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Health News

Study: Combining vaccines boosts polio immunity

Study: Combining vaccines boosts polio immunity

Polio has been wiped out in many countries thanks to massive use of oral vaccine. But new research suggests trying a one-two punch where the disease is still a threat: Giving a single vaccine shot to children who have already gotten the drops boosted their immunity.

World Health Organization officials say the combination strategy could help finally eradicate polio.

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Which vaccine works best has long been debated. They each have different strengths. Wealthy countries today use only injected polio vaccine, but the oral version is used in developing countries because it is cheaper, easier to administer and better at stopping virus transmission.

Thursday’s study tested nearly 1,000 children in India who had previously received several oral vaccinations and found that giving a shot was a better booster dose than more oral drops. (AP)

New restrictions on hydrocodone
to take effect

The federal government is finalizing new restrictions on hundreds of medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the United States.

The new rules mean that drugs like Vicodin, Lortab, and their generic equivalents will be subject to the same prescribing rules as painkillers like codeine and oxycodone. Patients will be limited to one 90-day supply of medication and will have to see a health care professional to get a refill. In many states, only doctors will be able to prescribe the medications, not nurses or physician assistants.

The move, announced in a federal notice, comes more than a decade after the Drug Enforcement Administration first recommended reclassifying hydrocodone due to its risks for abuse and addiction. For years, physician groups and the Food and Drug Administration opposed the move, saying it would burden health care providers and patients while driving up costs.

But last year the FDA changed its position, citing the national epidemic of overdoses and deaths tied to prescription painkillers known as opioids.

Deaths linked to the drugs more than tripled between 1999 and 2010, during which sales of opioids increased four-fold. (AP)

Associated Press
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