News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • July 18, 2016
    A recent study released online in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined this pattern and found the prescriptions are used and renewed more often than you might imagine, often opening the door to long-term use and dependence. Researchers analyzed the pharmacy claims of a random sample of more than 623,000 Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized in 2011. They only included people who did not have a prescription claim for opioids for at least 60 days before being hospitalized.
  • July 15, 2016
    Allowing patients to choose among different medications that do the same thing may increase the effectiveness of the selected drug and reduce possible side effects, according to a study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Participants who got to pick between two different formulations of a medication reported significantly fewer side effects after 24 hours compared with those not allowed to choose, the study found. The subjects weren’t aware that the drugs were harmless placebos.
  • July 15, 2016
    Caretakers of aging seniors may be aware of the challenges associated with managing a loved one’s daily medication regimen. Age, failing memory, and gender are among the reasons why seniors may miss their doses, according to new research. Skipping doses or not taking medication properly can have dire health consequences, and serious side effects may occur from taking medications at the wrong time or in the wrong dose, notes a HealthDay News article A study found that the difficulties of taking the right medications at the right time increased with advancing age. For
  • July 14, 2016
    Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid.1 Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids—including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin—nearly quadrupled, and over 165,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription pain medication deaths remain far too high, and in 2014, the most recent year on record, there was a sharp
  • July 12, 2016
    A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) warns that commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure. The statement provides guidance on avoiding drug–drug or drug–condition interactions for people with heart failure, including comprehensive information about particular drugs and “natural” treatments that could have serious unintended consequences for people with heart failure. AHA notes that, on average, heart failure patients have five or more separate medical conditions, and they take
  • July 7, 2016
  • July 1, 2016

    APhA Pharmacy Today

  • June 29, 2016
  • June 29, 2016
    More bad news from the U.S. drug wars: Misuse of prescription opioid painkillers by American adults more than doubled from the early 2000s to 2013, a new government study says. Rates of addiction to powerful painkillers also swelled during that time, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Survey results indicated more than 4 percent of adults reported nonmedical use of addictive opioids in 2012-2013. This means they took the drug without a prescription or more of the drug than prescribed or for longer periods or more
  • June 24, 2016
    Nearly 12 million Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription in 2015 for an opioid analgesic at a cost of $4.1 billion, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for HHS. Nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription for commonly abused opioids in 2015, and those who did received an average of five such prescriptions or refills, the report finds. “We are concerned about the high spending and the number of people receiving opioids,” said OIG’s Miriam Anderson, who led the study, which was