News you can use: health & drug safety updates

2015

  • 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)
  • November 30, 2015
    Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are a readily-available and convenient solution when consumers search for relief from common ailments like aches, pains, coughs, colds, fevers, allergies and heartburn. However, OTC drugs must be used appropriately, as incorrect dosages and complications with other drugs can have negative consequences. Pharmacists are in a prime position to counsel consumers about their OTC drug choices and to ensure that they use them safely. The New York Times article by Jane E. Brody references the 2001
  • November 30, 2015
    Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are a readily-available and convenient solution when consumers search for relief from common ailments like aches, pains, coughs, colds, fevers, allergies and heartburn. However, OTC drugs must be used appropriately, as incorrect dosages and complications with other drugs can have negative consequences. Pharmacists are in a prime position to counsel consumers about their OTC drug choices and to ensure that they use them safely. The New York Times article by Jane E. Brody references the 2001
  • November 19, 2015
    The Food and Drug Administration today approved Narcan nasal spray, the first FDA-approved nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as the illegal drug heroin. Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription drug overdoses, are now the leading cause of injury death in

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