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Health Highlights: Oct. 25, 2011
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Sepsis Drug Xigris Pulled From Market
A drug used to treat severe sepsis (blood infection) is being withdrawn from markets worldwide after a recent study concluded that the drug is no longer effective.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. said there is no safety issue with Xigris but the study found that the drug failed to reduce deaths among patients with septic shock, the Associated Press reported.
Patients should stop taking the drug, the company advised.
The study results were "quite unexpected" and may be partly due to the fact that the standard of care for patients with severe sepsis has improved since Xigris was introduced, Lilly Chief Medical Officer Dr. Timothy Garnett said in a news release issued Tuesday, the AP reported.
Mammograms May Save Fewer Lives Than Expected: Analysis
Mammograms may not be as effective at saving lives as widely believed, according to a new study.
Researchers used a mathematical model to estimate the survival chances of a 50-year-old woman with breast cancer who was diagnosed from a mammogram and came up with a figure of only 13 percent, CBS News reported.
The study was published in the Oct. 24 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
"The presumption often is that anyone who has had cancer detected has survived because of the test, but that's not true," study author Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth University, told The New York Times, CBS News reported.
"In fact, and I hate to have to say this, in screen-detected breast and prostate cancer, survivors are more likely to have been overdiagnosed than actually helped by the test," Welch said.
Rand Corp. Retracts Study on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
A study that linked the closing last year of hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles with rising crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods has been retracted by the Rand Corp.
Questions raised after the study's publication in September led to an internal review that discovered that study did not include crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank said in a news release Monday, the Associated Press reported.
The incident was a "rare failure" of Rand's peer-review system, according to Rand Vice-President Debra Knopman.
A new analysis will be conducted by Rand researchers when they have adequate data, the AP reported.
Government Studies Suggest Chantix Doesn't Raise Risk of Psychiatric Problems
After spending several years investigating reports that taking Chantix might raise the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that two federally funded studies found no increase in psychiatric hospitalizations among those using the smoking-cessation drug.
Federal health officials stressed, however, that these findings are not definitive since they only involved hospitalizations and many mental health issues may have been missed, the Associated Press reported.
The FDA said it is continuing to look at the safety of Chantix, and patients should talk with their doctors if they experience side effects with the drug. Pfizer Inc., the maker of Chantix, is conducting its own large-scale study of possible behavioral side effects with Chantix, but the results won't be available until 2017, the AP reported.
In the United States alone, almost 9 million people have been prescribed Chantix since it was approved in May 2006. It already carries a boxed warning that lists possible side effects including hostility, agitation, depression and suicidal thoughts and behavior.
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