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News1993August › Short takes › August 1993

Short takes

* Acne creams made from tretinoin have been associated with birth defects

* Acne creams made from tretinoin have been associated with birth defects. Doctors in Australia report a woman who gave birth to a severely malformed baby who had been using a "topical, alcohol based liquid preparation of 0.5 per cent tretinoin for severe facial acne" before conception and for the first five weeks of gestation. The doctors say that such acne preparations "should be available only on prescription and after thorough screening of women for pregnancy and insistence on contraception." The Lancet, 22 May 1993.

* Nurses, doctors and other workers exposed to chemotherapy and drugs used for anaesthesia are at increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, according to a study of French health workers. "There were significant associations between ectopic pregnancy and exposure to antineoplastic drugs, the woman's age, and the number of previous pregnancies." The Lancet, 8 May 1993.

* Taking hormone replacement therapy will not stave off memory loss, according to research. A study of 800 women found no evidence to support the belief that taking HRT will keep you sharper for longer. JAMA, 26 May 1993.

* Trials of an antiviral drug touted as a cure for hepatitis B have been halted after it was found to destroy the livers of those involved. In the US, of the 11 patients taking fialuridine manufactured by Eli Lilly two died, a third survived after a liver transplant, and a further three may need similar transplants later on.

UK sufferers may have had a lucky escape. Eli Lilly had planned to recruit up to 100 people with hepatitis B for trials in Europe to start this autumn.


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