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Health Highlights: Sept. 24,  2009

Last Updated: September 24, 2009.

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Tylenol Maker Recalls Some Products for Kids

The manufacturer of Tylenol is voluntarily recalling more than 20 liquid medications for children and infants because some ingredients in the medicines didn't meet the company's testing standards.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, which makes the products, reported that there were no injuries associated with the recall, according to Dow Jones. The company also said all of the medicine that reached store shelves meet qualifications.

The recalled products, made between April and June 2008, include about 50 batches of children's and infants' liquid Tylenol products. The company began recalling the products in August from warehouses and retail stores after bacteria was detected in an inactive ingredient that was not used in the final products but was manufactured at the same time.

Consumers with questions about the recall should call the company at 1-800-962-5357. For a complete list of the recalled products, go to the Tylenol Web site.


FDA Advisers Back New OxyContin Pill

U.S. health advisers on Thursday recommended approval of a new version of the painkiller OxyContin that is designed to lessen its misuse.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's panel of experts voted 14-4 in favor of the reformulated Purdue Pharma drug, which has a plastic-like coating that makes it harder to crush or dissolve in water.

But the experts also recommended the company be required to conduct a follow-up study to track patients taking the drug over the long term, the Associated Press reported.

The FDA is not required to follow its experts' advice, though it usually does.

OxyContin was hailed as a breakthrough treatment for severe chronic pain when it was introduced in 1996. But drug abusers quickly discovered they could get a heroin-like high by crushing the pills and snorting or injecting them.

On Tuesday, FDA scientists called the new version's resistance to abuse "limited," but said that "may provide an advantage over the currently available OxyContin."

Last year, an FDA advisory panel told Purdue that it needed to conduct more tests to demonstrate the tamper resistance of the new version.


Obesity Could Become Leading Cause of Cancer in Women: Study

For women in Western nations, being overweight or obese could become the leading cause of cancer within 10 years, says a new study.

Currently, obesity accounts for up to 8 percent of cancers. But European researchers said that could dramatically increase due to the obesity epidemic and a sharp decline in major causes of cancer such as smoking and hormone replacement therapy for women, the Associated Press reported.

The researchers calculated that in 2002, being overweight or obese was associated with 70,000 of two million cancer cases in 30 European countries. By 2008, at least 124,000 cases of cancer were linked with obesity. The researchers found that colorectal cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women and endometrial cancer accounted for 65 percent of all cancers associated with being overweight or obese.

The study was presented Thursday at the joint meeting of the European Cancer Organization and the European Society for Medical Oncology.

"Obesity is catching up at a rate that makes it possible it could become the biggest attributable cause of cancer in women within the next decade," said Andrew Renehan, a cancer expert at the University of Manchester in England, the AP reported.


FDA Requests Review Of Medical Device Approval System

In response to criticism by safety advocates and others, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked the federal Institute of Medicine to review the agency's approval system for certain types of medical devices.

The institute will examine the FDA's 510k review procedure, which allows companies to immediately introduce products similar to those already on the market, the Associated Press reported.

This system was designed to hasten approval of simple medical devices such as wheelchairs and bandages, but has been used to approve high-risk devices such as heart implants and hip replacements.

Previous: Bad Economy Really Hurts Some Folks Next: Clinical Trials Update: Sept. 24, 2009

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