Hazards of Dietary Supplements, New Birth Control Device Explored

Dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries reported by hospitals, according to The New York Times, while a surge in adverse event reports about Essure, a device hailed as next generation birth control, is explored by the Chicago Tribune. NPR looks at the increase in newborn screening tests.

The New York Times: Spike In Harm To Liver Is Tied To Dietary Aids
Dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries that turn up in hospitals, up from 7 percent a decade ago, according to an analysis by a national network of liver specialists. The research included only the most severe cases of liver damage referred to a representative group of hospitals around the country, and the investigators said they were undercounting the actual number of cases. While many patients recover once they stop taking the supplements and receive treatment, a few require liver transplants or die because of liver failure (O'Connor, 12/21).

Chicago Tribune: Women Report Complications From Essure Birth Control
A device called Essure has been hailed as the next generation of permanent birth control. Unlike a tubal ligation, which requires surgery, Essure can be inserted by catheter in a doctor’s office. But complaints about the product have recently surged. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received nearly 1,000 adverse event reports related to the device, with 500 arriving this year (Deardorff, 12/22). 

NPR: Screening Newborns For Disease Can Leave Families In Limbo
For Matthew and Brianne Wojtesta, it all started about a week after the birth of their daughter Vera. Matthew was picking up his son from kindergarten when he got a phone call. It was their pediatrician, with some shocking news. Vera had been flagged by New York's newborn screening program as possibly having a potentially deadly disease, and would need to go see a neurologist the next day. Like every state, New York requires that newborns get a small heel prick so that a few drops of blood can be sent to a lab for testing. The idea is to catch health problems that could cause death or disability without early intervention. But in recent years, patient advocacy groups have been pushing states to adopt mandatory newborn screening for more and more diseases, including ones that have no easy diagnosis or treatment (GreenfieldBoyce, 12/23).

 

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