Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Curbs on L.A. Medical Marijuana Outlets 'Disaster' for Patients
A Los Angeles ordinance that places restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries will dramatically restrict patient access to the drug, according to critics of the law.
The measure, passed Tuesday by the city council, forces dispensaries to comply with local restrictions, such as being at least 1,000 feet away from parks, schools and libraries. In addition, dispensaries will not be allowed to abut or be across an alley from residential property, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The restrictions will make it difficult to find suitable locations, say the operators of the estimated 150 medical marijuana dispensaries.
"It's a disaster for patients," James Shaw, director of the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, told the city council after the vote, the Times reported.
Defect Prompts Recall of 2 Million Needles
Two million Exel/Exelint Huber needles are being recalled because there's a risk they can push pieces of silicone into patients' bodies, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The needles are used to access injection ports implanted beneath the skin of patients with chronic diseases who require frequent injections, the Associated Press reported.
The voluntary recall by Miami-based Nipro Medical Corp. includes needles made between January 2007 and August 2009.
An FDA inspection of Nipro's manufacturing plant found that 60 to 72 percent of the needles have a design problem that can cause the needle to dislodge bits of silicone from the injection ports and possibly push the pieces into a patient's bloodstream, the AP reported.
Victoza Approved for Type 2 Diabetes
Victoza (liraglutide) has been approved to treat type 2 diabetes in some adults, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a news release.
But the agency warned that the once-daily injection shouldn't be used as an initial (first-line) treatment until additional studies are completed, since the drug may cause thyroid tumors or a rare disease called medullary thyroid cancer. People at risk for this type of cancer shouldn't use the drug, the FDA stressed.
Victoza, among a class of medicines called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, is meant to be used along with diet and exercise to control blood sugar by helping the pancreas make more insulin after a person eats.
In clinical studies involving more than 3,900 patients, people who took Victoza had more cases of pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis) than people who took other diabetes drugs, the FDA said. The drug should be stopped if severe abdominal pain develops or tests confirm pancreatitis, the agency said.
Victoza is produced by Denmark-based Novo Nordisk.
Hearing Problems Decreasing: Study
The rate of hearing problems among Americans ages 45 to 75 has been decreasing for years, says a new study.
Researchers analyzed the results of hearing tests conducted between 1993 and 2008 on about 5,300 people who were at least 45 years old and born between 1902 and 1962, the Associated Press reported. The participants were residents of Beaver Dam, Wis., and their children, who lived in different places.
Men had an average 13 percent reduced risk of hearing impairment for every five-year increase in their date of birth, the study found. For women, the decrease was about 6 percent, the AP reported.
The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Experts suggested a number of reasons for the decline in hearing problems, including fewer noisy jobs, better workplace ear protection, immunizations and antibiotics that prevent certain diseases, and perhaps even a decrease in smoking, the AP reported.