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Feds Authorize $3 Billion to Boost Vaccine Rollout  - web md

Feds Authorize $3 Billion to Boost Vaccine Rollout

The news comes days after President-elect Joe Biden said he planned to release all available doses of vaccine after he takes office on Jan. 20. The Trump administration has been holding back millions of doses to ensure supply of vaccine to provide the necessary second dose for those who received the first shot.
web md - 1 week ago
Hormonal therapies for advanced prostate cancer linked to a higher risk of falls and fractures - harvard

Hormonal therapies for advanced prostate cancer linked to a higher risk of falls and fractures

Falls rank among the top causes of death and injuries among the elderly, and the risk increases significantly in older people being treated for cancer. Now, investigators are reporting that a newer class of drugs for advanced prostate cancer is associated with a significant increase in fall risk. Called androgen receptor inhibitors, or ARIs, these […] The post Hormonal therapies for advanced prostate cancer linked to a higher risk of falls and fractures appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
New high-resolution imaging scans approved for use in prostate cancer - harvard

New high-resolution imaging scans approved for use in prostate cancer

Imagine trying to find a single match from a book of matches in a large room. Not an easy task, right? But if the lights were dimmed and the match was lit, then its location would be immediately apparent. This is the basic idea behind PSMA imaging, a newly approved method for detecting prostate cancer […] The post New high-resolution imaging scans approved for use in prostate cancer appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 month ago
RA: What Doctors Might Not Tell You  - web md

RA: What Doctors Might Not Tell You

What is life really like with rheumatoid arthritis? When you’re diagnosed with RA, your doctor may talk with you about joint pain and medications to treat it. But later, RA can cause fatigue, morning stiffness, or anxiety, and put you at risk for other autoimmune diseases too. Find out what to expect and how to cope.
web md - 1 month ago
Pandemic Drives Couples to Divorce or to Seek Help  - web md

Pandemic Drives Couples to Divorce or to Seek Help

In the U.S., sales of online self-help divorce agreements rose by 34% this spring compared to last year, and family lawyers surveyed in April and July reported a 25% to 35% increase in requests to start divorce proceedings compared to the same time in 2019.
web md - 1 month ago
Gender fluidity: What it means and why support matters - harvard

Gender fluidity: What it means and why support matters

Gender fluidity refers to changes over time in gender identity and gender expression. For many people, gender identity and expression develop early and stay the same; for others, one or both may change. Understanding and supporting young people exploring gender is important to their emotional and physical well-being. The post Gender fluidity: What it means and why support matters appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 month ago
The sequence of hormonal therapy and radiation affects outcomes in men treated for prostate cancer - harvard

The sequence of hormonal therapy and radiation affects outcomes in men treated for prostate cancer

A common treatment for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer is to combine radiation with drugs that block testosterone — a hormone that makes the tumors grow faster. (This type of treatment is also called androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT). New research is suggesting the sequence of these treatments may be crucially important. Dr. Dan Spratt, […] The post The sequence of hormonal therapy and radiation affects outcomes in men treated for prostate cancer appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 months ago
What the Pandemic Did to Workouts  - web md

What the Pandemic Did to Workouts

By June, just over 60% of those surveyed said they were meeting World Health Organization's guidelines for weekly exercise, representing a nearly 8% jump from pre-pandemic routines. Investigators also found a more than 11% jump in the number of people who were actually exceeding that threshold.
web md - 2 months ago
Is Ablation Rx the Best First Choice for A-Fib?  - web md

Is Ablation Rx the Best First Choice for A-Fib?

A-fib patients who underwent ablation were half as likely to have an arrhythmia episode in the following year compared to patients on medication. And they were 61% less likely to have an episode that caused symptoms.
web md - 2 months ago
Poll: Many Will Attend Large Indoor Holiday Events  - web md

Poll: Many Will Attend Large Indoor Holiday Events

And while many plan to take precautions -- such as social distancing and asking those with COVID-19 symptoms not to attend holiday gatherings -- one-third of respondents said they won't ask guests to wear masks.
web md - 2 months ago
Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19? - harvard

Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19?

People with certain chronic conditions are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. These include a compromised immune system, which can happen for a number of reasons. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus take drugs that suppress the immune system, and new research examined the risks associated with such a situation. The post Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 months ago
Coping With IBS - harvard

Coping With IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex and painful condition. Its cause is unknown and there is no cure, so treatment focuses on day-to-day management, but often people need additional assistance beyond medical care to cope with emotional side of living with IBS. The post Coping With IBS appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 months ago
Lies Spread on Social Media Hamper Vaccinations  - web md

Lies Spread on Social Media Hamper Vaccinations

Every 1 point increase in the effort to discredit vaccines is linked to an average 2% drop in annual vaccine coverage around the world, and a 15% increase in negative tweets about vaccination, researchers found.
web md - 2 months ago
Supersreaders Spur Record New U.S. COVID Cases  - web md

