News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • May 25, 2016
    A new study in JAMA Cardiology suggests that some patients do not discuss their adherence to medications with their cardiologists. After administering questionnaires to both patients and physicians at two academic and two community-based cardiology practices in the Chicago area, researchers found that 61% of patients rarely or never discussed adherence, 45% of whom admitted to sometimes or usually forgetting to take their medications. An additional 10% said they had missed one dose or more of medication in the past 2 weeks. About two-thirds of the
  • May 25, 2016
    The FDA today finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. Highlights of the Final Nutrition Facts Label Label Formats: Original vs. New What’s Different
  • May 24, 2016
    A program that provides systematic education and reminders in an emergency department (ED) can greatly reduce the risk of inappropriate medications being given to older patients. Researchers, who presented their work at the American Geriatrics Society 2016 Annual Scientific Meetings, discussed the EQUiPPED (Enhancing Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Veterans Discharged From the Emergency Department) program. The program is made up of a team of geriatricians, gerontologists, geriatric pharmacy specialists, and others—all working to reduce
  • May 23, 2016
    Once the stepchild of the American health care system, primary care is now the linchpin of efforts to improve the health and health care of individuals and communities and to bring down costs. Factors contributing to the demand for primary care include the coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act and an aging and growing population. But here is the problem: there is a shortage of primary care providers, already acute in some areas of the country, and it’s expected to significantly grow in the years ahead. Coupled with consumer expectations that
  • May 17, 2016
    Electronic medical record (EMR) systems, defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as “an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization,” have the potential to provide substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations and improve the quality of patient care and safety. Nevertheless, despite these myriad benefits, the possibility of medical error or misinformation persists.
  • May 12, 2016
    FDA, which relies heavily on user-fee programs to review prescription drugs in an expeditious fashion, may adopt a similar framework to tap industry financial support for the OTC drug evaluation process. Currently, hundreds of thousands of OTC medications—including analgesics, cough and cold treatments, and antiseptics—are marketed through “monographs” without being sanctioned by FDA. Lack of funding and staffing, meanwhile, have slowed finalization of these monographs, giving consumers access to OTC drugs that have yet to be cleared as safe and
  • May 11, 2016
    FDA is warning that compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada, and generics). These uncontrollable urges were reported to have stopped when the medicine was discontinued or the dose was reduced. These impulse-control problems are rare, but they may result in harm to the patient and others if not recognized. Although pathological gambling is listed as a reported side effect in the current aripiprazole drug labels, this
  • May 9, 2016
    SAMHSA’s fifth annual National Prevention Week, “Strong As One. Stronger Together,” May 15-21, 2016, is dedicated to increasing public awareness and prevention of mental and/or substance use disorders. During National Prevention Week, community organizations across the country host health fairs, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. This year’s theme - Strong as One, Stronger Together -recognizes that one person can make a positive difference in their community, but when we all
  • May 6, 2016
    Canadian researchers have identified gender as the primary non-medical factor affecting whether older adults are prescribed drugs that can be dangerous for their demographic. Reporting in Age and Ageing, the team from the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that women aged 65 years and older were as much as 23% more likely than men their age to be prescribed drugs considered inappropriate for them. “For men, being married or in a high income bracket reduced the risk of receiving inappropriate prescriptions,” said lead investigator Steve Morgan, a
  • May 6, 2016
    The American Cancer Society (ACS) and CVS Health unveiled a 3-year, $3.6 million effort that aims to increase the number of smoke- and tobacco-free college and university campuses in the United States. The partnership between ACS and CVS Health establishes the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative. Using funding from the CVS Health Foundation, ACS will award grants to colleges and universities in 19 states with the highest need for stronger smoke-free campus policies. In the first year, 25 grants will be awarded, while 50 awards will be given in