News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • 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
  • April 21, 2008
    New guides that compare the benefits, risks, and price estimates of rheumatoid arthritis drugs are now available from the Effective Health Care program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ. The guide for consumers, Rheumatoid Arthritis Medicines, A Guide for Adults, and the guide for clinicians,
  • March 26, 2008
    Many people have trouble keeping track of their medicines. A pill card is a simple, visual way to show all of the medicines that a person needs to take on a regular basis. The pill card uses pictures and simple phrases to show each medicine, its purpose, how much to take, and when to take it. It is easier to understand than the complicated information and instructions that typically come with medicines. This 10-page guide, prepared under contract for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), provides step-by-step instructions for creating a pill
  • March 25, 2008
    Drug Topics
  • March 17, 2008
    The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today signed a formal agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to help protect the nation’s fish and aquatic resources from the improper disposal of medication. The campaign — dubbed “SMARxT DISPOSAL” — will inform people on how to safely dispose of medicines in the trash, and highlight the environmental threat posed from flushing medicines down the toilet. APhA, PhRMA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say these small steps can make a huge difference:
  • March 11, 2008
    Today 24 million people have Alzheimer’s worldwide. This will quadruple to 100 million by 2050. The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age, and currently, there are no therapies to prevent or cure this fatal disease. The Alliance for Aging Research released the four “pocket films” — tools to build broad awareness about the disease and its consequences — at a briefing in Washington, DC. The films are written and directed by noted author and Alzheimer’s Disease lecturer David Shenk and narrated by the well known actor, David Hyde Pierce. Titles of the
  • February 27, 2008
    Recently published research in a study from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine has found that nearly 50 percent of patients taking antihypertensive drugs in three community health centers were unable to accurately name a single one of their medications listed in their medical chart. That number climbed to 65 percent for patients with low health literacy. The study was published in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and looked at 119 patients, average age 55; from community health