News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • January 4, 2005
    The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) reports that despite the perception that technology is the panacea that will improve patient safety and reduce medication errors, nearly 20 percent of hospital and health system medication errors reported to USP’s MEDMARX SM program in 2003 involved computerization or automation. However, facilities that have implemented computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) reported fewer harmful errors. According to the 2003 data, automated dispensing devices (ADDs) were implicated in almost 9,000 medication error events


  • December 23, 2004
    Results from the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey which is overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, and conducted by the University of Michigan, indicate an almost 7 percent decline of any illicit drug use in the past month by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders combined from 2003 to 2004. The Monitoring the Future survey is designed to measure drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students nationwide. The survey noted some areas that raise concern — for example, an increase in
  • December 21, 2004
    The FDA today released the following statement on NIH halting a clinical trial involving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in patients at risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with the National Institutes of Health to review the available scientific information on naproxen following the decision of the National Institute on Aging to halt a clinical trial studying non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in patients at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Preliminary information from the study showed some evidence of
  • December 20, 2004
    NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences announces the launch of TAKING MEDICINES, part of the NIH SeniorHealth Web site. Developed for an older audience, TAKING MEDICINES features easy-to-understand information on safe medication usage, how new medicines are developed, side effects and drug interactions, managing medicines and the safe use of medicines, personalized medicine, and more. TAKING MEDICINES also features video clips and quizzes presented in a user-friendly format that contains a very limited amount of text on
  • December 16, 2004
    Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, has launched a public education campaign and free website designed to help consumers save money on medicines. The reports compare a variety of prescription drugs on price, effectiveness, and safety to help consumers and prescribers identify the most effective and affordable medicines. The first three drugs addressed are for treating cholesterol, heartburn,and arthritis pain ( among about 20 classes of drugs to be posted by the magazine on the web site).
  • December 6, 2004
    The Nation’s medicine cabinets are more crowded than ever, with almost half of all people taking at least one prescription medicine and one in six taking three or more medications, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) annual check-up on Americans' health. The report, Health, United States 2004 presents the latest health data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics and dozens of other Federal health agencies, academic and professional health associations, and
  • November 18, 2004
    Five years after a groundbreaking Institute of Medicine (IOM) report focused attention on medical errors in hospitals, Americans say that they do not believe that nation’s quality of care has improved. Four in 10 (40%) people say the quality of health care has gotten worse in the past five years, while one in six (17%) say the quality of care has gotten better and nearly four in 10 (38%) say it has stayed the same, according to a new survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the
  • November 16, 2004
    Developed in collaboration with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, Educate Before you Medicate addresses the educational needs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension clientele in an effort to provide information on medication use and safety. Program materials enable Cooperative Extension agents to address the importance of medication compliance, speaking confidently to healthcare providers about medicines; the importance of supplying all health care providers a complete medical history with all prescription and over-the-counter
  • November 16, 2004
    With the abundance of conflicting information available about dietary supplements, it is more important than ever to talk with your doctor and other health care providers to help you sort the reliable information from the questionable. This brochure, available as a PDF, was collaboratively prepared by the Center for Food and Nutrition, FDA, NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, NCPIE and nearly a dozen other national organizations.
  • November 15, 2004
    The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, with grant support from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a NCPIE member, has produced A Parent’s Guide to … Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse. The brochure resents information in a question & answer format, and includes advice on what parents can do to prevent drug abuse, and how to recognize and help teens who are using drugs.