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Amphetamines Polluting Some Urban Streams: Study

Posted 25 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 25, 2016 – Medications and illegal drugs are polluting streams in and around at least one major U.S. city, new research reveals. Scientists say this pollution comes with ecological consequences – areas in some streams have high enough concentrations of the stimulant amphetamine to alter the bottom of the aquatic food web. "Around the world, treated and untreated wastewater entering surface waters contains pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs that originate from human consumption and excretion, manufacturing processes, or improper disposal," study author Sylvia Lee said in a Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies news release. "We were interested in revealing how amphetamine exposure influences the small plants and animals that play a large role in regulating the health of streams," said Lee. She conducted the research when she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Cary ... Read more

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U.S. DEA Denies Request to Ease Federal Pot Rules

Posted 11 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 11, 2016 – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has refused the request of two former state governors to ease marijuana's restrictive classification under current drug laws. The DEA said it based its decision largely on information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA previously concluded that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," according to National Public Radio (NPR). "This decision isn't based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it's not," DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg said in the NPR report. The request – initially proposed in 2011 – sought to have marijuana reclassified from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. Schedule I drugs are considered drugs "with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for ... Read more

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What a Change in DEA's Pot Rules Might Mean for Medical Research

Posted 11 May 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 10, 2016 – Most doctors approach medical marijuana with a great deal of uncertainty, because drug laws have hindered researchers' ability to figure out what pot can and can't do for sick patients. That could soon change. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is weighing whether to loosen its classification of marijuana, which would remove many restrictions on its use in medical research. If that occurs, doctors could start getting answers to the questions they regularly receive from patients regarding marijuana's clinical benefits. "I am asked as a practicing doctor even in a rural area about medical marijuana use, and I want to make sure I can give patients advice that's evidence-based," said Dr. Robert Wergin, board chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "We need those kinds of studies to help us give informed advice to our patients who ask about it ... Read more

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Mouse Study Shows Cocaine Ravages Brain Cells

Posted 19 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 18, 2016 – In mice, high doses of cocaine cause brain cells to eat themselves, researchers report. The Johns Hopkins University scientists also found such destruction in the brain cells of mice whose mothers were given cocaine while pregnant. However, they also identified a possible antidote to this process. In their laboratory work, the investigators found that high doses of cocaine – the powerful and addictive stimulant – trigger out-of-control autophagy, a process in which cells digest their own insides. Autophagy is typically a normal and vital process that helps keep cells clean. "We performed 'autopsies' to find out how cells die from high doses of cocaine," said Dr. Solomon Snyder, a professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins' School of Medicine in Baltimore. "That information gave us immediate insight into how we might use a known compound to interfere with that ... Read more

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Not Enough Needle Exchange Programs Outside Cities: Study

Posted 10 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2015 – Injection drug users in rural and suburban areas have less access to needle exchange programs than those in cities do, even though addiction rates are rising in non-urban areas, a new study shows. Providing injection drug users with new, sterile needles and syringes in exchange for used ones reduces their risk of contracting or spreading infections such as HIV and hepatitis C, the researchers explained. Many needle exchange programs also provide naloxone, a medication that can reverse overdoses from heroin and narcotic painkillers. The researchers found that 69 percent of needle exchange programs in the United States were in cities, with only 20 percent in rural areas and 9 percent in suburban areas. The range of services provided by the programs in different locations also varied. For example, only 37 percent in rural areas offered naloxone, compared with 61 ... Read more

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Magnetic Brain Stimulation Might Treat Cocaine Addiction

Posted 4 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2015 – Stimulating part of the brain with magnetic pulses may offer the first therapeutic treatment for cocaine addiction, a small new study suggests. Though the findings are preliminary, patients addicted to cocaine reportedly experienced fewer cravings for the drug after undergoing eight sessions of the experimental treatment over a month. The findings were published Dec. 3 in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology. An estimated 1.4 million Americans suffer from cocaine addiction, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Unlike smoking, alcoholism and other addictions, however, cocaine addiction has no approved treatments, said study co-author Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, chief of clinical psychoneuroendocrinology and neuropsychopharmacology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "Addiction is a brain disease, not so different from schizophrenia and ... Read more

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Retail Prices of Dermatology Drugs Skyrocket

Posted 25 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25, 2015 – Patients using prescription creams, gels, sprays and pills for skin conditions may shell out substantially more at the pharmacy than they did just six years ago, a new study suggests. Between 2009 and 2015, retail prices of brand-name dermatologic drugs rose 401 percent, on average, study authors reported Nov. 25 in JAMA Dermatology. Even generics have succumbed to price inflation, up 279 percent between 2011 and 2014, based on the drugs surveyed. Price increases for skin treatments far outpaced the general inflation rate of 11 percent during the six-year study period, the researchers said. "Cancer drugs were the worst in terms of the numbers" – up 1,240 percent or nearly $11,000 over the six-year study period – primarily because of two medicines, said Dr. Steven Rosenberg, voluntary professor of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of ... Read more

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