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ERs May Need to Rethink Opioid Prescription Practices

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 19, 2017 – People in U.S. emergency rooms may receive unnecessary opioid painkiller prescriptions for minor injuries such as a sprained ankle, a new study finds. This practice – which varies widely depending on what area of the country you're treated in – potentially boosts the risk that patients will become dependent on the drugs. "The substantial variation in prescribing patterns of such extremely addictive medications for minor injuries results in many thousands of pills entering the community and places patients at an increased risk of continued use and potentially addiction," said lead author Dr. M. Kit Delgado. He's an assistant professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. "It's vital that we identify and understand the root causes of this growing issue," Delgado said in a school news release. The ... Read more

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It's Often Family to the Rescue During Opioid ODs

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 17, 2017 – The tragic scenario has become far too familiar: A mother, a father or a sibling discovers the lifeless body of a loved one who has overdosed on opioids. But a new study suggests that family members may be able to play a lifesaving role in some of these instances, mostly because of increased access to an antidote that can reverse an otherwise deadly ending. Sometimes, even the victims can rescue themselves from a potentially fatal overdose. Researchers in Massachusetts looked at people who underwent training in using the antidote – known as naloxone (Narcan, Evzio) – and found that family members used it in about 20 percent of slightly over 4,000 rescue attempts. Almost all rescue attempts were successful. "Individuals who use opioids are likely to use naloxone on both friends and family" who overdose, explained study author Dr. Sarah Bagley, an assistant ... Read more

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High Rates of Hepatitis C in Pregnancy Mirror Opioid Epidemic: CDC

Posted 15 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 11, 2017 – Chalk up another potential consequence of the U.S. opioid epidemic: The prevalence of hepatitis C infections among pregnant women nearly doubled between 2009 and 2014, U.S. health officials report. Hepatitis C – which is caused most often by injection drug use – rose 89 percent nationwide among pregnant women. Increases were most notable in West Virginia and rural counties in Tennessee, areas hard-hit by the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Nationwide, 35 infants a day were exposed to the contagious liver disease, on average, study authors said. "We have seen a dramatic increase in opioid use in pregnancy and in the number of infants having drug withdrawal," said report author Dr. Stephen Patrick, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. "Taken together, this suggests that ... Read more

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Energy Drinks May Make Rare Heart Condition More Dangerous

Posted 17 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 9, 2017 – Energy drinks can be deadly for people with a certain genetic heart condition, a small study warns. Called long QT syndrome (LQTS), the condition affects 1 in 2,000 people and can cause a rapid, irregular heartbeat that can sometimes be fatal. "The potential cardiovascular risk of energy drinks continues to emerge as an important public health issue," said lead investigator Christopher Semsarian, a professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. "The population most at risk is teenagers and young adults, representing the population these drinks are most heavily marketed towards. Since energy drinks are widely available to all ages and over the counter, it is important that cardiovascular effects of these drinks are investigated," he added. Previous research has shown that energy drinks can cause serious heart problems in people without genetic heart disease, ... Read more

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Babies Born Addicted to Opioids Often Struggle With Learning

Posted 3 May 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2017 – Babies exposed to opioid painkillers in the womb are more likely to need special education services by the time they reach school age, a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found. Many infants born with an addiction to opioids – a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) – wind up lagging behind other children in school, said Dr. Mary-Margaret Fill. She's a CDC officer assigned to the Tennessee Department of Health. Fill and her colleagues found that, compared with kids without the syndrome, Tennessee children born with NAS were: 44 percent more likely to be referred for evaluation of potential developmental delays. 36 percent more likely to meet their state's criteria for educational disability. 37 percent more likely to receive help with educational and developmental difficulties. "These children were more likely to have ... Read more

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Opioid Use by Iraq, Afghanistan War Vets Mirrors Rest of U.S.: Study

Posted 28 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 – U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars use opioid painkillers at rates similar to that of the general population, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed pharmacy claims data from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. They found that 23 percent of these combat veterans were prescribed an opioid in a given year. About two-thirds took them for a short time; the rest took them for longer periods. "We found that use of opioids among veterans was characterized by use of moderate doses prescribed for fairly long periods of time," study co-author Teresa Hudson said. Hudson is a research scientist with the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. "However, chronic use among this group of veterans appeared to be lower than that of veterans who served in other time periods," Hudson added in a RTI ... Read more

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Drugs Now Involved in More Fatal U.S. Crashes Than Alcohol Alone

Posted 28 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 27, 2017 – In vehicle crashes that claim American lives, illicit drugs are now more likely to have played a role than the use of alcohol on its own, a new report says. The trend comes as more states legalize marijuana and the nation faces a troubling rise in opioid abuse and drug overdose deaths, the researchers noted. In 2015, drugs were detected in 43 percent of drivers who suffered fatal injuries, a higher percentage than cases involving alcohol alone, the report found. The report was by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org). "As drunk driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically. And many of today's impaired drivers are combining two or more substances, which has a multiplicative effect on driver impairment," Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of ... Read more

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Opioid-Related Deaths Might Be Underestimated: CDC

Posted 25 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 25, 2017 – America's prescription drug abuse epidemic may be even more deadly than expected, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. Some opioid-related deaths may be missed when people die from pneumonia and other infectious diseases spurred on by drug abuse. Their death certificates may only list the infection as the cause of their demise, explained CDC field officer Victoria Hall. That means a number of drug-related deaths are not being counted, since surveillance systems mainly track overdose deaths. "It does seem like it is almost an iceberg of an epidemic," Hall said. "We already know that it's bad, and while my research can't speak to what percent we are underestimating, we know we are missing some cases." More than half of a series of drug-related unexplained deaths in Minnesota between 2006 and 2015 listed pneumonia as the ... Read more

