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Cough syrup recalled due to fungus concerns; US children dying more than other wealthy countries; Patients on antidepressants more likely to gain weight – Morning Medical Update


The top news stories in medicine today.

Morning Medical Update : © AntonioDiaz - stock.adobe.com

Morning Medical Update : © AntonioDiaz - stock.adobe.com

Cough syrup recalled due to fungus concerns

Several Robitussin cough syrup products have been recalled nationwide due to potentially deadly microbial contamination. The recall announcement from Haleon, a global consumer health products company, said the contamination could lead to fungal infections or the presence of fungi or yeasts in a person’s blood. Haleon also warned that people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of life-threatening health problems due to the cough syrup.

The recall applies to products Robitussin Honey CF Max Day and Robitussin Honey CF Max Nighttime. Currently, the company has not received any reports of people being affected by the recalled products.

US children dying more than other wealthy countries

In the US, children are dying at higher rates than other wealthy, developed countries according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics. The research attempts to calculate how many more children under 19 are dying in the US compared to similar countries.

Researchers calculated the median mortality rates from 1999 to 2019 for children in 16 countries outside the US, such as Australia, Canada, Japan, and 13 European countries. They then compared those rates to the mortality rates in the US during the same years, multiplying the difference by the size of the US population for each year.

The disparity found is partially due to high infant mortality rates in the US, with babies under one years old accounting for more than half of the excess deaths. The research team found that for children over a year of age, four factors could potentially explain the increased death toll of children in the US: firearms, suicide, drugs, and car accidents.

Read more about the effects of these four factors on child mortality in the US here.

Patients on antidepressants more likely to gain weight

In the Annals of Internal Medicine, a newly published study analyzed the data of 183,118 patients across eight US health systems from 2010 to 2019. The data found that some antidepressants were linked to more weight gain than others.

Being the most prescribed medications in the US, users of escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and duloxetine (Cymbalta) were 10% to 15% more likely to gain at least 5% of their baseline weight than sertraline (Zoloft) users. Meanwhile, Bupropion (Wellbutrin) users were 15% less likely to gain weight than sertraline (Zoloft) users. Fluoxetine (Prozac) was not associated with a weight change.

Joshua Petimar, lead author of the study, said, “Patients and their clinicians often have several options when starting an antidepressant for the first time. This study provides important real-world evidence regarding the amount of weight gain that should be expected after starting some of the most common antidepressants.”

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