News you can use: health & drug safety updates

2006

  • October 3, 2006
    Annual NCPIE observance works to improve medicine communication/reduce medication errors.
  • September 17, 2006
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will continue to provide the public with regular updates on the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak each day until further notice. To date, 109 cases of illness due to E. coli infection have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 16 cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and one death. Illnesses continue to be reported to CDC. This is considered to be an ongoing investigation. Symptoms of Illness E. coli O157:H7 causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Although most healthy
  • September 8, 2006
    If your doctor told you to take aspirin to help prevent a heart attack, you need to know that taking ibuprofen at the same time, for pain relief, may interfere with the benefits of aspirin for the heart. It is all right to use them together, but the FDA recommends that you contact your doctor for more information on the timing of when to take these two medicines, so that both medicines can be effective.
  • August 30, 2006
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase prescription drugs from websites that have orders filled by Mediplan Prescription Plus Pharmacy or Mediplan Global Health in Manitoba, Canada following reports of counterfeit versions of prescription drug products being sold by these companies to U.S. consumers. FDA is investigating these reports and is coordinating with international law enforcement authorities on this matter. FDA recommends that consumers who have purchased drugs from these websites
  • August 24, 2006
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced approval of Plan B, a contraceptive drug, as an over-the-counter (OTC) option for women aged 18 and older. Plan B is often referred to as emergency contraception or the “morning after pill.” It contains an ingredient used in prescription birth control pills—only in the case of Plan B, each pill contains a higher dose and the product has a different dosing regimen. Like other birth control pills, Plan B has been available to all women as a prescription drug. When used as directed, Plan B effectively and
  • July 14, 2006
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to purchase or consume Zimaxx, Libidus, Neophase, Nasutra, Vigor-25, Actra-Rx, or 4EVERON. These products are promoted and sold on web sites as “dietary supplements” for treating erectile dysfunction (ED) and enhancing sexual performance, but they are in fact illegal drugs that contain potentially harmful undeclared ingredients. These products have not been approved by FDA, and there is no guarantee of their safety and effectiveness, or of the purity of their
  • July 10, 2006
    The National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) has joined with 28 leading healthcare organizations to improve hospital care in the United States to ensure that all cardiac patients receive care consistent with nationally accepted standards. The new coalition—the Alliance for Cardiac Care Excellence (ACE) — includes leaders from the American Hospital Association, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Heart
  • June 14, 2006
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) today launched a nationwide health professional education campaign aimed at reducing the number of common but preventable sources of medication mix-ups and mistakes caused by the use of unclear medical abbreviations. The campaign focuses on eliminating the use of potentially confusing abbreviations by healthcare professionals, medical students, medical writers, the pharmaceutical industry and FDA staff. The campaign will address the
  • May 22, 2006
    An independent panel convened by the NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research and the Office of Dietary Supplements assessed the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of multivitamin/minerals (MVMs). The panel made recommendations regarding certain specific supplements but ultimately concluded that more rigorous scientific research is needed before strong recommendations can be made regarding MVM use to prevent chronic diseases. The panel’s findings pertain to the generally healthy population, and do not include pregnant women, children, or those with disease.
  • May 4, 2006
    Medicaid spending for outpatient prescription drugs increased by 20 percent per year on average from 1997 to 2002, jumping from $11.6 billion to $23.7 billion during that period, according to a new study by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The increase reflects a rise in both the number of prescriptions written for Medicaid enrollees-from 301 million in 1997 to 429 million in 2002-and the rapid uptake of newer classes of drugs, which are often more expensive The increase also reflected rapidly growing spending on behalf of

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