Health Highlights: Sept. 18, 2012

FDA Warns About Diarrhea Drug Made in El Salvador Mother-to-Daughter Uterus Transplants a World-First Young Immigrants Denied Health Coverage: Report

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

FDA Warns About Diarrhea Drug Made in El Salvador

Consumers should stay away from a drug made in El Salvador that is used to treat acute diarrhea and gastrointestinal infections because it can cause life-threatening side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday.

Sold as Intestinomicina, the treatment contains the prescription drug ingredient chloramphenicol. Oral forms of chloramphenicol were withdrawn from the U.S. market in July due to increased risk of injuries that include bone marrow toxicity, where the bone marrow is not able to produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells and/or platelets, the FDA said in a news release. Some types of bone marrow toxicity are reversible, but it can be fatal in rare cases. People who have anemia or low white blood cell counts may be particularly susceptible, the agency noted.

Manufactured by Laboratorios Lopez and available mostly in international grocery stores that sell specialty foods and products from South and Central America, Intestinomicina is labeled primarily in Spanish and sometimes lists the ingredient as "chloramfenicol palmitato" on the label. It can be found in tablet and liquid forms.

Neomycin, an antibiotic often found in topical medications, and sulfonamides, or sulfa drugs, are also contained in this product, the FDA said, and they can cause adverse reactions that range from rashes and hives to life-threatening side effects.

Consumers and physicians are encouraged to report any adverse reactions to intestinomicina, either at the FDA website or by calling 800-FDA-1088 (800-332-1088).


Mother-to-Daughter Uterus Transplants a World-First

The world's first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants were conducted last weekend by Swedish surgeons.

The transplants on the two women -- meant to help them have babies -- involved more than 10 surgeons and were completed without any complications, Agence France-Presse reported.

"One of the women had previously had her own uterus removed after undergoing treatment for cervical cancer. The other woman was born without a uterus. Both women are in their 30s," according to a statement from Gothenburg University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

The two women will have to wait one year before undergoing in vitro fertilization with their own frozen embryos, AFP reported.

The first successful uterine transplant was conducted in Turkey in 2011.


Young Immigrants Denied Health Coverage: Report

There's outrage over a White House decision that young illegal immigrants who are allowed to stay in the United States as part of a new federal policy will not be eligible for health insurance coverage under the new health care law.

Many advocates for Hispanic Americans and immigrants are furious about last month's decision, which affects young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, attended school here and meet other requirements that will allow them to remain in the country without fear of deportation, The New York Times reported.

Critics say the health care restrictions contradict President Barack Obama's recent words of admiration for young immigrants. Administration officials refused to explain why beneficiaries of the new immigration policy were ineligible for coverage under the new health law, the Times said.

"We do not understand why the administration decided to do this. It's providing immigration relief to children and young adults so they can be fully integrated into society. At the same time, it's shutting them out of the health care system so they cannot become productive members of society," said Jennifer M. Ng'andu, a health policy specialist at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic-rights group, the Times reported.

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