Health Highlights: Aug. 12, 2010

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

California Lawsuit Targets Bounce Houses With High Lead Levels

Nine companies that make children’s inflatable “bounce houses” are being sued by the state of California because some of the structures have unsafe levels of lead.

Tests showed that the vinyl in the inflatable structures contain lead levels that exceed both state and federal standards, according to a suit filed Wednesday by California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the Associated Press reported.

One bounce house had lead levels more than 70 times above the federal limit.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the companies from selling the contaminated materials and Brown also wants rental companies to post warnings about lead levels in the bounce houses, the AP reported.


Seizure Drug Can Cause Aseptic Meningitis: FDA

The drug Lamictal (lamotrigine) — used to treat seizures and bipolar disorder — can cause aseptic meningitis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

Aseptic meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include headache, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck and sensitivity to light. Many patients require hospitalization.

“Aseptic meningitis is a rare but serious side effect of Lamictal use,” Dr. Russell Katz, director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. “Patients that experience symptoms should consult their health care professional immediately.”

Between the time Lamictal received FDA approval, in December 1994, and through November 2009 there have been 40 cases of aseptic meningitis in patients taking the drug. Of those patients, 35 had to be hospitalized, the FDA said.

The FDA said it’s working with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline to update Lamictal’s prescribing information and patient medication guide to include the risk.


Fresh Express Recalls Mixed Salad Product

California-based Fresh Express is recalling a mixed salad product that may be contaminated with bacteria that causes listeriosis.

The recall includes 2,825 cases of Veggie Lovers Salad with the product code I208 and a use-by date of Aug. 10, the Associated Press reported.

The decision to take the product off the shelves came after one package tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes in a sample test by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The salad mix was originally distributed to 13 states but could have been redistributed to other states, said Fresh Express and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the AP reported.

No illnesses have been reported, the FDA said.