- - Sunday, February 13, 2011

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Plan B maker seeks full OTC status

Teva Pharmaceuticals, which makes Plan B One-Step, has filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make its “emergency contraception” product available over the counter (OTC).

Currently, Plan B, which is intended to prevent a pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, is available without a prescription to anyone 17 and older, but requires a prescription for anyone younger.

A March 2009 federal court ruling said the FDA denied unlimited OTC status to Plan B because of “politics” rather than science. The ruling asked the FDA to reconsider its decision. Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a motion for contempt against the FDA to force it to comply with the ruling.

Conservative groups have urged the FDA not to grant unlimited OTC status to Plan B. They say that Plan B, like other birth-control products, could cause serious health complications and should require a prescription to ensure proper medical oversight of users, especially minors.

ILLINOIS

Pediatricians warn against energy drinks

CHICAGO — Energy drinks are under-studied, overused and can be dangerous for children and teens, warns a report by doctors who say kids shouldn’t use the popular products.

The potential harms, caused mostly by too much caffeine or similar ingredients, include heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death, the authors write in the medical journal Pediatrics. They reviewed data from the government and interest groups, scientific literature, case reports and articles in popular and trade media.

The report’s authors want pediatricians to routinely ask patients and their parents about energy-drink consumption and to advise against drinking them.

“We would discourage the routine use” by children and teens, said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, pediatrics chairman at the University of Miami’s medical school. He wrote the report with colleagues from that center.

NORTH CAROLINA

Police: Slain ‘gunman’ was not armed

CARY — A man who told hostages and police he had a gun was actually unarmed during a three-hour standoff that ended with officers shooting and killing him outside a North Carolina bank, police said Sunday.

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