New Federal Guidelines on Medical Marijuana
New guidelines to be issued today will cut medical marijuana distributors some slack in the 14 states that have laws permitting use of the drug for medical reasons, the Associated Press reports. Shifting away from the Bush administration's strict approach to prosecuting medical marijuana users and suppliers, the current administration will not look to arrest those who operate in accordance with state law, the AP reports. Instead, the guidelines urge federal prosecutors to focus their resources on people who violate those state laws or use medical marijuana as a cover for illegal activities, according to the AP.
Asthma and Swine Flu: What You Need to Know
Health experts say H1N1 data suggest that asthmatics need to be particularly cautious about avoiding or managing the flu, as they are at higher risk for complications than the general population. What do they need to know? U.S. News consulted James Li, chairman of the Division of Allergy at the Mayo Clinic and coauthor of an article on H1N1 and asthma that was published this month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Li says most asthmatics should get vaccinated against H1N1 to reduce infections and complications. They should get the injectable version of the H1N1 vaccine rather than the nasal version, which could trigger an asthma attack. Asthmatics should also get vaccinated annually against seasonal flu, Li says. But there are some particular groups of patients who should not get H1N1 vaccinations, including those with egg allergies or those who've experienced a severe reaction to the seasonal influenza vaccine in the past. In these situations, some people may still be able to get vaccinated after seeing an allergist to determine whether the dosage can be safely adjusted to avoid a negative reaction. Read more.
FDA OK's Gardasil for Boys and Young Men
Late last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Gardasil in boys and men ages 9 to 26, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gardasil acts against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and, in rare cases, penile and anal cancers. The vaccine was first approved in 2006 for use in girls and women ages 9 to 26. Manufactured by Merck, it had been the only HPV vaccine available in the United States until Friday, when the FDA also announced it had approved GlaxoSmithKline's HPV vaccine Cervarix for girls and women ages 10 to 25.
In August, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz and physician and columnist Bernadine Healy discussed the safety of Gardasil with leaders at the American Academy of Pediatrics. They asked AAP President David Tayloe and President-elect Judith Palfrey to weigh in on how parents should proceed when it comes to Gardasil. Read more.
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