News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • June 6, 2016
    The next time you reach for an over-the-counter (OTC) product to treat your upset stomach or heartburn, consider whether you should use one of the many antacids that don’t have aspirin. Why? Aspirin-containing medicines to treat heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, or upset stomach can cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, especially in some people, warns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Who’s at Higher Risk of Bleeding: Because aspirin thins the blood, FDA believes the aspirin in these combination
  • June 3, 2016
    Key Finding: Most Sites Studied Violate Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. A research project by students of the Fisher College Criminal Justice Division in Boston, MA, found various types of opioids easy to locate and obtain illegally through multiple online platforms. The students investigated the availability of opioids on the Internet as an extension of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ policy to address the increase of opioid abuse, addiction, and harm within the state. The student researchers sought to determine the
  • June 3, 2016
    In this episode of The Healthy Children Show, Little Laura shares her top five safety tips for dosing and giving liquid medication. Remember to always use the dosing device that comes with your child’s medicine. If there is no dosing device, ask your pediatrician or pharmacist for one that should be used. Medication should not be measured in teaspoons or tablespoons, especially not spoons taken from a kitchen drawer. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • June 1, 2016

    We’ve all heard of the power of positive thinking to improve one’s attitude or outlook on life. Imagine what could happen if encouragement and support were used to counsel patients about their medications and disease state, rather than scolding or correction.

  • May 25, 2016
    A new study in JAMA Cardiology suggests that some patients do not discuss their adherence to medications with their cardiologists. After administering questionnaires to both patients and physicians at two academic and two community-based cardiology practices in the Chicago area, researchers found that 61% of patients rarely or never discussed adherence, 45% of whom admitted to sometimes or usually forgetting to take their medications. An additional 10% said they had missed one dose or more of medication in the past 2 weeks. About two-thirds of the
  • May 25, 2016
    The FDA today finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. Highlights of the Final Nutrition Facts Label Label Formats: Original vs. New What’s Different
  • May 24, 2016
    A program that provides systematic education and reminders in an emergency department (ED) can greatly reduce the risk of inappropriate medications being given to older patients. Researchers, who presented their work at the American Geriatrics Society 2016 Annual Scientific Meetings, discussed the EQUiPPED (Enhancing Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Veterans Discharged From the Emergency Department) program. The program is made up of a team of geriatricians, gerontologists, geriatric pharmacy specialists, and others—all working to reduce
  • May 23, 2016
    Once the stepchild of the American health care system, primary care is now the linchpin of efforts to improve the health and health care of individuals and communities and to bring down costs. Factors contributing to the demand for primary care include the coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act and an aging and growing population. But here is the problem: there is a shortage of primary care providers, already acute in some areas of the country, and it’s expected to significantly grow in the years ahead. Coupled with consumer expectations that
  • May 17, 2016
    Electronic medical record (EMR) systems, defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as “an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization,” have the potential to provide substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations and improve the quality of patient care and safety. Nevertheless, despite these myriad benefits, the possibility of medical error or misinformation persists.
  • May 12, 2016
    FDA, which relies heavily on user-fee programs to review prescription drugs in an expeditious fashion, may adopt a similar framework to tap industry financial support for the OTC drug evaluation process. Currently, hundreds of thousands of OTC medications—including analgesics, cough and cold treatments, and antiseptics—are marketed through “monographs” without being sanctioned by FDA. Lack of funding and staffing, meanwhile, have slowed finalization of these monographs, giving consumers access to OTC drugs that have yet to be cleared as safe and