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Health briefs: Study links Flomax, complications after cataract surgery in older men

study: flomax, postsurgical issues linked

Older men using the popular drug Flomax are more than twice as likely as those who do not to suffer serious complications after cataract surgery, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found. Tamsulosin hydrochloride, sold under the brand name Flomax, is believed to relieve urinary problems in men with enlarged prostates by relaxing smooth muscle in the prostate and bladder. But the drug seems to have a similar effect on smooth muscle in the iris of the eye, leading to more complications such as retinal detachment, a lost lens or inflammation around the eye. An analysis of postsurgical complications of 96,128 men ages 66 and older who had cataract surgery in Ontario from 2002 to 2007 found 7.5 percent of those who took the drug in the 14 days before surgery experienced a serious complication, compared with 2.7 percent of those who had not used the drug. Study authors advised physicians to ask patients if they would soon be having cataract surgery before putting them on the drug. Nearly three of four men have an enlarged prostate by age 70, and close to 2 million cataract surgeries are performed annually in the United States.

Swine flu numbers rising

As of Wednesday, there were 5,710 confirmed and probable cases of swine flu in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida has 122 cases, ranking it 10th. Three states — Alaska, West Virginia and Wyoming — have no reported cases. Health officials say some states' higher numbers could simply reflect that they are doing more testing. Wisconsin, for example, has had 10,000 samples tested since the outbreak began. Here are the Top 10:

1. Illinois (794 cases)

2. Wisconsin (766)

3. Texas (556)

4. California (553)

5. Arizona (488)

6. Washington (411)

7. New York (284)

8. Massachusetts (175)

9. Michigan (171)

10. Florida (122)

Obesity and flu complications

A survey of people hospitalized because of swine flu in California has raised the possibility that obesity is as much of a risk factor for serious complications from the flu as diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy, all known to raise a person's risk. About two-thirds of the California patients had some underlying medical condition, according to a report Tuesday in the weekly bulletin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We were surprised by the frequency of obesity among the severe cases that we've been tracking," said Anne Schuchat, one of the CDC epidemiologists managing the outbreak. She said scientists are looking into the possibility that obese people should be at the head of the line along with other high-risk groups if a swine flu vaccine becomes available.

Times wires


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Health briefs: Study links Flomax, complications after cataract surgery in older men 05/20/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 5:40pm]
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