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Jul 18, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- FDA APPROVES LIQUID FORM OF EPILEPSY DRUG

The Food and Drug Administration has approved grape-flavored, liquid Keppra for epilepsy patients who cannot swallow tablets. Keppra, or levetiracetam, is manufactured by UCB Pharma Inc. and has been on the market in tablet form since 1999 as part of a treatment plan for adults with epilepsy. The new liquid formula is expected to be available through pharmacies this fall. Worldwide, epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder, even more common than Alzheimer's disease and it can strike at any time. Epilepsy affects some 2.3 million Americans.


Researchers say HIV-positive adults, ages 18 to 34, could be more likely to have heart disease than people the same age but HIV-negative. University of California at Los Angeles researchers say it is important HIV patients and their physicians monitor cardiac health. Their study included a review of six years of data from 28,513 HIV-positive patients and more than 3 million HIV-negative patients. It showed the rate of heart disease in 18- to 34-year-old HIV-positive men was 1.64 cases per 100 patient years, compared to 0.76 incidents per 100 patient years in HIV-negative men. The findings did not hold true, however, for men over age 34 and women over age 45.


Physicians say asthma that does not respond to standard therapy might really be vocal cord dysfunction instead. A conference this weekend, "Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment of Vocal Cord Dysfunction," at the National Jewish hospital in Denver, looks at how involuntary closure of the vocal cords can mimic several asthma symptoms and often is misdiagnosed as asthma. The treatment for vocal cord dysfunction, however, is a series of exercises rather than medications. VCD can cause difficulty breathing and even wheezing -- much like asthma.


The exact cause of colon cancer is not known but physicians do know early treatment is crucial to successful outcomes. The National Cancer Institute says risk factors for developing colon cancer include age -- the disease is more common if you are over 50 -- diets high in fat and calories and low in fiber, and the presence of polyps in the colon and rectum. Symptoms include blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits -- diarrhea, constipation or a feeling the bowel does not empty completely -- abdominal pain or bloating, weight loss for no reason, constantly being tired and vomiting. Because these symptoms also could indicate many other health conditions, it is very important to talk with your doctor as soon as you notice them. A colonoscopy is the best method for detecting colon cancer. For more information go to on the Internet.


(EDITORS: For more information on EPILEPSY DRUG, contact Adam Pawluk at (646) 935-4135 or e-mail For HIV CARDIAC, contact Elaine Schmidt, (310) 794-2272 or For VOCAL CORD, contact William Allstetter, (303) 398-1002 or For COLON CANCER, go to the National Cancer Institute Web site,

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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