Supersreaders Spur Record New U.S. COVID Cases

The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center reported that 88,521 new coronavirus cases were recorded Thursday in the United States -- the most in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
web md - 2 months ago
The Pandemic Diet: How to Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’  - web md

The Pandemic Diet: How to Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’

Another survey, done in August by RunRepeat, found that 41% of the 10,000+ respondents in the U.S. had gained more than 5 pounds since quarantine began -- and those are people visiting a website devoted to running.
web md - 2 months ago
Manage Risk to Stay Safe for COVID Thanksgiving  - web md

Manage Risk to Stay Safe for COVID Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will be another holiday impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the CDC and other experts recommending either significantly scaled-down, socially distanced activities or replacing the usual traditions with virtual ones to avoid exposure to the airborne illness.
web md - 2 months ago
Psoriasis Meds Don

Psoriasis Meds Don't Raise Risk of Severe COVID-19

Moderate-to-severe cases of psoriasis are treated with drugs that suppress the immune system. This analysis of the international PsoProtect registry found that more than 90% of psoriasis patients survive infection with the new coronavirus.
web md - 2 months ago
Making special education work for your child during COVID-19 - harvard

Making special education work for your child during COVID-19

The pandemic has forced parents everywhere to face problems that don’t have clear solutions regarding their children’s schooling. For parents of children with disabilities who receive special education, these concerns are even more challenging, and parental choices are even more difficult. The post Making special education work for your child during COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 months ago
Searching for Clues to COVID-19 Immunity  - web md

Searching for Clues to COVID-19 Immunity

Getting more specific answers about how the immune system responds to the virus that causes COVID-19, including whether recovery is likely permanent, is crucial not only to those who have recovered. These answers can help inform vaccine makers to make the most effective vaccines as well.
web md - 3 months ago
Hispanic Women More Prone to COVID in Pregnancy  - web md

Hispanic Women More Prone to COVID in Pregnancy

The researchers collected data on more than 900 Hispanic, Black, Asian and white patients. Among Hispanic women, nearly 11% tested positive for COVID-19, compared with 5.5% of non-Hispanic patients, the findings showed.
web md - 3 months ago
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harvard
Ranitidine (Zantac) recall expanded, many questions remain

Ranitidine (Zantac) recall expanded, many questions remain

harvard - 9 months ago

Update: On April 1, 2020, the FDA requested manufacturers to withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs (Zantac, others) from the market immediately, due to the presence of a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Although the FDA did not observe unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples they tested, they have determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures. As a result of this recall, ranitidine products will no longer be available for prescription or OTC use in the US.

The FDA is also advising consumers taking OTC ranitidine to stop taking this medication, including any unused ranitidine medication they may still have at home. Other FDA-approved OTC medications are available to treat heartburn. Patients taking prescription ranitidine should speak with their doctor about other treatment options before stopping the medicine.


As anticipated, recall of the popular heartburn medicine ranitidine (Zantac) has expanded. But we still have more questions than answers.

As I mentioned in my original blog post on this topic, the online pharmacy Valisure, which originally alerted the FDA to the issue, found what they called extremely high levels of the probable cancer-causing substance N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine products.

The FDA has indicated that its own preliminary testing has detected low levels of NDMA in ranitidine.

Testing methods may have influenced NMDA results

The FDA has clarified that the testing method that found the extremely high levels of NDMA applied high heat, at a level much higher than normal body temperature. In other words, the testing did not reflect typical conditions under which the medication would be stored or taken.

The FDA is asking all companies that manufacture ranitidine, as well as other similar medications (both H2 blockers, the class of drugs to which ranitidine belongs, and proton-pump inhibitors, or PPIs, a different class of drugs used for similar conditions), to test their products using lower heat closer to normal body temperature. So far, there is no indication that these other products are affected; the FDA is likely asking for these tests only as a precaution.

As of now, the FDA has allowed ranitidine to remain on the market. Still, some manufacturers have issued voluntary recalls and some pharmacies have pulled it off the shelves.

FDA estimates ranitidine NMDA risk with other medications

The FDA has not yet released the results of its own tests of ranitidine. But they previously estimated the likely impact of NDMA found in another class of medications, called angiotensin receptor blockers, on the risk of cancer. That estimate provides some context for the current circumstances.

Angiotensin receptor blockers, including the drug valsartan (Diovan), are used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions. They were recalled beginning last year due to the presence of NDMA and other related impurities. The FDA estimated that, if 8,000 people took the highest dose of valsartan containing NDMA every day for four years, there would be one additional case of cancer over the lifetimes of these 8,000 people.

Currently, we do not know how the amount of NDMA found in ranitidine compares to the amount found in valsartan.

Until we know more, the best course of action if you are taking ranitidine is to talk to your doctor about whether treatment is still needed. For some conditions, the benefits likely outweigh the risks. Although some ranitidine products remain available, consider alternative medications such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or famotidine (Pepcid) if you need long-term treatment.

Follow me on Twitter @JoshuaJGagne

The post Ranitidine (Zantac) recall expanded, many questions remain appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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