HEALTH

CDC refutes reports that influenza vaccine poses risk of developing H1N1

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday played down recent media reports describing unpublished findings from seasonal influenza vaccine studies conducted in Canada.

The findings from these studies suggest that receiving the 2008-09 seasonal influenza vaccine (which is the vaccine offered last influenza season) was a risk factor for developing influenza caused by the 2009 H1N1 virus. In the studies done in Canada, the increase in risk among persons vaccinated with a seasonal influenza vaccine was approximately double the risk for those who were not vaccinated with seasonal influenza vaccine.

“However, the research findings from Canada have not been published in the medical literature or presented at any public scientific meetings. There has not yet been an opportunity to fully review the studies in detail,” CDC stated.

“Preliminary results of studies conducted in the United States using methods similar to the Canadian studies did not indicate that receiving a seasonal influenza vaccine increased the risk of developing influenza caused by the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus,” the agency added. “No other country has reported that seasonal influenza vaccine increases the risk of developing influenza caused by the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.”

One one study has been published on this issue — an Australian study that did not find any association between receipt of seasonal influenza vaccine and risk of developing influenza caused by the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.

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FDA approves Perrigo’s laxative generic

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. Perrigo on Tuesday announced that it has received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its abbreviated new drug application for over-the-counter polyethylene glycol 3350, powder for solution, a generic equivalent to Schering-Plough’s MiraLAX laxative.

Perrigo said it would begin shipping immediately.

Estimated brand sales MiraLAX for the 12 months ended Aug. 28 were $200 million, Perrigo stated.

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Study finds sleep apnea patients may have GI tract conditions

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea also tend to have additional gastrointestinal tract conditions, a new study found.

In a paper presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego, researchers analyzed prospective clinical study data of 42 adult patients with proven OSA verified in overnight polysomnography. Every patient also underwent an upper GI endoscopy to evaluate their gastrointestinal health.

Pathological GI findings were found in vast majority of patients (83.3%), 59.5% of them showing two or more findings. The most frequent observed pathology was hiatus hernia (64.3% of patients), followed by erosive esophagitis (45.2%), histological esophagitis and erosive gastritis (both 21.4%), duodenal ulcer (7.1%), and biliary reflux (4.8%).

Approximately 12 million Americans have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of reduced or no airflow throughout the night.

From their findings, the authors concluded that patients who appear to suffer from OSA should not only be investigated in sleep laboratory, but should also be referred to a gastroenterologist for additional diagnostic exams in order to provide a comprehensive treatment approach.

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