News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • June 29, 2016
  • June 24, 2016
    Nearly 12 million Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription in 2015 for an opioid analgesic at a cost of $4.1 billion, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for HHS. Nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription for commonly abused opioids in 2015, and those who did received an average of five such prescriptions or refills, the report finds. “We are concerned about the high spending and the number of people receiving opioids,” said OIG’s Miriam Anderson, who led the study, which was
  • June 21, 2016
  • June 15, 2016
    FDA has strengthened the existing warning about the risk of acute kidney injury for the type 2 diabetes medicines canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet—Janssen Pharms) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga, Xigduo XR—AstraZeneca). Based on recent reports, the agency has revised the warnings in the drug labels to include information about acute kidney injury and added recommendations to minimize this risk. From March 2013 to October 2015, FDA received reports of 101 confirmable cases of acute kidney injury, some requiring hospitalization and dialysis, with canagliflozin or
  • June 9, 2016
    The California End of Life Option Act goes into effect on June 9, 2016, making California the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted dying. Under the law, terminally ill adults in the state who have less than 6 months to live can obtain a physician’s prescription for a lethal dose of “aid- in-dying” drugs. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the controversial legislation last October. The law requires that a patient requesting lethal drugs make three formal requests to their attending physician (one written and two oral, 15 days
  • June 9, 2016
    The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, and the National Consumers league (NCL) have formed a partnership to provide tools to seniors and their caregivers to stay safe when shopping for medication on the Internet. “Escalating costs for hundreds of drugs prescribed to treat chronic conditions not necessarily covered fully by Medicare make it more likely that (older adults), who often are living on fixed incomes, will turn to the Internet to look for less expensive options,” ASOP Global executive director Libby
  • June 7, 2016
    FDA has warned that people taking higher-than-recommended doses of the diarrhea medicine loperamide (Imodium) —including through abuse or misuse of the product—run the risk of serious, potentially fatal heart problems. The agency noted that the risk of these serious heart problems may also increase when high doses of loperamide, which is sold both OTC and by prescription, are taken with several kinds of medicines that interact with the antidiarrheal drug. Most of the reported serious heart problems were in people intentionally misusing and abusing high doses of
  • June 6, 2016
    The next time you reach for an over-the-counter (OTC) product to treat your upset stomach or heartburn, consider whether you should use one of the many antacids that don’t have aspirin. Why? Aspirin-containing medicines to treat heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, or upset stomach can cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, especially in some people, warns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Who’s at Higher Risk of Bleeding: Because aspirin thins the blood, FDA believes the aspirin in these combination
  • June 6, 2016
    Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor Pharmacy Times
  • June 3, 2016
    In this episode of The Healthy Children Show, Little Laura shares her top five safety tips for dosing and giving liquid medication. Remember to always use the dosing device that comes with your child’s medicine. If there is no dosing device, ask your pediatrician or pharmacist for one that should be used. Medication should not be measured in teaspoons or tablespoons, especially not spoons taken from a kitchen drawer. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)