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Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(5):1099

A new kind of lollipop may ease cancer pain. The FDA recently approved a raspberry-flavored narcotic lozenge-on-a-stick, which contains oral fentanyl. For patients who have sudden severe pain despite opioid maintenance therapy, these lollipops can provide long-lasting pain relief within about 15 minutes. The FDA will mandate that marketing strategies include numerous warnings against accidental use by children, according to Physician's Weekly.

Jurors are more likely to side with the little guy than with a large corporation in a trial in which health is involved, reports The National Law Journal. In a survey of 1,012 people, over three quarters of respondents felt that corporate executives often try to cover up evidence of wrongdoing by their companies. Especially when industries such as manufacturers of tobacco, asbestos and breast implants were involved, many potential jurors admitted that they would not be fair. Nearly half of those polled reported that they believe product warnings are intended more to protect manufacturers from being sued than to keep consumers safe.

Patients who are depressed during hospitalization often have earlier mortality after discharge than patients who are not depressed. According to a study in Psychosomatic Medicine that evaluated the relationship between mortality and depression in 454 patients, patients with depression who had been on a general medical service were 1.9 times more likely to die in the following two years than those without depression. Depression was measured by a two-minute interview using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Nearly half of all women say they know little or nothing about osteoporosis, even though 23 million women in the United States have the disease and half of all women may be affected by it in their lifetime, reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation. According to a UCLA Osteoporosis Center survey of 514 women, 39 percent of women over 45 years of age report that they have never discussed osteoporosis with their physicians. Only 28 percent of women are aware that in women over 50 years of age, osteoporosis is more likely to occur than breast cancer, heart disease, ovarian cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Stressed-out dads-to-be can benefit from a trip to the doctor. A team from Washington University checked the blood pressures of 191 men who accompanied their pregnant spouses to their check-ups and found that 20.9 percent of the men had blood pressures above 140/90 mm Hg. The men with high blood pressure were an average of 33.4 years of age, while the men with normal blood pressure were an average of 25.1 years of age. Because of the significant life change that occurs with the birth of a baby, men with hypertension may be motivated to seek follow-up care, reports Physician's Weekly.

A Georgia dentist has spent the past three years building a wildlife habitat behind his office, complete with a pond and a waterfall, bird showers and feeders, trees, chipmunks, birds and deer. The preserve was recently certified as a workplace habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The dentist hopes that the nature setting will help his uptight patients to feel more at ease and make the wait more bearable. It seems to be working: according to Physicians Financial News, some of his patients admit they now look forward to their dental appointments.

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Copyright © 1999 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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