News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • July 9, 2008
    Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy have created a list of prescription drugs that increase the risk of falling for patients aged 65 and older who take four or more medications on a regular basis. The medications on the list cover a wide range of common prescription antidepressants, seizure medications, painkillers and more. The common denominator among them is that they all work to depress the central nervous system, which can make patients less alert and slower to react.
  • July 8, 2008
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified manufacturers of fluoroquinolone antimicrobial drugs that a Boxed Warning in the product labeling concerning the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture is necessary. The agency also: 1) determined that it is necessary for manufacturers of the drugs to provide a Medication Guide to patients about possible side effects, and 2) issued Information for Health Care Professionals today to alert health care professionals to the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture in patients taking these
  • June 23, 2008
    AHRQ released a new pair of plain-language guides to compare medications for the treatment of osteoporosis, including clinical benefits, risks, and cost estimates. Osteoporosis Treatments That Help Prevent Broken Bones, A Guide for Women After Menopause, and Fracture Prevention Treatments for Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis, a guide for clinicians. The consumer and clinician guides include basic facts about osteoporosis (also known as low bone density) and the medications commonly used in treatment. Among the medications analyzed are six
  • June 17, 2008
    The Arizona Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, a national center for improving medication safety,* has new medication record forms available in English and Spanish. These forms can be printed and filled in by hand, or completed online and downloaded as a PDF to store on personal computers. Consumers are urged to use medication record forms to keep an up-to-date record of all the medicines and dietary supplements they take and show it to their doctor or pharmacist at each visit. This record is an important tool in routine health care,
  • June 12, 2008
    Many Search Online for Prescription Info (53%), Visit Pharm Co. Web Site (50%) According to the 11th annual national survey, “Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Medicines,” doctors' endorsement of drugs in pharmaceutical ads has little impact on consumer perception of those drugs. Seventy-five percent of consumers say a doctor’s appearance in an ad does not make an advertised medicine seem more effective, and 72% say it doesn't make it seem safer. The survey, conducted by Prevention, Men’s Health and Women’s
  • May 30, 2008
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory to alert patients, caregivers and health care professionals to switch to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-propelled albuterol inhalers because chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled inhalers will not be available in the United States after Dec. 31, 2008. CFC- propelled albuterol inhalers are being phased out because they are harmful to the environment by contributing to depletion of the ozone layer above the Earth’s surface. Three HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers have been approved by the FDA:
  • May 28, 2008
    Patients and their health care providers need to talk openly about all of their health care practices. This includes the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health has launched an educational campaign - Time to Talk - to encourage the discussion of CAM use. As the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on CAM, NCCAM is committed to providing evidence-based CAM information to help health professionals and the public make health care decisions.
  • May 28, 2008
    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released Your Guide to Coumadin®/Warfarin Therapy. This 20-page, easy-to-read patient brochure, available in English and Spanish, explains what patients should expect and watch out for while undergoing Coumadin®/warfarin therapy. This brochure educates patients about their medication therapy and potentially dangerous side effects, explains how to communicate effectively with their health care providers and provides tips for lifestyle modifications. It also
  • May 14, 2008
    For the first time, it appears that more than half of all insured Americans are taking prescription medicines regularly for chronic health problems, a study shows. The most widely used drugs are those to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol — problems often linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The numbers were gathered last year by Medco Health Solutions Inc., which manages prescription benefits for about one in five Americans. The report notes that Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country. But it was
  • April 30, 2008
    In one-on-one interviews with 700 Americans, roughly 23 percent reported loaning their prescription medications to someone else, and 27 percent reported borrowing prescription medications. The medications most frequently shared (loaned or borrowed) were allergy drugs like Allegra (25 percent), followed by pain medications like Darvoset and OxyContin (22 percent); and antibiotics like amoxicillin (21 percent). Seven percent of those interviewed said they shared mood-altering drugs like Paxil, Zoloft, Ritalin and Valium. A little more than 6