Health Highlights: Oct. 16, 2015

Health Highlights: Oct. 16, 2015

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

Excessive Drinking Cost U.S. $249 Billion in 2010: Study

Excessive drinking cost the United States $249 billion — $2.05 a drink — in 2010, according to a federal government study.

That’s a significant increase from $223.45 billion — $1.90 a drink — in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Most of the costs are due to lower worker productivity, crime, and treating health problems caused by excessive drinking. Two of every $5 of costs — more than $100 billion — were paid by governments.

Seventy-seven percent of the costs were related to binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks on one occasion for men or four or more drinks on one occasion for women.

“The increase in the costs of excessive drinking from 2006 to 2010 is concerning, particularly given the severe economic recession that occurred during these years,” study author Dr. Robert Brewer, head of CDC’s Alcohol Program, said in an agency news release.

“Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used,” he added.

Excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, including 10 percent of deaths among working-age people ages 20-64, the CDC said.

The study found that excessive drinking cost states and the District of Columbia a median of $3.5 billion each in 2010, ranging from $488 million in North Dakota to $35 billion in California.

The per person cost of excessive drinking was highest in Washington D.C. at $1,526 vs. the national average of $807, while New Mexico had the highest cost per drink at $2.77 vs. the national average of $2.05, the study found.


FDA Warned of Sexual Enhancer Products Tied to Lamar Odom’s Collapse

Former basketball star Lamar Odom was taking “lots of” so-called “herbal Viagra,” before he collapsed at a Nevada brothel, according to the owner of the establishment.

While that has not been confirmed, “natural” sexual enhancement products that actually contain prescription drugs have been targeted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for years, NBC News reported.

Many of the products contain sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, or a similar drug called sulfoaildenafil.

“This undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates, which are found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin. This interaction may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take prescription drugs that contain nitrates,” according to the FDA.

However, many men don’t know of the risk because the products are labeled as natural or don’t list the drug ingredients on the label, NBC News reported.

Sales of “natural sexual enhancers” are estimated at $400 million or more.