Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Custom pain creams do little for chronic pain relief
Compounded pain creams are no better for chronic pain than topical treatments that contain no medicine at all, a U.S. study suggests. Compounded medicines are custom-blended by pharmacists to give patients a different dose or formulation than they can get with mass-produced prescription drugs. The current study focused on pain creams made from medicines that are often prescribed for pain in pill form such as muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs.
Cancer patients may need longer support to quit smoking
Cancer patients are more successful at giving up cigarettes for good if they take smoking-cessation medicine for 24 weeks instead of the usual 12 weeks, a small clinical trial suggests. Continuing to take varenicline (Chantix, Champix) as directed and attending ongoing behavioral counseling were the most important factors for successful quitting and avoiding relapse, the study authors report in the medical journal Psycho-Oncology.
Most U.S. kids not meeting sleep, exercise and screen time targets
Just one in 20 U.S. children and teens gets the amount of sleep, exercise and screen time that doctors recommend for optimal health, a new study suggests. Children and teens are supposed to get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day and limit screen time to less than two hours. Kids ages 6 to 12 old also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need 8 to 10 hours nightly.
Senator Sanders asks why drug, once free, now costs $375k
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals on Monday asking it to justify its decision to charge $375,000 annually for a medication that for years has been available to patients for free. The drug, Firdapse, is used to treat Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS), a rare neuromuscular disorder, according to the letter, made available to Reuters by the senator's office. The disorder affects about one in 100,000 people in the United States.
Obesity-related cancers rising in U.S. young adults
Mirroring the decades-long increase in obesity rates in the U.S., cancers that are thought to be driven at least in part by excess weight are also on the rise among people under age 50, a new study suggests. Rates for six of 12 cancers related to obesity have been increasing in successive generations of young adults, with the sharpest increases in the youngest age groups, researchers report in The Lancet Public Health.
Powerful Senate committee invites pharma executives to testify
A powerful U.S. Senate committee on Monday invited seven pharmaceutical companies to testify at a hearing later this month examining rising prescription drug prices. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member of the committee, invited executives from AbbVie Inc, AstraZeneca PLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co Inc, Pfizer Inc and Sanofi SA.
J&J, plaintiffs 'close' to deal on Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits: lawyer
Johnson & Johnson's DePuy Orthopaedics unit is in settlement talks to resolve the bulk of individual lawsuits alleging the company's metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defective and caused severe injuries, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said on Monday. Texas-based plaintiff lawyer Mark Lanier said lawyers for the consumers had talked to the company in recent days to reach an agreement to resolve the long-running litigation that includes more than 10,000 cases.
WHO and vaccine group back 'critical' cervical cancer shots
A vaccine given to girls to protect them against a virus that causes cervical cancer is a "critical" health tool and access to it should be scaled up as swiftly as possible, especially in poorer countries, cancer experts said on Monday. Figures from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) showed an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2018, making it the fourth most common cancer in women globally.
Parents who don't buckle up often skip seatbelts for their kids
Drivers who don't wear seatbelts are more likely to skip seatbelts and car seats for their kids, an analysis of U.S. crash data suggests. When the driver in a crash wasn't wearing a seatbelt, young passengers up to age 15 were 16 times more likely to also be unrestrained than when drivers were buckled up, the study found. And when drivers went without seatbelts, passengers ages 16 to 19 were about 53 times more likely to be unrestrained.
(With inputs from agencies.)