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Latest News Around the Web

FDA Revises Warning For Antidepressant Citalopram.

MedPage Today (3/29, Gever) reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “has reworded warnings about potentially fatal arrhythmias associated with the antidepressant…citalopram (Celexa), acknowledging that some patients may need the drug despite the risks.” Last year, “the agency ordered numerous changes to the drug’s label, including one stating that citalopram is contraindicated in patients with congenital long QT syndrome.” However, yesterday the FDA “announced that the label should say merely that the drug is ‘not recommended’ in these patients because, as the agency explained, ‘it is recognized that there may be some patients with this condition who could benefit from a low dose of citalopram and who lack viable alternatives.'”

“Patients at high risk include those with preexisting heart conditions (including congestive heart failure) and those prone to low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood, the FDA said,” HealthDay (3/29, Preidt) reports. “At the time, the drug label was revised to include the new dosage limit as well as information about the potential for abnormal heart electrical activity and rhythms.” The current “recommendations note that Celexa in any dose should not be given to patients with certain conditions due to the risk of suffering these heart problems,” but “it may be important for some patients to take Celexa, so the label has been changed.”

Related Links:

— “FDA Softens Celexa Arrhythmia Warning,”John Gever, MedPage Today, March 28, 2012.

Health Professionals Increasingly Concerned About Teens Using Whip-Its.

According to an article on the ABC News (3/28) website, “there is growing concern among health professionals that Whip-Its — small canisters filled with nitrous oxide that can be used as a recreational drug and were reportedly used by actress Demi Moore shortly before she was rushed to the hospital in January — are making a comeback among teenagers and young adults across the country.” Some states have already made an effort to “stop the inhalation of nitrous,” but Whip-Its canisters are “easily accessible” and “mostly ignored by authorities.” In fact, “an ABC News investigation airing tonight on ‘Nightline’ found that multiple online retailers allowed large purchases of the Whip-Its, with no questions asked about age or what they would be used for.”

Related Links:

— “Dangerous Teen Craze Whip-Its Making a Comeback?,”Brian Ross, ABC News, March 27, 2012.

Exercise, Cognitive Therapy May Reduce Menopausal Symptoms.

Medscape (3/29, Nelson) reports, “Cognitive behavioral therapy and physical exercise can reduce treatment-induced menopausal symptoms in younger breast cancer patients,” according to a study presented at the 8th European Breast Cancer Conference. “These interventions were shown to be effective in ameliorating symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain, urinary incontinence, and mood swings” in a study population of 422 breast cancer patients.

Some Women Seek Support Through Social Media Following Miscarriage.

USA Today (3/29, Linke) reports that many women who experience miscarriages fall into depression and feel a mixture of grief and guilt. USA Today notes that to help cope with their loss, “some women find that Facebook and other online forums provide an outlet for support.” The article explains that online forums allow women to express their feelings and receive consolation, and it adds that “for some, online forums about pregnancy loss are a better venue for discussing their grief than general sites, such as Facebook.”

Related Links:

— “Women turn to social media for support after pregnancy loss,”Maureen Linke, USA TODAY, March 28, 2012.

Murray Investigating PTSD Treatment At Military Hospitals.

McClatchy (3/29, Hotakainen) reports that US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, “has begun an investigation into whether military hospitals across the country are denying treatment to service members with post-traumatic stress disorder because of cost considerations.” Meanwhile, “the Army already is conducting at least three separate probes amid disclosures that the Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Murray’s home state of Washington has reversed hundreds of PTSD diagnoses for patients who were up for medical retirement. Murray’s office said last week that a review of PTSD cases dating to 2007 found that 290 of 690 diagnoses — more than 40 percent — had been reversed by a medical screening team.”

Houston VA Hospital Looking For Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans For Study Of PTSD. The Houston Chronicle (3/29, Wise) “Armed Sources” blog reports, “Researchers at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine are looking to recruit 40 to 50 Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans to participate” in a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “funded by a grant from the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Program.” The study “will evaluate how psychotherapy treatment changes neural functioning in veterans with PTSD.” Veterans, who “will be compensated $10 per hour for interviews and $20 per hour” for taking part in the study, “will play computer games while inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging” (fMRI) machine.

Related Links:

— “Senate begins probe of Army’s handling of PTSD cases,”Rob Hotakainen , McClatchy Newspapers, March 28, 2012.

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