Health Highlights: Jan. 7, 2010

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Testosterone Levels Affect Breastfeeding: Study

Elevated levels of the male hormone testosterone during pregnancy may explain why some women have difficulty breastfeeding, say Norwegian researchers.

They said their study of 180 women showed a clear relationship between higher levels of testosterone during pregnancy and low rates of breastfeeding at three and six months, BBC News reported.

The researchers said testosterone may have a negative impact on the development of glandular tissue in the breast, which would affect a mother's ability to breastfeed.

The study appears in the journal Acta Obstetricia and Gynecologica Scandinavica.


Anti-Obesity Drug May Reduce Sleep Apnea

An investigational oral anti-obesity drug called Qnexa appears to be an effective treatment for sleep apnea, according to drug maker Vivus Inc.

A study of 45 obese men and women found that those treated with Qnexa for 28 weeks had 69% fewer sleep apnea events than those who took a placebo. The patients who took the drug lost an average 10% of body weight (about 23.8 pounds), Dow Jones Newswires reported.

"We know that substantial weight loss can significantly improve sleep apnea. These phase 2 data suggest that Qnexa, if approved for this indication, may be a promising treatment" for sleep apnea, said Leland Wilson, chief executive of Vivus.

The company has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug as a treatment for obesity, Dow Jones Newswires reported.


FDA Cancels Cymbalta Meeting

A meeting to consider an application to use the antidepressant Cymbalta to treat chronic pain has been canceled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because it wants time to review new information about the proposed use.

The meeting to review drug maker Eli Lilly & Co.'s application had been scheduled for Jan. 28, the Associated Press reported.

In November 2008, Lilly withdrew an application after FDA reviewers raised questions about the methodology and dosing in some of the company's clinical trials.

A new application submitted by Lilly last summer included data from studies on using Cymbalta to treat chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and lower back pain, the AP reported.

Currently, the drug is approved in the United States for treatment of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, nerve pain and the pain condition fibromyalgia.

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