News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • October 10, 2017

    For parents, the trend of unwinding with a regular evening glass of wine or cocktail can have a negative impact on both their own health and their children. “Our world has changed tremendously in the last 10 years as far as drugs and alcohol are concerned,”

  • October 2, 2017

    Manufacturers of fast-acting opioids will have to fund voluntary training for healthcare professionals who prescribe the drug, including education on safe prescribing practices and non-opioid alternatives, including principles related to the acute and chronic pain management; non-pharmacologic treatments for pain; and pharmacologic treatments for pain (both non-opioid analgesic and opioid analgesic).  For the first time, this training will also be made available to other healthcare professionals who are involved in the management of patients with pain, including pharmacists and nurses, which is in addition to prescribers of opioid analgesics

  • October 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.

  • September 28, 2017

    Nearly 14 million Americans, most of whom are 65 years of age or older, have low vision or are blind, and for these individuals, not being able to clearly read a prescription label can result in unnecessary injury or even death.  The goal of the National Council on Disability (NCD)’s “See to My Safety” public awareness campaign is to promote the knowledge of the availability of best practices regarding accessible prescription medication labels. The campaign includes an informational brochure and an audio public service announcement (PSA), as well as regular distribution of news of pharmacies voluntarily offering accessible drug labeling.

  • September 28, 2017

    Home health agencies provide services to beneficiaries who are homebound and need skilled nursing care or therapy. Approximately 12 million individuals receive home health care from more than 33,000 providers for causes including acute illness, long-term health conditions, permanent disability, or terminal illness.  Improvements among home health patients can reflect the quality of care from home health agencies.

    • In 2015, the percentage of home health patients with improvement in their ability to take medications orally was 56.3%, compared with 46% in 2010.
    • In 2013, the achievable benchmark for improvement in taking drugs correctly by mouth was 60.7%.
    • Based on current trends, the total population of home health patients with improvement in their ability to take drugs correctly by mouth is estimated to reach the benchmark in 2017.

    (Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report Chartbook on patient safety. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; July 2017. AHRQ Pub. No. 17-0037-EF.)

  • September 26, 2017

    The FDA joined Interpol in clamping down on over 500 websites engaged in illegal sales of potentially dangerous, unapproved versions of prescription medicines — including opioids, antibiotics and injectable epinephrine products to Americans. The FDA’s effort was part of a global operation led by Interpol to combat the unlawful sale and distribution of illegal and potentially counterfeit or substandard medical products on the Internet.  At the center of the initiative were identification of the makers and distributors of illegal prescription drugs and removal of those products from the supply chain. Along with health hazards, illegal online pharmacies can pose other risks to consumers, including credit card fraud, identity theft and computer viruses, the FDA reported.

  • September 21, 2017

    An estimated 6.2 million people aged 12 or older reported misusing psychotherapeutic drugs in 2016, reports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The agency defines misuse as nontherapeutic use of a prescription medication at least once in the past month and collects data on four main categories of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs – pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Of those four categories, prescription pain relievers were the most commonly misused by people aged 12 or older.

  • September 19, 2017

    Pharmacists who provide medication therapy management or medication reconciliation services for patients who take more than one psychotropic drug may turn to drug monographs and drug-drug interaction (DDI) references to ensure safe use. The trouble is, DDI documentation across three major references - Clinical Pharmacology, Micromedex, and Lexicomp - is inconsistent, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. Researchers extracted entries for severe or major psychotropic DDIs for 102 psychotropic drugs including central nervous system stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, anxiolytics-sedatives-hypnotics, and lithium. Overall, the team found 2,155 unique severe or major psychotropic DDIs listed among the references. However, only 371 DDIs were included in all three. Of the remaining DDIs, 543 were included in only two references, and 1,241 were included in just one reference. 

  • September 18, 2017

    Generic medications are just as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts, and often cost less.  While nearly 9 in 10 prescriptions filled are for generics, many people have questions about whether they are really as good as the name brand medications and, if so, why there is a cost savings. To help educate patients about FDA’s rigorous review process, the economics of pricing, and related issues, FDA offers a range of educational materials, including videos, graphics, fact sheets, and related resources. 

  • September 13, 2017

    Older adults are the largest consumers of over the counter (OTC) medications. Of the older adults who are at risk of a major adverse drug event, more than 50% of these events involve an OTC medication. OTC product use in older adults can be harmful. Results of a small study of patient interviews of participants aged 65 years or older showed that 95% misuse these products, and OTC misuse can result in drug–drug, drug–disease, and drug–age interactions.