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

Posted 2 days 6 hours ago 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 2 days 6 hours ago 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 5 days ago 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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Common Food Nutrient Tied to Risky Blood Clotting

Posted 6 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 24, 2017 – A nutrient in meat and eggs may conspire with gut bacteria to make the blood more prone to clotting, a small study suggests. The nutrient is called choline. Researchers found that when they gave 18 healthy volunteers choline supplements, it boosted their production of a chemical called TMAO. That, in turn, increased their blood cells' tendency to clot. But the researchers also found that aspirin might reduce that risk. TMAO is short for trimethylamine N-oxide. It's produced when gut bacteria digest choline and certain other substances. Past studies have linked higher TMAO levels in the blood to heightened risks of blood clots, heart attack and stroke, said Dr. Stanley Hazen, the senior researcher on the new study. These findings, he said, give the first direct evidence that choline revs up TMAO production in the human gut, which then makes platelets (a type of ... Read more

Related support groups: Aspirin, Ischemic Stroke, Heart Attack, Excedrin, Transient Ischemic Attack, Aggrenox, Myocardial Infarction, Alka-Seltzer, Fiorinal, Excedrin Migraine, Arthritis Pain, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Ecotrin, Fiorinal with Codeine, Bayer Aspirin, Arthritis Pain Formula, Soma Compound, Norgesic, Excedrin Extra Strength, Norgesic Forte

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

Posted 10 days ago 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 10 days ago 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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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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Keys to Heart Disease Care: Communication and Trust

Posted 4 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 3, 2017 – People with heart disease may fare better when they feel they can trust and talk to their doctor, two new studies suggest. In one study, researchers found that heart patients who thought their doctors were good communicators were more likely to take aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs. They were also less likely to land in the ER. In the other study, patients were more apt to take their blood pressure medication if they generally trusted the medical profession. It's no secret that communication and trust are important in any doctor-patient relationship, according to Dr. Victor Okunrintemi, the lead researcher on the communication study. What's not clear is how those things affect heart patients' health, said Okunrintemi, who is based at Baptist Health South Florida in Miami. The new findings, he said, don't prove that doctors can keep their patients out of ... Read more

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Can Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Lower Cancer Death Risk?

Posted 4 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 3, 2017 – Millions of Americans take low-dose aspirin every day for heart health. In doing so, they may also slightly lower their risk of dying from several cancers, a large new study suggests. Researchers found that among more than 130,000 U.S. adults, those who regularly used aspirin were 7 percent to 11 percent less likely to die of cancer over the next few decades. The risks of dying from colon, breast, prostate and – for men – lung cancer were all lower among regular aspirin users, compared to non-users, the findings showed. The findings add to evidence that aspirin has cancer-fighting abilities, the researchers said. But they also stressed that people should not start popping a daily aspirin in the hopes of avoiding cancer. There is strong evidence, from research in general, that low-dose aspirin may lower the risk of colon cancer, said Dr. Ernest Hawk, a ... 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

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Are Blood Thinners Overused in Patients With Irregular Heartbeat?

Posted 17 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 – Many people living with the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation may be taking unneeded blood thinners, a new study suggests. These blood thinners, which include aspirin, Plavix and warfarin, are believed to reduce the risk of stroke that can come with atrial fibrillation. But for many atrial fibrillation patients with a low stroke risk, the medications might actually increase both bleeding and stroke risk, researchers reported. The way most doctors decide whether a patient needs a blood thinner is by using a simple score called CHADS2, which assigns points to patients based on age and other medical risks. A score of 2 is usually needed to recommend a blood thinner, the researchers explained. But, "people are realizing that the CHADS2 scores are putting too many people above the threshold – it's pretty easy to get a 2," explained study author ... Read more

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Opioid Painkillers and Xanax or Valium a Deadly Mix: Study

Posted 15 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2017 – Mixing opioid painkillers with common anxiety and sleep medications is a prescription for a deadly overdose, a new U.S. study shows. Of all fatal overdoses from narcotic medications, nearly 30 percent also involved benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Klonopin and Valium, the researchers said. "It's not news that this combination is not a good one, but despite being well known, it's gone up over time, and more people are ending up in the hospital because of it," said lead researcher Dr. Eric Sun. "Patients and doctors really need to think twice about this combination." When patients take benzodiazepines along with narcotic painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, the mix lowers the threshold for an overdose, said Sun. He is an assistant professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University. Although this study cannot ... Read more

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Stent Patients Face Higher Risk of Death After Bleeding, Clots

Posted 15 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2017 – More than a year after getting stents to prop open their clogged arteries, some patients are still at increased risk of death if they suffer either blockages or bleeding events, researchers report. The researchers added that their findings highlight the need to identify which patients are more likely to benefit from prolonged anti-clotting treatment after stenting – and which are not. "Since our analysis found that the development of both ischemic [decreased blood flow] and bleeding events portend a particularly poor overall prognosis, we conclude that we must be thoughtful when prescribing any treatment... that may include bleeding risk," said study lead author Dr. Eric Secemsky. He is a fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital's division of cardiology. For the study, the researchers tracked long-term risks among people who had ischemia or bleeding events ... Read more

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7 in 10 U.S. Workplaces Hit by Opioid Abuse: Survey

Posted 10 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017 – Prescription drug abuse has seeped into the American workplace, with 70 percent of businesses saying it affects their workers, a new survey reveals. The National Safety Council report also found that while 71 percent of employers believe that abuse of opioid prescription painkillers is a disease that requires treatment, 65 percent also consider it a justifiable reason to fire a worker. "Employers must understand that the most dangerously misused drug today may be sitting in employees' medicine cabinets," said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the safety council. "Even when they are taken as prescribed, prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards on the job. We hope these findings prompt employers to take the lead on this emerging issue so that workplaces can be as safe as possible," she added in a safety council news release. But ... Read more

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