Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
'Female Viagra' Pill Has Little Effect on Libido: FDA
A new pill created to increase a woman's sex drive didn't have
much impact on libido but did appear to slightly boost sexual
satisfaction, according to two studies reviewed by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration.
The drug, called flibanserin, is related to the antidepressant
family and affects serotonin and a number of other brain chemicals.
Drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim is seeking FDA approval of the
Associated Press reported.
On Friday, an FDA advisory panel of outside experts will meet to
discuss the safety and effectiveness of flibanserin, including side
effects such as depression, dizziness and fainting, and whether the
drug should be approved by the FDA.
Many previous attempts to develop a so-called "female Viagra"
were abandoned after showing little promise, the
Men Less Likely To Seek Routine Health Care: Study
Only 57 percent of American men see a doctor, nurse practitioner
or physician assistant for routine health care, compared with 74
percent of women, says a federal government report.
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality looked at a 2007 survey that asked respondents if they'd
made an appointment for routine care within the previous 12
Among the other findings:
- White men (63 percent) were more likely to make routine care
appointments than black men (43.5 percent) or Hispanic men (35.5
- People ages 18 to 64 with private insurance were nearly twice
as likely to make an appointment than uninsured people (69 percent
vs. 36 percent).
- Respondents who said they were in excellent health were much
more likely (76 percent) to make an appointment than those who said
their health was fair or poor (52 percent).
- Seventy-five percent of those with higher incomes made an
appointment, compared with 54 percent of those with low
Oil Spill Health Concerns Could Last Years: Experts
The massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill could cause health concerns
for years and it's unclear how long the oil and dispersants will
remain toxic, according to experts who appeared Tuesday before the
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
"The impacts of this disaster must be considered in the framework in not weeks or months, but years," Lisa Kaplowitz, a deputy assistant secretary of health and human services involved in preparedness and response, told the committee, CNN reported.
She added that there is a lack of long-term research on the
toxicity of oil in the environment.
The health impact of exposure to spilled oil and dispersants
"has not been well-studied," Aubrey Miller, of the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, told the committee. He
added that there is "a clear need for additional health monitoring
and research to underpin" ways to respond to health concerns,
Also at the hearing, Food and Drug Administration Deputy
Commissioner Mike Taylor said the agency is "confident" that Gulf
of Mexico seafood currently available to consumers is safe to
FDA Web Site Offers Safety Reports on New Drugs
Safety reports on recently approved drugs and biologics will be
offered online by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"These summaries will provide clear and useful information in a timely manner that can be used by providers and patients to make informed decisions about an individuals health," Dr. Robert Ball, director of the Office of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.
The Web site will include summaries of FDA safety analyses on
recently approved products, along with information about what
measures the agency is taking to deal with any identified safety
Initial reports on the site will provide information about drugs
and biologics approved by the FDA since September 2007, including
drugs used to treat infections, depression, and high blood
McNeil Expands Odor-Related Recall of Medicines
A recall of certain medicines due to odor problems has been
expanded by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare
On Jan. 15, the company recalled a number of over-the-counter
medicines due to consumer complaints about a moldy smell that
caused nausea and sickness in some people, the
Associated Press reported.
The expanded recall covers four lots of Benadryl Allergy
Ultratablets and one lot of Extra Strength Tylenol that were
distributed in the United States, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and
The odor is from a chemical treatment on wooden pallets used to
store and transport packaging materials for medications, the
FDA Warns Against Too Much Vitamin D For Infants
Some liquid vitamin D supplement products for infants are sold
with droppers than could cause parents to give too much vitamin D
to their babies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned
Excessive vitamin D can harm infants and may cause problems such
as nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive thirst,
constipation, frequent urination, abdominal pain, muscle weakness,
sore joints and muscles, fatigue, as well as more serious issues
such as kidney damage.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D for breast-fed and
partially breast-fed infants is 400 international units (IU), says
the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The FDA told companies that make vitamin D supplements that
droppers accompanying the products should be clearly and accurately
marked for 400 IU and droppers in products intended for infants
should hold no more than 400 IU.