HEALTH

Study: OTC abuse higher among adolescent males

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — A recent University of Cincinnati study suggested adolescent males are at a higher risk of reporting longtime abuse of over-the-counter drugs, compared with their female peers. 

Early analysis found that overall 10% of the students reported abusing over-the-counter drugs. "Findings from this study highlight and underscore OTC drugs as an increasing and significant health issue affecting young people," stated Rebecca Vidourek, a UC assistant professor of health promotion. The researchers said that high rates of OTC abuse were also found among male and female junior high school students.

The study examined over-the-counter drug use among students between the grades of seven and 12 in 133 schools across Cincinnati. The data was collected by the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati as part of the 2009-2010 Pride Survey on adolescent drug use in America. The survey was distributed to more than 54,000 students.

Early results of the study by Vidourek and Keith King, a University of Cincinnati professor of health promotion, were presented on Oct. 29 at the 140th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Francisco.

The researchers noted that youth who reported involvement in such positive activities as school clubs, sports, community and church organizations were less likely to report abusing OTC medications. Teens more likely to report taking OTC drugs were also more likely to report that they had attended parties where the drugs had been used, or had friends who abused OTC drugs.

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HEALTH

FDA issues warning letter to company making illegal claims in support of light therapy device

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued a warning letter to The Avalon Effect, a company based in Franklin, Tenn., for its marketing of a light therapy product that claims to cure or treat symptoms of fungal meningitis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, concussions, Lyme disease and other diseases.

“Consumers should be aware that, especially during disease outbreaks or other public health crises, they may see opportunistic advertisements for products touted as cures or treatments,” stated Steve Silverman, director of the Office of Compliance at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Bogus medical claims can actually harm consumers by causing them to delay seeking treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective. Consumers should carefully evaluate and discuss the claims with their healthcare providers.”

The warning letter advises Mike Haarlander, Avalon CEO, that the company’s Quantum Series Personal Wellness Pack is a medical device under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because it is intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure a disease, or to affect the body.

The letter warns that claims on the company’s web site and other linked websites cause the product to violate the Act because the company does not have an approved application to market the device or an exemption to investigate the device for purposes of safety and effectiveness.

The device also is misbranded because the company did not submit a 510(k) notifying the FDA of its intent to introduce the device into commercial distribution.

The FDA notified the company of possible marketing violations on Aug. 15, 2012. In its Sept. 21, 2012, response, The Avalon Effect said that the company did not intend for any of its products to be used in the treatment, cure, mitigation, prevention or diagnosis of any disease. But a recent FDA review of the company’s website and directly linked websites identified specific claims regarding the Quantum Series Personal Wellness Pack, causing it to meet the device definition. Because the device is not cleared or approved, the product is being marketed illegally.

The warning letter issued on Nov. 5, 2012, tells The Avalon Effect to take prompt action to correct the violations. Failure to do so may result in a regulatory action being taken against the company.

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iHealth Labs launches latest round of Apple-compatible diagnostic devices

BY Michael Johnsen

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — iHealth Labs on Tuesday announced that its latest suite of products will be available for purchase at major retailers and online later this month. The iHealth wireless blood pressure wrist monitor, wireless blood pressure monitor and wireless body analysis scale are already available at Best Buy and iHealthlabs.com, the company added. 

"Lifestyle changes, such as utilizing an iHealth blood pressure monitor or body analysis scale, can help equip users to make informed health decisions to significantly reduce their risk [for heart disease]," stated Adam Lin, general manager of iHealth Labs. "By employing these simple-to-use products, which connect with iOS devices to easily show progress, people can vastly improve their health and quality of life."

Supporting both new and existing iHealth products, the newest free app, iHealth MyVitals, brings together all of a user’s iHealth health data into one hub. The app further helps users manage their health through a personal dashboard and share their results with their doctors, on social media networks or with their family and personal trainers. 

Suggested retail for the three products ranges between $79.95 and $109.95.

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