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FDA Medwatch Alert: Codeine and Tramadol Medicines: Drug Safety Communication - Restricting Use in Children, Recommending Against Use in Breastfeeding Women

Posted 20 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

ISSUE: FDA is restricting the use of codeine and tramadol medicines in children. These medicines carry serious risks, including slowed or difficult breathing and death, which appear to be a greater risk in children younger than 12 years, and should not be used in these children. These medicines should also be limited in some older children. Single-ingredient codeine and all tramadol-containing products are FDA-approved only for use in adults. FDA is also recommending against the use of codeine and tramadol medicines in breastfeeding mothers due to possible harm to their infants. As a result, FDA is requiring several changes to the labels of all prescription medicines containing these drugs. These new actions further limit the use of these medicines beyond the 2013 FDA restriction of codeine use in children younger than 18 years to treat pain after surgery to remove the tonsils and/or ... Read more

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Don't Give Kids Medicines With Codeine, Tramadol: FDA

Posted 20 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 20, 2017 – Parents shouldn't give their children any medications containing the narcotics codeine or tramadol, because they can cause life-threatening breathing problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday. Warning labels on medications with codeine or tramadol will be strengthened to reflect these potential dangers, the FDA said in a statement. Nursing mothers should also avoid using these drugs, since they can pass unsafe levels of opioids to their babies through their breast milk, the agency said. Children's bodies tend to process opioids more quickly than most adults, due to their smaller size. That can cause the level of narcotics in their bloodstream to rise too high and too quickly, risking overdose, the agency explained. Tramadol is a prescription drug that is only approved for adults to treat pain, the agency noted. Codeine products are ... Read more

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Don't Let Bugs Dampen Your Outdoor Fun

Posted 17 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, April 15, 2017 – If you've spent any time outdoors recently, you may have found yourself swatting away a fly or mosquito – and that means it's time to bone up on bug avoidance. "Although most bug bites are harmless, some can spread dangerous diseases like Zika virus, dengue, Lyme disease and malaria," said Dr. Lindsay Strowd, an assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. "Particularly if you're visiting areas with known insect-borne diseases, it's important to take steps to reduce your risk," Strowd said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. Here are Strowd's tips to avoid unwanted bites. Your best defense against insect bites is to cover yourself – with bug spray and clothes. Apply insect repellent with 20 to 30 percent DEET. If you're also wearing sunscreen, apply your sunscreen first, let it dry, and ... Read more

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Rehab Services Lacking in States Hit Hard by Opioids

Posted 7 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 – Opioid treatment programs for low-income Americans are in short supply in areas where they're needed the most, a new study contends. Lack of affordable access is particularly apparent across the Southeast, researchers said. The finding follows the Trump Administration's announcement last week that it would be establishing a new commission to focus on the nation's growing opioid epidemic. Opioid medications include oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicoprofen), codeine, morphine and others. Heroin is also a potent opioid. "In the midst of an escalating opioid epidemic, treatment in opioid treatment programs are almost nonexistent for low-income Americans – (meaning) Medicaid enrollees – in a majority of the country," said study lead author Amanda Abraham. She's an assistant professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia. ... Read more

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Marathon Running May Cause Short-Term Kidney Injury

Posted 28 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 – Any marathoner will tell you that the grueling 26-mile races can do a number on the hips, knees, ankles and feet. Now, a small study suggests that these tests of endurance are also tough on the kidneys. "Marathon runners demonstrate transient or reversible short-term kidney injury," said Dr. Chirag Parikh, professor of medicine at Yale University. In his study of 22 participants in the 2015 Hartford, Conn. Marathon, Parikh found that 82 percent showed acute kidney injury after the race. In this condition, the kidneys fail to filter waste from the blood. The good news is that the kidney injury seems to clear up within two days of the race, he said. "On day 2, they are all fine," Parikh said. Runners likely don't even know they've had this transient injury, Parikh said. "For the short term, I don't think they would notice anything," he said. Parikh isn't certain ... Read more

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Need More Zzzzz's?

Posted 25 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017 – A good night's sleep is often elusive, but there are things you can do to boost the odds of getting some quality shuteye, sleep experts say. The first is to have regular bed and wake times, according to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital sleep doctors Dr. Daniel Barone and Dr. Andrew Westwood. The doctors suggested going to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning, even on weekends and vacation days. That's because changes between workdays and days off may impair your sleep and how you feel during the daytime. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, they advised. Instead of coffee, tea, cola and chocolate, choose water, seltzer, unsweetened decaffeinated herbal tea and other caffeine-free beverages. It's also important to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. "Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet that ... Read more

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Do Energy Drinks Plus Booze Equal More Injuries?

Posted 21 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 – Mixing caffeine-loaded energy drinks and booze could be a recipe for trouble. That's the word from a new study that says the popular party duo ups the odds someone will get hurt. Researchers in Canada analyzed results of 13 prior studies. Most reported a higher rate of injuries when alcohol was paired with an energy drink like Red Bull or Monster Energy compared to drinking alcohol alone, they said. "Current research generally supports a relationship between consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks and an increased risk of injury," said study lead author Audra Roemer, a graduate student with the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Besides falls, car accidents and such, the researchers looked at suicidal behavior and violence. Based on the study results, Roemer said injury risk – intentional or accidental – could be several times higher for the ... Read more

Related support groups: Caffeine, Alcohol Dependence, Fioricet, Excedrin, Alert, Alcoholism, Fiorinal, Excedrin Migraine, Hangover, Cafergot, Fiorinal with Codeine, Keep Going, Esgic, Norgesic, Headache Relief, Fioricet with Codeine, Esgic-Plus, Acetaminophen/Butalbital/Caffeine, Excedrin Extra Strength, Trezix

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