Stronger label ordered for asthma drug

Published February 22, 2007


The government ordered stronger label warnings for an injected asthma medication Wednesday because of reports some patients taking the drug, marketed by Genentech Inc. as Xolair, had suffered a delayed and potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. A patient experiencing anaphylaxis might have trouble breathing, feel tight in the chest, have swelling in the mouth and throat, suffer dizziness or feel faint, or have itching and hives. The new warning recommends that doctors observe patients for at least two hours after the drug is injected.


Vaccinated report minor side effects

More than 500 cases of mostly minor side effects have been reported in girls and women who got a new cervical cancer vaccine, but government health officials say no additional warning labels are needed. Many of the reports involved fainting, but teens tend to faint from vaccinations anyway, health experts said, and the number of cases doesn't exceed what was expected. Gardasil, a three-dose vaccine by Merck & Co. approved last June for women ages 9 to 26, protects against strains of the human papilloma virus, which causes cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers and genital warts.


Toss old medicine with the garbage

New federal prescription drug disposal guidelines recommend mixing unused, unneeded or expired drugs with undesirable substances - like cat litter or coffee grounds - and tossing them in the trash in nondescript containers. Doing so should curb prescription drug abuse and protect lakes and streams from contamination, the White House and government health and environment officials said Wednesday. Some pharmacies also collect drugs for safe disposal. Drugs should be flushed down the toilet only if the label says it's safe to do so, according to the guidelines. Flushing drugs can create environmental problems.