Today’s Headlines: Skin Cream, Statins and Secondhand Smoke

Your skin cream might be making outlandish claims. It’s common to see claims on the packaging of skin creams. Some say they’ll to reverse aging, while others say they’ll make your wrinkles disappear. But the FDA is warning consumers to be careful of such claims. “The FDA is taking on the beauty industry and some of the over-the-top claims being made for some of the products. Five warnings have gone out since November. The latest warning letter went out to Strivectin, whose wrinkle creams are sold at retailers that range from Costco to Nordstrom. The FDA objects to the following claims: ‘Clinically proven to change the anatomy of a wrinkle’; ‘This superb age-fighting serum is super charged with …potent elastin stimulating peptides’; and ‘Potent elastin-stimulating peptides help enhance skin structure.’” The FDA says these claims make the creams drugs and subject them to FDA approval, which the creams don’t have. “FDA says it will continue to do what it can, but it doesn’t have much authority. The law doesn’t require cosmetic firms to register with FDA or to submit their products, ingredients, labeling or claims to FDA for approval before the products go on the market.” Dermatologists say that “anti-aging” claims are often meaningless and that creams can’t make wrinkles disappear. (NBC)

Stopping statins at the end of life may have benefits. Stopping any medication often brings concerns that the disease it was designed to treat will make a comeback. But in the case of terminal illness, the benefits of some medications can be small compared to their possible side effects. “Among people without active heart disease who were expected to live no more than a year, stopping the drugs, known as statins, didn’t increase the number of deaths within 60 days, but did improve quality of life. Drug trials rarely address the issue of when to stop using the treatments. The topic becomes especially important as the body responds differently to drugs later in life. Statins are considered candidates for so-called deprescribing at the end of life, because their benefit – a lower risk of heart disease – isn’t seen for about two years.” The team can’t say why quality of life scores increased, but it could be because patients interpreted the discussions surrounding deprescribing medications as doctors paying more attention to their healthcare needs. “Stopping statins was also linked to stopping other medications per doctors’ instructions, which may occur when doctors find that it’s safe to stop certain drugs.” (Fox)

Clogged arteries in adults tied to secondhand smoke during childhood. Its long been known that smoking ups heart disease risk in those individuals who smoke, but new research has found that clogged arteries can also come from smoke exposure during childhood. “In a Finnish study spanning 26 years, kids exposed to parental smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their carotid arteries as young adults than kids who were not exposed to secondhand smoke. These findings and others suggest the health effects of passive smoking on children are not limited to respiratory or developmental health, but can have a long-term impact on cardiovascular health. The team tested the blood samples for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of cigarette smoke exposure, and looked for a buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries, two large blood vessels of the neck. More than 84 percent of kids of nonsmokers had no cotinine in their blood, compared to 62 percent of those with one smoking parent and 43 percent when both parents smoked.” Fortunately, the researchers found there were things parents could do to limit smoke exposure in their kids if they were unable or unwilling to quit. “Many smoking parents did not smoke inside the home or car, or smoked well away from their children, to the point where there was no evidence for passive smoke exposure in their child’s blood.” (Reuters)