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The FDA has ordered Pfizer Inc., maker of Chantix, to add the strong “black box” warnings – the agency’s most urgent – to this anti-smoking drug reports Forbes.com. The FDA says patients taking Chantix should be watched for serious mental health problems including suicide.

The FDA will require the same warning on GlaxoSmithKline’s Zyban. The warning must also be included in all advertisements for these drugs. Nicotine-releasing patches and gums will not carry the warning.

The FDA stated the warning will highlight the risk changes in behavior, depressed mood, hostility, and suicidal thoughts when taking these drugs.

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Federal officials are warning consumers to stop using Zicam, a popular cold remedy. The reason: it could damage or destroy users’ sense of smell.

The Food and Drug Administration has received 130 reports of people who lost their sense of smell after using Zicam nasal products, which include Zicam Cold Remedy and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs.

The products were introduced by Matrixx Initiatives of Scottsdale, Ariz. in 1999.

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The Coloradoan reports Larimer County commissioners have agreed to pay $225,000 to the estate of a man who died after being tasered repeatedly by sheriff’s deputies.

The man died October 25, 2005, almost three weeks after his heart stopped while being arrested by deputies. The man stopped breathing during the arrest and was taken to the hospital. But he never regained consciousness. The death was ruled a homicide.

The lawsuit claimed the deputies were not properly trained in the use of stun guns. During their depositions, the deputies stated they were not familiar with a memo from TASER International, manufacturer of the stun guns, warning against using a taser on a person in a state of “excited delirium” which came out three months prior to the incident.

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Two large debt settlement companies in New York have been sued by the state Attorney General for allegedly engaging in fraudulent and deceptive business practices and false advertising.

Among the problems, according to NY Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo: one company enrolled 18,000 customers in New York State during the past five years and earned $17 million in fees but settled debts in only 2,000 of those cases.

Debt Settlement Lawsuit

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An Illinois meatpacker has recalled nearly 96,000 pounds of ground-beef products after receiving reports of E. coli infections that may be linked to the beef, said the federal Agriculture Department.

The meatpacker, Valley Meats LLC, distributed the beef in 10-pound to 40-pound packages in March, according to the federal agency. The products were sold under brand names that included 3S, Grillmaster, J&B, Klub, Thick ‘N Savory and Ultimate.

More information is available on the Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.

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A federal jury awarded almost $1 million to a 79-year-old Vermont resident’s family on May 15, ending a lawsuit filed in 2006 against Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The woman underwent coronary bypass surgery at the medical center in August 2005 and was readmitted two days later because she had difficulty breathing.

After determining the woman was suffering from low blood sugar, health care workers gave her IV doses of glucose after which her hand swelled, felt numb, and turned blue. Eventually she had two of her fingers and part of her hand amputated, after which she developed a serious bacterial infection. She died of a heart attack caused by the infection in November 2005.

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In 2006, the website, Chantix Home, stated the drug “has no match among the smoking cessation drugs at present..

The site lists side effects, based on the clinical trials performed by Pfizer (the maker of Chantix) are pretty common ones such as nausea, sleep disorder, gas, constipation, headache, and loss of taste.

Since that time, more than five million patients have used the drug, some with serious, even life-threatening, side effects. These side effects include: severe mood swings, depression, agitation and aggression, nervousness, impaired driving skills, and suicidal ideation and behavior.

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Ed McMahon has settled a medical malpractice lawsuit against Cedars Sinai Medical center for an undisclosed amount reports Entertainment Tonight.

The long time TV personality claims the doctors failed to correctly diagnose a broken neck he sustained in a 2007 after a fall at a friend’s house. He claims the hospital discharged him without taking x-rays and the hospital botched two subsequent spine operations causing Mr. McMahon months of discomfort and pain which left him unable to work.

The personal liability lawsuit against the homeowners where the fall occurred is still pending.

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Washington State’s Bellingham Herald reports Whatcom County and the state must pay $5.5 million because their negligence allowed a drunk driver to injure a Washington woman in January 2007.

The jury found the county and the State Patrol were negligent in not preventing the other woman from driving drunk before the crash.

The driver was found passed out behind the wheel of her car hours before she caused the car crash. She was cited for a DUI, driven home, given her keys, and told not to drive before she sobered up. She called a cab to go back to her car, started driving, and collided with the plaintiff.

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Following reports of 46 deaths and hundreds of injuries — many from rollover accidents — sales of three Rhino off-highway recreational vehicles have been halted until free safety repairs can be made by Yamaha Motor Corp., the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in late March.

The Rhino vehicles are prone to rollover at low speeds and on level ground, the CPSC stated. The agency cautioned consumers not to use these off-road vehicles until new safety features are installed.

More than two-thirds of the fatalities involved rollovers.

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