News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • November 5, 2001
    The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has posted the most current news and scientific recommendations about dealing with anthrax and bioterrorism. This includes information about appropriate use of antibiotics, and prescribing information for the antibiotics being used to treat cases of confirmed and suspected anthrax. CDER also issued warnings about purchasing Cipro from illegal websites.
  • October 23, 2001
    This government weblink, updated several times a week, represents a compilation of the latest scientific news and public health warnings on bioterrorism.
  • October 1, 2001
    The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement calling for pediatricians “to educate themselves about the diagnosis and treatment of acetaminophen toxicity.” As a non- prescription medicine that parents often give to infants and children without direct advice from health care professionals, the AAP recommends that pediatricians give specific written information about acetaminophen to parents at well-child visits.
  • September 4, 2001
  • September 4, 2001
    "Educate Before You Medicate: Your Prescription for Good Health” is the theme for the October 2001 observance of NCPIE’s “Talk About Prescriptions” Month. This marks the 16th observance of “TAP,” in which over 150 members of the NCPIE coalition are expected to participate.
  • August 27, 2001
    Since 1999, a European directive has madated the provision of patient leaflets inside the boxes of prescribed medicines. NCPIE member Theo Raynor (Univ. of Leeds, UK) and a colleague found that one-fifth of patients failed to notice the package insert; of those who did, only 21% read the entire leaflet. Raynor notes that the U.S. system of computer- generated leaflets, which promotes customization and the opportunity for direct patient counseling by the pharmacist, is much better aligned with promoting “concordance” among patients and health care professionals.
  • August 23, 2001
    Despite specific warnings about pregnancy prevention while using Accutane, thousands of Accutane patients became pregnant from 1982-2000, the Centers for Disease Control reported last week. In particular, a pictogram with a line across an image of a pregnant woman was misinterpreted by many women to mean that the drug served as birth control. In Jan. 2001, the FDA had issued more explicit warnings in an Accutane Medication Guide.
  • July 12, 2001
    While physicians and surgeons may ask patients about use of prescription medicines prior to surgery, they need to also inquire about patients' use of common herbal or dietary supplements, according to research in the July 11 Journal of the AMA. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that use of echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St. John’s wort and valerian may cause complications during surgery. These could include: irregular heart rhythms, increased bleeding, and dangerous interactions with prescription medicines.
  • July 5, 2001
    The concept of “concordance,” a term preferred in the United Kingdom to that of medication “compliance,” is explored in depth in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (June 2001). Research from U.K. and U.S. experts in both concepts is presented, including the lead article, “From compliance to concordance,” and an assessment of whether “concordance” serves patient medication management.
  • May 26, 2001
    Pediatric inpatients, particularly those in the neonatal intensive care unit, are significantly at higher risk of a potential adverse drug event (ADE), according to a new study published in the April 25, 2001 JAMA. Researchers reviewed nearly 11,000 medication orders, and found an error rate of nearly 6%. Most potential ADEs occurred at the drug ordering stage. Computerized physician order entry could have prevented 93% of potential ADEs, and clinical pharmacists could have prevented 94% of potential ADEs.