News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • January 13, 2016
    Several prescription drugs are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can provide patients with comfort, dignity, and independence for a longer period of time and can encourage and assist their caregivers as well. It is important to understand that none of these medications stops the disease itself.
  • January 6, 2016
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today it approved 21 new orphan drugs to treat rare diseases in 2015, nearly half (47 percent) of all novel new drugs approved for the year. This is the second consecutive year in which the FDA approved more orphan drugs for rare diseases than any previous year in FDA history, according to John K. Jenkins, M.D., Director, Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at FDA. “The remarkable number of orphan drugs approved by FDA in 2015 underscores the progress we are making in
  • January 4, 2016
    Prescription opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, contribute to more overdose deaths than any other opioid type, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overdose deaths related to such prescription opioids increased by 9% in 2014, accounting for 813 more deaths than in 2013, indicates a CDC press release. Misuse and abuse of prescription opioid pain relievers and use of heroin are major factors contributing to the sharp rise in overdose deaths. Dependence upon or abuse of prescription opioids in the
  • January 1, 2016

    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.


  • 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