HEALTH

Novartis Consumer Health issues voluntary recall of certain OTCs sold in the United States

BY Allison Cerra

BASEL, Switzerland — Following the recent voluntary suspension of operations and shipments from its Lincoln, Neb.-based facility, Novartis Consumer Health announced a voluntary recall of some of its over-the-counter products sold in the United States.

The company said it is voluntarily recalling all lots of select bottle packaging configurations from retailers of Excedrin and NoDoz products with expiration dates of Dec. 20, 2014 or earlier, in addition to Bufferin and Gas-X Prevention products with expiration dates of Dec. 20, 2013 or earlier.

The voluntary recall is precautionary, the company said, and follows consumer complaints of chipped and broken pills and inconsistent bottle packaging. There have been no related adverse events reported with the issues leading to the recall, the company noted.

Information on the affected bottle sizes, and related expiration dates will be available at NovartisOTC.com.

Novartis Consumer Health’s parent company, Novartis Group, said it is fully committed to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of its products.


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Survey: 1-in-10 patients don’t tell their healthcare practitioner they’re still smoking

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Approximately 13% of smokers do not disclose their tobacco habit to their healthcare provider, according to a survey released Friday by Legacy.

And while a majority of smokers did admit their smoking status, only some 25% sought help from their doctors or healthcare providers during their last quit attempt.

"Healthcare providers play a critical role in reaching smokers with appropriate messages and resources for quitting, especially now that insurance coverage has expanded to include some smoking-cessation treatments," stated Cheryl Healton, Legacy president and CEO. "It becomes a missed public health opportunity if what amounts to more than 6 million smokers in the United States [who] do not talk to doctors and nurses about smoking and quitting."

To address the void between doctors and all smokers, Legacy has developed a guide for healthcare providers with strategies on how to conduct more meaningful and effective conversations with their patients about smoking and quitting. For a copy of the guide, click here. (And for a Spanish-language guide, click here.)

The survey included 3,146 adult participants in the United States, both smokers and former smokers.

Legacy is the national, independent public health foundation that was created in 1999 out of the landmark Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry, 46 state governments and five U.S. territories.

 


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Study: Low levels of vitamin D linked to depression symptoms

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study in a release issued Thursday.

This new study — published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings — helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression. Major depressive disorder affects nearly 1-in-10 adults in the United States.

“Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients — and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels — might be useful,” stated Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, done in conjunction with the Cooper Institute in Dallas.

UT Southwestern researchers examined the results of almost 12,600 participants from late 2006 to late 2010. Brown and colleagues from the Cooper Institute found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression.

Low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms, particularly in those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels. The study did not address whether increasing vitamin D levels reduced depressive symptoms.

The scientists have not determined the exact relationship — whether low vitamin D contributes to symptoms of depression, whether depression itself contributes to lower vitamin D levels or how that happens chemically. But vitamin D may affect neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers and other factors, which could help explain the relationship with depression, Brown said.

 


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