Jennifer Gold

Jennifer Gold

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched its first public health education campaign—"The Real Cost"—to prevent and reduce tobacco use among at-risk young people ages 12-17. Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), explains why the agency is undertaking this effort and how it will work.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 00:00

Use Certain Laxatives with Caution

Constipation may not be a subject for polite conversation, but it's a condition that bothers many of us on occasion.

topten spot-sm

Few caregivers are more devoted than parents when caring for a child. Yet, even the most cautious and educated parents will make mistakes when giving medicine to children or fail to protect children from accidental poisonings. Dangerous mistakes with medicines are three times more likely with children than adults, and more than half of all accidental poisonings—mostly with medicines—occur in children less than 5 years old. The list that follows, although not inclusive, covers 10 important safety tips for parents

topten spot-smMost people wouldn't think twice about applying over-the-counter (OTC) creams, lotions, ointments, sprays, or patches to the skin. However, the medicines in these products can enter the body just like medicines taken by mouth.

Thursday, 27 March 2014 16:14

Help “Give birth to the end of Hep B”

People may not realize that an infected mother can pass on the hepatitis B virus to her newborn infant at birth. Hepatitis B is a serious, contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the hepatitis B virus can cause lifelong infection, leading to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

Since 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received 14 reports about over-the-counter (OTC) wart remover products catching fire during use. The cryogenic wart removers, which remove warts by freezing them off, are a mixture of liquid dimethyl ether and propane. These products are regulated by FDA and have a clear warning stating that they are flammable and should be kept away from fire, flames, heat sources, and cigarettes.

If you use the new anticoagulant (blood thinner) Pradaxa (dabigatran), take note. Recent publication of two studies suggests that a lower dose and a lab test may limit the drug’s major drawback: high rates of bleeding.

Our organization often hears from consumers who report the quantity of medicine they receive from the pharmacy is less than the amount prescribed by their physician. For example, we recently received a report from a young patient who had dental surgery and received a prescription for the narcotic painkiller Lortab (hydrocodone and acetaminophen). On the prescription the dentist wrote for 24 pills to be dispensed. The patient’s mother had the prescription filled at a local pharmacy. When she returned home she counted only 21 pills. The mother called the pharmacy because she wanted to make sure the pharmacist was aware that a mistake had been made in the count. But the pharmacist became defensive, even suggesting that the woman’s daughter must have taken the pills without her knowledge.

Many parents like to rub numbing medications on their baby’s gums to treat the discomfort of teething. Products for this purpose, called topical anesthetics, are available for purchase over the counter (OTC). Examples include Anbesol and Orajel. There are also prescription products (e.g., viscous lidocaine) that doctors sometimes recommend. However, because of safety concerns, we do not recommend that babies receive medicines containing topical anesthetics.

Friday, 21 February 2014 18:37

Learn to swallow pills

swallow pillsIt may be easier than you think to learn how to take pills or to teach children how to take pills. If an adult or child can swallow chunky textured food like oatmeal or chunky applesauce without gagging or choking, and can swallow mouthfuls of water, he or she can usually learn to swallow pills. While a toddler is too young to learn to swallow pills, a 6- or 7-year-old child should be ready to learn — some even sooner.

There are several methods with proven track records in teaching children and adults this skill. One method involves a simple behavioral program developed by the New York University Child Study Center that uses tiny candy jimmies to start the process and works up to swallowing Tic Tacs. To learn more about this program, click here. Another pill swallowing method was developed by Dr. Bonnie Kaplan of the University of Calgary. This method provides videos to support training sessions which focus on head positions when swallowing a pill. To learn more about this program, click here. Both training resources have been highly successful and are available FREE on the Internet.