News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • 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
    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 29, 2016
  • 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
  • June 21, 2016
  • June 15, 2016
    FDA has strengthened the existing warning about the risk of acute kidney injury for the type 2 diabetes medicines canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet—Janssen Pharms) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga, Xigduo XR—AstraZeneca). Based on recent reports, the agency has revised the warnings in the drug labels to include information about acute kidney injury and added recommendations to minimize this risk. From March 2013 to October 2015, FDA received reports of 101 confirmable cases of acute kidney injury, some requiring hospitalization and dialysis, with canagliflozin or
  • June 9, 2016
    The California End of Life Option Act goes into effect on June 9, 2016, making California the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted dying. Under the law, terminally ill adults in the state who have less than 6 months to live can obtain a physician’s prescription for a lethal dose of “aid- in-dying” drugs. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the controversial legislation last October. The law requires that a patient requesting lethal drugs make three formal requests to their attending physician (one written and two oral, 15 days