

3. Wash your hair and clothes regularly to get rid of pollen.

4. If you have pets, groom them regularly because they can bring pollen indoors.

5. Stay indoors as much as possible during pollen season to minimize your exposure.

Thankfully, science has been steadily improving the ability to combat pollen allergy symptoms.

"We can [now] pinpoint what triggers symptoms with specific testing, where in the past it was much more generalized," said Fineman. "Now, it's much more specific and accurate and sensitive. ... Treatments are more targeted and allergy shots are much more effective because we know better dosages."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cartoid Stent Approved for Wider Use

Pixland(WASHINGTON) -- Officials have approved an expanded indication that will allow a new group of patients who face the risk of stroke, to be treated with the RX Acculink carotid stent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval on Friday, allowing patients with the risk of stroke due to clogged neck arteries to have the stent implemented. This is a follow-up to the 2004 move by the FDA to allow RX Acculink for use with patients who had clogged arteries and were faced with the risk of complications if they underwent surgical treatment that involved scraping out plaque from the neck artery.

The FDA’s latest approval regarding the RX Acculink, extends the indication for use of the stent to all patients with clogged carotid arteries who face the risk of stroke.

“Expanded access to RX Acculink means patients and their health care providers have another option for treating clogged neck arteries,” said Christy Foreman, M.B.E., director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

According to a release from the FDA, with the RX Acculink, a catheter is inserted into the groin and then threaded up to the affected neck artery, following which a stent is placed into the artery to keep it open.

The FDA’s approval comes following a 10-year study that involved 2,502 patients at 119 clinical sites in the United States and Canada.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the approval of a drug that helps in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, providing some encouraging news for patients with the disease.

On Friday the FDA said that it has approved the drug Afinitor (everolimus) for treatment to patients with progressive neuroendocrine tumors located in the pancreas, that cannot be removed by surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.

“Patients with this cancer have few effective treatment options,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Oncology Drug Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Afinitor has demonstrated the ability to slow the growth and spread of neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas.”

In a news release, the FDA says the drug was deemed safe for use after a clinical trial involving 410 patients who either had progressive neuroendocrine tumors spread to other parts of the body or had a disease that could not be removed with surgery. During the trial some patients reportedly received Afinitor and others received placebo (sugar pill).

The FDA says after being treated with Afinitor, the median length of time patients lived without the cancer spreading or worsening was 11 months, as compared to a period of 4.6 months for patients that received placebo.

Afinitor has also been approved to treat patients with kidney cancer and patients with a type of brain cancer called subependymal giant cell astrocytoma.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Brooklyn Toddler Dies After Circumcision

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is investigating the death of two-year-old Jamaal Coleson, Jr. following a circumcision Tuesday at Manhattan's Beth Israel Medical Center.

"They gave him anesthesia, and after the circumcision he woke up he was fine," said Jabbar Coleson, Jamaal Jr.'s uncle, who lives in Jonesboro, Ga. "He asked to eat, he asked for something to drink, and then he started complaining about pain in his stomach."

Jabbar said his nephew was in the outpatient ward when doctors noticed something was wrong. But four hours passed before the toddler was rushed to the emergency room, he said. The case, which has been reported as an accidental death to the New York State Department of Health, highlights the extremely rare complications of the procedure performed widely throughout the United States.

"Circumcision is a surgical procedure and so with that there are certain risks, although the risks are quite small," said Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, and author of Baby 411.

The most common complications are local infections and bleeding, but Brown says the risks are about one in 1,000 and one in 3,000 respectively. In infants, circumcision is done using local anesthesia -- a numbing cream or an injection into the skin. But the general anesthesia used for older children, like Jamaal Jr., can increase the risk of complications.

"The risk is still low, but it's higher than with local anesthesia," Brown said, adding that in extremely rare cases people can be allergic to an anesthetic.

Beth Israel Medical Center staff will conduct an internal review of the events the led to Jamaal Jr.'s death, the hospital said in a statement. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office said the cause of death would be released in two weeks, following standard tissue and toxicology tests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Where's the Best Place to Be a Mom?

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Millions of Americans will celebrate Mother's Day this weekend, and Save the Children has come out with its list of the best places to be a mom.

The United States finished 31st of the 43 developed countries appearing in the rankings of 164 nations.

Save the Children created its list by studying health, education and economic factors for women.

Here's a look at the 10 best and worst places to be a mother:

1. Norway
2. (tie) Australia
2. (tie) Iceland
4. Sweden
5. Denmark
6. New Zealand
7. Finland
8. Belgium
9. Netherlands
10. France

1. Afghanistan
2. Niger
3. Guinea-Bissau
4. Yemen
5. Chad
6. DR Congo
7. Eritrea
8. Mali
9. Sudan
10. Central African Republic

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Defibrillators in Dance Studios and Bowling Alleys Could Save Lives

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever checked to see whether your local bowling alley or dance studio has an automatic external defibrillator? Its presence if someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest could mean the difference between life and death, according to research presented Thursday at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting.

In cases of cardiac arrest, an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a potentially lifesaving device that can analyze the heart's electrical activity and, if appropriate, shock it back to a normal rhythm. The device has pads that are placed on a person's chest. A voice built into the machine can give rescuers step-by-step instructions.

While AEDs are everywhere from health clubs to offices, other places where people engage in physical activity are probably overlooked, said Dr. Richard Page, chair of the department of medicine at University of Wisconsin and co-author of the study.

"I think we need to consider exercise to be happening at a lot of different places," said Page. "The need for an AED should be recognized at not just traditional exercise facilities."

The study, which looked at data from 960 older adult patients in Seattle who had sudden cardiac arrest, found that some of the most common places where patients experienced sudden cardiac arrest included dancing studios and bowling alleys.

Page said that bowlers in general might not be as physically active, which could lead to a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Dancing, he said, requires strenuous aerobic exercise, which can also increase the risk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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