HEALTH

More parents confused about cough-cold treatments for kids, survey suggests

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. News coming out of the recent Food and Drug Administration public meeting on pediatric cough-cold medicines sold over-the-counter, as well as the recent announcement from Consumer Healthcare Products Association that manufacturers would voluntarily cease recommending use of their cough-cold products in children under the age of four, could compound pre-existing confusion among parents.

According to a survey of 606 parents (conducted by Survey.com) released by Kaz Monday, the majority of parents had already been considering not giving their children cough-cold medicine when they become sick with a cold. According to the survey, conducted six months after the FDA announced a ban of the sale of cough-cold products to children under the age of two, 70 percent of parents with children under the age of four reported they give their children cold medicine when they were sick, as do 74 percent of parents with kids under six and 80 percent of parents with children between the ages of seven and 12 old.

When asked in June if they plan to change the way they treat their children’s colds this coming season due to the January FDA warnings, more than half (64 percent) of parents who currently give their children cold medicine either plan to stop (34 percent) or are considering it (30 percent).

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HEALTH

Data shows use of Alli could also impact household members’ habits

BY Jenna Duncan

PHOENIX and PITTSBURGH New data released during proceedings at this year’s Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society said that people taking FDA-approved weight-loss pill Alli also tend to make healthier grocery shopping decisions, a trend that is positively influencing families.

A 26-week study reviewed the shopping habits of 15,156 households in which one or more members were taking Alli. The study showed that shoppers in these households were also purchasing items such as cereals, diet control bars, multi-vitamins and yogurt, among other “healthy” options.

Study co-author, Rebecca Reeves, of Baylor College of Medicine, said, “What is so unique and exciting about the data in this abstract is the evidence that people taking Alli made changes in their purchase patterns toward healthier foods. These data show that households purchasing Alli more than once increased their buying of healthier products compared to the previous year.”

The National Institutes of Health have reported that about 65 percent of U.S. adults are obese or overweight. Persons dealing with too much weight are more likely to face health problems such as heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, the National Institutes said.

Taking Alli, combined with a low-calorie, encourages healthy, modest weight-loss, maker GlaxoSmithKline has said.

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Nicotine gum helps pregnant women decrease amount of smoking, research says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Although nicotine gum does not necessarily increase quit rates among pregnant women, the non-prescription smoking cessation product does help reduce the amount of smoking to the point that use of nicotine gum increased birth weight and gestational age, two key parameters in predicting neonatal wellbeing, new research published last week in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology has found.

The study tracked pregnant women who smoked daily and received individualized behavioral counseling and random assignment to a 6-week treatment with 2-mg nicotine gum or placebo followed by a 6-week taper period. Women who did not quit smoking were instructed to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by substituting with gum.

Using a completer analysis, nicotine gum significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day and cotinine concentration. Birth weights were significantly greater with nicotine gum compared with placebo. Gestational age was also greater with nicotine-replacement therapy than with placebo, the research found.

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