HEALTH

Pediatric hospital dispels rumors that Motrin-Robitussin combo is fatal

BY Alaric DeArment

DALLAS A viral e-mail currently making the rounds between private accounts and public message boards warning of a danger posed by mixing over-the-counter medications Motrin and Robitussin is unfounded, the Children’s Medical Center, a pediatric hospital, reported Friday afternoon.

The e-mail falsely suggests a female patient (usually named Madison or Madeline) died from cardiac arrest after her parents gave her a combination of Motrin and Robitussin. Different versions of the e-mail have been circulating the Internet for more than a year.

In 2009, a Children’s employee received the e-mail from a friend and inadvertently forwarded it from a work account. Because the employee’s professional signature was included at the bottom of the e-mail, the information appeared to come from a reliable source at Children’s Medical Center. This is not the case.

While no child younger than 4 years should be given cough-cold medicines, the Food and Drug Administration has approved combination drugs that mix ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Motrin) and dextromethorphan and/or pseudoephedrine (the active ingredients in Robitussin medications) for older children and adults. There is no evidence to suggest that ibuprofen, dextromethorphan or pseudoephedrine can cause heart attacks in otherwise healthy children or adults when combined.

All medications can have side effects, the hospital noted, and parents of children with underlying medical conditions must always be vigilant about the medications their child is taking. When in doubt, parents should consult their child’s healthcare provider or a pharmacist before mixing over-the-counter medications.

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Natural medicine maker featured on ‘Healing Quest’

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. Bionorica on Thursday announced its products and expert spokespersons are featured in two episodes of the series “Healing Quest,” currently airing on select PBS stations nationwide.

The shows began airing in January and will continue to be seen on PBS stations throughout 2010. A full schedule can be found at www.healingquest.tv.

Guests include Robert “Dr. Bob” Sears, a pediatrician and co-author of the Sears Parenting Library; Marcus Laux, a licensed naturopathic physician and co-author of Natural Woman, Natural Menopause; and Healing Quest contributor Narinder Duggal, a practicing pharmacist and internist who teaches integrated medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sears, Laux, and Duggal all recommend Bionorica’s clinically-proven products to their patients, Bionorica stated. In individual interviews, they discuss why many Americans still are skeptical about natural remedies and other forms of alternative medicine.

“We’re delighted to spread the word about the benefits of safe and effective plant-based remedies, especially when it comes to children’s health,” stated Wolf Aulenbacher, president of U.S. operations for Bionorica. “These ‘Healing Quest’ programs will help assure parents and doctors that there are new options now available in the U.S., gentle and natural alternatives to help ensure good health for the whole family.”

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CRN responds to Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., together with Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., on Wednesday introduced the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010, a bill that would impose greater restrictions on the entire dietary supplement industry, in part because of the insinuation often made that supplements may contain banned performance-enhancing ingredients.

“Like many of you, I am looking forward to watching the Super Bowl this Sunday and the Winter Olympics later this month,” McCain said. “However, a little over a year ago the NFL suspended six players, including two players from one of the teams competing this Sunday, for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.”

The Council of Responsible Nutrition responded expressed its belief on what the legislation would do to the dietary supplement industry and consumers.

“CRN looks forward to the opportunity to study the legislation and find common ground with the sponsors and supporters of this legislation,” stated Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO. “Where specific provisions are extensions of positions we have already supported and lobbied for, we applaud more voices joining with ours.”

The legislation would require dietary supplement manufactures to register with the Food and Drug Administration and fully disclose all ingredients and provides the agency with mandatory recall authority if a product is found to be unsafe or harmful. However, the act also would require supplement companies to report all adverse event reports, which is more restrictive than the serious adverse event report requirement in place now.

“We do not believe that requiring manufacturers to report all adverse events — not just serious adverse events — would do anything to protect consumers,” countered Mister, because such a requirement would overburden the FDA without affording any greater consumer protection. “FDA itself has stated that this would overburden the Agency and would not help protect consumers,” he noted.

The “dietary supplement” referenced by McCain is the Nikki Haskell’s StarCaps weight-loss supplement, distributed by Balanced Health Products, which was sold in specialty outlets GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Great Earth Vitamin Stores according to the StarCaps Web site at the time those NFL players were suspended. StarCaps contained bumetanide, a prescription-only diuretic, making it an illegal, adulterated drug. The NFL banned diuretics because they can be used as masking agents for steroids. Balanced Health recalled all StarCaps products in conjunction with the FDA in December 2008.

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