News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • April 13, 2016
    The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force finalized its guidelines on the use of aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer. The task force now recommends that people between the ages of 50-59 who are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and do not have an elevated risk of bleeding should consider low- dose aspirin for the primary prevention of both CVD and colorectal cancer. For adults 60-69 the decision to start on a low-dose aspirin regimen should be made on a case-by-case basis. (Source: USPSTF publishes
  • April 11, 2016
    In 2012, nearly 6,000 children aged 0 through 4 were hospitalized and another 55,000 were treated and released from U.S. emergency rooms for medication poisoning (Health Care Utilization Project, National Inpatient Sample and National Emergency Department Sample, 2012). These poisonings resulted in $154 million in medical spending and $14 million in parent work losses (CSN EDARC analysis). Nearly all emergency department visits to young children (95 percent) are a result of unsupervised children getting into medication; only five percent of these visits
  • April 7, 2016
    Many of today’s important medications are biological products. Biological products are made from living organisms. The material they are made from can come from many sources, including humans, animals and microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast. Biological products are manufactured through biotechnology, derived from natural sources or, in some cases, produced synthetically. Biological products are among the medications used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, low white blood cell counts, inflammatory bowel disease, skin conditions such as psoriasis and
  • April 4, 2016
  • April 4, 2016
    Arizona Republic/AZCentral
  • April 1, 2016
    FDA released on Thursday draft guidance on biosimilar labels. According to the guidance, biosimilar labeling—as with generics—should include a description of the clinical data that supported safety and efficacy of the reference product. FDA notes, however, that in situations where a biosimilar is not approved for the same indications as its reference product—unlike with generics—"it may be necessary to include information in the biosimilar product labeling relating to an indication(s) for which the biosimilar product applicant is not seeking licensure, in order to
  • April 1, 2016

    Medication errors come in all shapes and sizes, from overdoses to misunderstanding doses to drug name mix-ups to patients receiving the wrong medication or using the wrong dosage units. In fact, since 2000, FDA has received more than 95,000 voluntary reports of medication errors. Even though there are systems in place to prevent medication errors, it often comes down to the pharmacist to keep patients safe and make sure they are getting the right medications at the right dose.

  • March 30, 2016
    SAMHSA is pleased to announce the release of a new pocket guide for health professionals, Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. This pocket guide offers: 1) A checklist for prescribing medication. 2) FDA-approved medications for use in the treatment of opioid use disorder. 3) Screening and assessment tools, including an 11-item scale, the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale; and Best practices and patient care.
  • March 29, 2016
    Almost all physicians who write prescriptions for opioid painkillers exceed the federally recommended three-day dosage limit, according to a survey by the National Safety Council. The survey found 99 percent of doctors exceed the three-day limit. Almost one-quarter of doctors prescribe opioids for a month. While almost 85 percent of doctors screen for signs of prior opioid painkiller abuse, only one-third asks about a family history of addiction, the survey found. When signs of abuse are uncovered, only 5 percent offer direct help
  • March 22, 2016
    More than 15% of older Americans took potentially life-threatening combinations of prescription medications, over- the-counter drugs and dietary supplements in 2011, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The 2011 numbers represented a twofold increase from 2005, when 8.4% of seniors did so. Patients should always tell their doctor and pharmacist about all of the drugs and supplements they are taking, or plan to take, including over-the-counter medications, said lead researcher Dr. Dima Qato.