News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • September 1, 2017

    NCPIE serves as co-editor for a monthly column in Pharmacy Today (American Pharmacists Association) The column is entitled “One-to-One” and is intended to help develop pharmacists’ medication communication and counseling skills to promote safe and appropriate medicine use.

  • August 28, 2017

    About 1 in 8 children (8.7 million) aged 17 or younger lived in households with at least one parent who had a past-year substance use disorder (SUD), according to a new report by SAMHSA. SUDs are characterized by recurrent use of alcohol or other drugs (or both) that results in significant impairment.

  • August 25, 2017

    Diabetics who were nonadherent to their oral diabetes medications had higher medical costs and higher total health care costs compared with those who were adherent, according to a new Express Scripts study, which found that nonadherent diabetes patients last year had 1.3 times higher medical costs and 4% higher total health care expenses compared with adherent patients. Medication adherent patients had 235 fewer ER visits and 50 fewer hospitalizations per 1,000 patients.

    Health care costs for adherent patients with diabetes-related complications were 9% lower than those for individuals who were not adherent to their oral diabetes drugs.  A separate analysis found that adherence to oral diabetes drugs rose 3.6% between 2014 and 2016. The research showed that medication adherence to oral diabetes drugs was highest among commercially insured individuals aged 65 years and older at almost 75%, while those aged 20–44 years had the greatest room for improvement, with slightly less than 50% reporting adherence to oral diabetes drugs in 2016.

  • August 24, 2017

    Presented at the June 2017 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, the symposium “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Alcohol Treatment But Were Afraid To Ask: A Primer for Non-Clinicians” covers screening and diagnosis of alcohol use disorder, brief interventions, and referral to treatment, as well as the many treatment options and potential pathways through treatment.  Included: discussions of approved and experimental medications and various behavioral therapies.

  • August 23, 2017

    Since 1982, the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) has led a grassroots movement to help patients better understand their medications. 

    The NCPIE is a nonprofit organization comprising various members, including patient advocates, health professionals, public health organizations, schools of pharmacy, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and government officials. 
    These members develop programs aimed at helping consumers make educated decisions about their health and about the prescription and OTC medications that they take. The NCPIE's programs are also aimed at health care professionals. 

  • August 17, 2017

    Close to 13% of people 12 and older say they have taken an antidepressant in the last month, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The most recent number shows an increase of nearly 65% since 1999 - 2002, when 7.7% of Americans reported taking an antidepressant. In addition, females were far more likely than males to report antidepressant medication use.  See also: UPI. 

  • August 11, 2017

    A new report indicates the reasons for adult prescription drug misuse based on data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).  The report discusses the most common reasons among adults for misuse of prescription pain relievers, prescription tranquilizers, prescription stimulants, and prescription sedatives.  Findings in the report are based on 2015 NSDUH data from approximately 51,200 adults aged 18 or older.  The report covers information about use and misuse of four categories of prescription drugs: pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.

  • August 10, 2017

    Both the U.S. Senate and House passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act as part of the FDA Reauthorization ACT in a 94-1 vote. The legislation will make certain types of hearing aids available over-the-counter for Americans suffering with mild to moderate hearing impairment. It also requires the FDA to write regulations ensuring that this new category of OTC hearing aids meets the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protections as all medical devices, providing consumers the option of an FDA-regulated device at lower cost.

  • August 9, 2017

    Whether you’re settling into your sixties or heading into your ninth decade, be careful when taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbal preparations, and supplements. And if you’re caring for older loved ones, help them stay safe, too. Why the special concern? The older you get, the more likely you are to use additional medicines, which can increase the chance of harmful drug effects, including interactions. And, as you age, physical changes can affect the way medicines are handled by your body, leading to potential complications. For instance, your liver and kidneys may not work as well, which affects how a drug breaks down and leaves your body.  See below for four safety tips:

    1. Take Medicine as Prescribed—with Input from Your Health Care Provider

    2. Keep a Medication List

    3. Be Aware of Potential Drug Interactions and Side Effects

    4. Review Medications with Your Health Care Provider                                                                     

    See also: Medication Management for Older Adults.

  • August 9, 2017

    When blood pressure is high, high blood pressure (HBP) medication may be an important part of your treatment. Your healthcare provider will also likely recommend lifestyle changes along with your medication. You may even need more than one type of prescription medication to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.  Although taking medication for your high blood pressure may require some adjustments, your doctor has your best interest in mind.

    • Follow these recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life.
    • Partnering with your healthcare provider is the best way to reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health.
    • Naturopathic approaches are not considered a substitute for medications that have been carefully studied and monitored for prescription use. Natural treatments may also not work as advertised and/or interfere with other medications.
    • Be aware of how certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications, like decongestants, may react with your medications or affect your blood pressure.

    High blood pressure is a lifelong condition:  How long will you have to take your medication? Perhaps for the rest of your life. Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. Do your part starting today for yourself and for those you love.   (Source:  American Heart Association)