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Weekly Drug News Round-Up: September 14, 2016

Do Medicare Recipients Actually Take Their Blood Pressure Meds?

Seventy percent of adults over 65 have high blood pressure (140/90 or higher), but only half control it Read More...

High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause symptoms and therefore people may skip their treatments, resulting in heart attack or stroke. A 2014 analysis of over 18 million Medicare Part D enrollees in 2014 found that 26 percent either skipped doses or stopped taking their high blood pressure medication. Plus, other research shows up to a quarter of prescriptions are never even filled. Use of diuretics (water pills), a lower-income, and an African-American, Hispanic or an American Indian heritage led to higher rates of non-adherence. CDC experts state that cheaper copays -- or no copay at all -- combined with easier dosing regimens may address some of the problem.

Over-the-Counter Remedies Not Working For New 'Superlice'

Prescription lice treatments can be expensive, as most do not have generics, so check with your insurance Read More...

It’s the beginning of the school year, the time parents are most likely to be alarmed by an outbreak of head lice at school. In the past, head lice have been easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as RID or Nix. Even though many of the OTC products have lost their punch due to development of resistance by these ‘superlice’, prescription products still work. Experts now recommend that parents should turn to physicians first instead of trying to treat their children themselves with over-the-counter products. Common prescription products names include ivermectin (Sklice), malathion (Ovide), spinosad (Natroba) and benzyl alcohol (Ulesfia). Plus, check out our head lice slideshow here.

Should Docs Regularly Prescribe Naloxone With Opioid Painkillers?

The cost runs $40 to $150 for kits of two and insurers will often cover them, but may impose a co-pay Read More...

An overdose with a potent opioid painkiller doesn’t always mean someone has taken a whole bottle; maybe an elderly patient accidentally took two at the same time. A new, small survey of 60 adults raises the questions of whether doctors should prescribe the potentially life-saving antidote naloxone (Narcan, Evzio) to patients who also receive these medications, like oxycodone (Oxycontin) or acetaminophen/hydrocodone (Vicodin). Most patients who were surveyed agreed they would fill the naloxone prescription. Plus, naloxone is very safe. It reverses the effects of opioid overdoses by blocking receptors in the brain from processing the painkillers. It is not addictive, does not make you high, or relieve pain.

Many With Type 2 Diabetes Missing Out on Statins: Study

All type 2 diabetic patients over age 40 should be taking a statin Read More...

Prior research has shown that patients with type 2 diabetes -- and even those without heart disease -- have a reduced risk for heart attack and stroke if they take a cholesterol-lowering medication known as a ‘statin’. Well-known examples of statins include rosuvastatin (Crestor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), and simvastatin (Zocor). However, a recent study found that a shocking 38 percent of these patients seen in a cardiology practice were not receiving a statin drug. Experts note busy doctors and side effects may affect some of the seemingly random prescribing patterns. Plus, those prescribed statins were more likely to have heart disease risk factors.

Does Intensive Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Affect Survival? Study

The only complication that didn't seem to improve was nerve damage caused by diabetes Read More...

Can intensive treatment in type 2 diabetes make a difference in patient mortality outcomes? According to new research done in 160 Danish type 2 diabetics with microalbuminuria (the presence of small amounts of protein in the urine indicating kidney damage), the answer is a resounding yes. Intensive treatment addresses all modifiable risk factors (blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids, heart disease), includes appropriate drugs like statins for cholesterol and blood pressure treatment, and addresses behavior modification for issues like smoking and diet. The intensive treatment added 8 more years to those patients lives. After 2 decades, 38 people had died in the intensive treatment group, compared to 55 in the conventional therapy group.