News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • December 23, 2015
    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) proposed recommending low- to moderate-dose statins for primary prevention in adults 40 to 75 with at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor and a 10-year risk of 10% or greater. Risk factors includes high total cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. Recommendations are available for public comments on the USPSTF website until Jan. 25, 2016. ( Source: Reuters)
  • December 21, 2015
    NCPIE Board member First Databank, Inc. (FDB) has published an Issue Brief on Medication Adherence. The Issue Brief covers the state of the medication adherence challenge (both clinical, financial and socioeconomic); how addressing medication adherence creates positive opportunities for patient engagement; what is currently being done and what should be done to address the issue; what novel solutions are working (for example: Meducation) and describes the work of organizations such as the National Council on Patient Information and
  • December 15, 2015
    Potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) is common in older people and can result in increased morbidity, adverse drug events, and hospitalizations. The OPTI-SCRIPT study (Optimizing Prescribing for Older People in Primary Care, a cluster-randomized controlled trial) tested the effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention for reducing PIP in primary care. Participants received an intervention incorporating academic detailing; review of medicines with web- based pharmaceutical treatment algorithms that provide recommended alternative-treatment options; and tailored
  • December 15, 2015
    More than 47,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2014, an increase of 7 percent from the previous year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase was driven largely by deaths from heroin and prescription opioids, the Associated Press reports. Almost 19,000 deaths were due to opioid painkillers, an increase of 16 percent from 2013. Deaths from heroin overdoses increased 28 percent, to about 10,500, the article notes. The rise in opioid-related deaths is due partly to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and tramadol, according to a
  • December 14, 2015
    Most prescriptions for opioid painkillers are made by the broad swath of U.S. general practitioners, not a limited group of specialists, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers found that the top 10% of opioid prescribers account for 57% of opioid prescriptions, a rate comparable to that found in the Medicare data for prescribers of all drugs. Most prescriptions for opioid painkillers are made by the broad swath of U.S. general practitioners, not by a limited group
  • December 9, 2015
    Animal Health Literacy means timely information for the benefit of all animals and their humans. With continuous communication and outreach, the US Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) strives to enhance the public trust, promote safe and effective use of the animal health products the Agency regulates, and share scientific endeavors. • Advice to Dog Owners Whose Pets Take NSAIDsAll Creatures Great and Small: Properly Medicate Them All
  • December 8, 2015
    The week of December 6-12, 2015 has been designated as National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). The week will be marked with educational and promotional activities nationwide. NIVW began a decade ago to recognize the importance of annual influenza vaccination and to promote greater use of the influenza vaccine in December, January, and subsequent months. As of November 13, about 133 million doses of 2015-2016 seasonal influenza vaccine had been distributed across the country.
  • December 4, 2015
    Slightly more than one-third (35%) of adults reported ever using marijuana in 2014, according to data from a nationally representative consumer panel survey. Among those adults, smoking was reported as the most prevalent mode of marijuana use. A majority of users reported smoking joints (89%), around one-half reported using bongs, water pipes, or hookahs (49%) or bowls or pipes (48%), and one-fourth (25%) smoked marijuana in blunts. Other modes of marijuana use included ingesting marijuana in edibles or drinks (30%) and vaporizing marijuana (10%).
  • December 1, 2015

    NCPIE serves as co-editor for a monthly column in Pharmacy Today (American Pharmacists Association) The column is entitled “One-to-One” and is intended to help develop pharmacists’ medication communication and counseling skills to promote safe and appropriate medicine use.

  • November 30, 2015
    It is difficult for patients to clearly understand the risks and benefits of the drugs they are prescribed despite this being a first step toward informed decisions and shared decision-making with health care professionals. In this article, the problems and potential of pharmacy leaflets as a nearly ubiquitous but often overlooked means of communicating drug information to patients are discussed. (JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 30, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.6656)