News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • April 26, 2016
    Medicines no longer being used may pose grave and unnecessary dangers to families and the people visiting their homes. In addition to reducing potential harm from use of expired or use of these medicines in the wrong hands, an important effect of National Take Back Day is that it helps to divert medicines from entering the environment and the potential environmental impact of disposing unused medicines in household trash, or by flushing. FDA, other Federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are studying medicine in the
  • April 22, 2016
    Maine is the second state to require e-prescribing for controlled substances. Such a mandate took effect in New York March 27. “An Act To Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program,” requires Maine prescriber participation in the Prescription Monitoring Program and sets limits for the strength and duration of opioid prescriptions, beginning January 2017. The law also calls for prescribers to undergo addiction training every two years.
  • April 21, 2016
    Consumers who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are unaware of the risks related to using these pain medications, according to a new survey. About 58% of those surveyed recognize that there are risks associated with taking NSAIDs, but only 27% of people surveyed are aware of Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recommendation to use the lowest effective NSAID dose for the shortest duration possible. The survey also found that 62% of people experienced at least one side effect.
  • April 20, 2016
    Opioid abuse could be costing U.S. employers up to $8 billion annually, according to “The Opioid Crisis in America’s Workforce,” a report by the benefits firm Castlight Health. Employees who abuse opioids cost employers almost twice as much in healthcare expenses on average, compared with workers who don’t abuse opioids, the report found. The average healthcare cost for employees who abuse opioids is $19,450, compared with $10,853 for employees who do not abuse opioids. Castlight recommends employers, especially those with large and diverse workforces, analyze where lower back
  • April 18, 2016
    A new study offers further evidence that using proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to alleviate conditions such as heartburn and acid reflux may seriously damage the kidneys. Tapping into Department of Veterans Affairs national databases, researchers identified 170,000 new users of PPIs and tracked them for 5 years. By the end of the study period, 15% of the PPI users had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. By comparison, the condition was confirmed in only 11% of 20,000 first-time users of histamine H2 receptor blockers—another class of drugs used to
  • April 13, 2016
    The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force finalized its guidelines on the use of aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer. The task force now recommends that people between the ages of 50-59 who are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and do not have an elevated risk of bleeding should consider low- dose aspirin for the primary prevention of both CVD and colorectal cancer. For adults 60-69 the decision to start on a low-dose aspirin regimen should be made on a case-by-case basis. (Source: USPSTF publishes
  • April 11, 2016
    In 2012, nearly 6,000 children aged 0 through 4 were hospitalized and another 55,000 were treated and released from U.S. emergency rooms for medication poisoning (Health Care Utilization Project, National Inpatient Sample and National Emergency Department Sample, 2012). These poisonings resulted in $154 million in medical spending and $14 million in parent work losses (CSN EDARC analysis). Nearly all emergency department visits to young children (95 percent) are a result of unsupervised children getting into medication; only five percent of these visits
  • April 7, 2016
    Many of today’s important medications are biological products. Biological products are made from living organisms. The material they are made from can come from many sources, including humans, animals and microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast. Biological products are manufactured through biotechnology, derived from natural sources or, in some cases, produced synthetically. Biological products are among the medications used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, low white blood cell counts, inflammatory bowel disease, skin conditions such as psoriasis and
  • April 4, 2016
  • April 4, 2016
    Arizona Republic/AZCentral