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An opioid is a chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The receptors in these two organ systems mediate both the beneficial effects and the side effects of opioids.
Viewpoints: Shop around for health coverage; 'gaming' Obamacare; FDA and painkillers

Viewpoints: Shop around for health coverage; 'gaming' Obamacare; FDA and painkillers

My colleagues Margot Sanger-Katz and Amanda Cox wrote recently that shopping around for the best price can be crucial for people renewing their coverage on the health insurance exchanges this fall. [More]
AAN releases new position statement on opioids for chronic non-cancer pain

AAN releases new position statement on opioids for chronic non-cancer pain

According to a new position statement from the American Academy of Neurology, the risk of death, overdose, addiction or serious side effects with prescription opioids outweigh the benefits in chronic, non-cancer conditions such as headache, fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain. [More]
Thirteen research projects to explore nondrug approaches to manage pain, other health conditions

Thirteen research projects to explore nondrug approaches to manage pain, other health conditions

Thirteen research projects totaling approximately $21.7 million over 5 years will explore nondrug approaches to managing pain and related health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug abuse, and sleep issues. The effort seeks to enhance options for the management of pain and associated problems in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families. [More]
Teens around the world frequently use OTC and prescription medications without doctor's order

Teens around the world frequently use OTC and prescription medications without doctor's order

Adolescents around the world are frequently using over-the-counter and prescription medications without a doctor's order, a risky practice that can lead to overuse and abuse and is often continued into adulthood, reveals a new review in the Journal of Adolescent Health. [More]
KemPharm to initiate clinical trials in Canada for lead product candidate KP201

KemPharm to initiate clinical trials in Canada for lead product candidate KP201

KemPharm, Inc., a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of proprietary new molecular entity (NME) prodrugs, announced today that it received a No Objection Letter (NOL) from Health Canada to begin clinical trials in Canada for its lead product candidate KP201 (benzhydrocodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen) [More]
Catecholamine polymorphism influences opioid use

Catecholamine polymorphism influences opioid use

The catechol-O-methyltransferase rs4680 single nucleotide polymorphism could affect postoperative opioid consumption, study findings show. [More]
Adding common epilepsy drug to morphine can result in better pain control, say IU researchers

Adding common epilepsy drug to morphine can result in better pain control, say IU researchers

Adding a common epilepsy drug to a morphine regimen can result in better pain control with fewer side effects. Moreover, the combination can reduce the dosage of the opioid needed to be effective, according to a team of pain researchers at Indiana University. [More]
MOVANTIK tablets get FDA approval for treatment of OIC in patients with chronic, non-cancer pain

MOVANTIK tablets get FDA approval for treatment of OIC in patients with chronic, non-cancer pain

Nektar Therapeutics reported today that partner AstraZeneca today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved MOVANTIK (naloxegol) tablets as the first once-daily oral peripherally-acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist (PAMORA) medication for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC), in adult patients with chronic, non-cancer pain. [More]
Study: High-dose prescribing increases by 23% in Canada

Study: High-dose prescribing increases by 23% in Canada

High-dose opioid prescribing increased by 23 per cent in Canada between 2006 and 2011, despite clinical guidelines recommending that most patients should avoid high-doses of these drugs, according to new research. [More]
FDA approves Contrave extended-release tablets for chronic weight management

FDA approves Contrave extended-release tablets for chronic weight management

Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. jointly announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Contrave® extended-release tablets as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition. [More]
Expert creates new evidence-based guideline for managing sickle cell disease

Expert creates new evidence-based guideline for managing sickle cell disease

An expert panel has created a new evidence-based guideline for managing sickle cell disease (SCD), with a strong recommendation for the use of the drug hydroxyurea and transfusion therapy for many individuals with SCD, although high-quality evidence is limited, with few randomized clinical trials conducted for this disease, according to an article in the September 10 issue of JAMA. [More]
Review of clinical trials based on administering antidepressants for chronic postsurgical pain

Review of clinical trials based on administering antidepressants for chronic postsurgical pain

After a systematic review of clinical trials based on administering antidepressants for acute and chronic postsurgical pain, researchers have concluded that more trials are needed to determine whether these drugs should be prescribed for postsurgical pain on a regular basis. [More]

Viewpoints: Medicare no longer 'busting' the budget; a 'nightmare' trying to get coverage in D.C.

You're looking at the biggest story involving the federal budget and a crucial one for the future of the American economy. Every year for the last six years in a row, the Congressional Budget Office has reduced its estimate for how much the federal government will need to spend on Medicare in coming years. [More]
Low dose of opioids including methadone effective for treatment of testosterone suppression

Low dose of opioids including methadone effective for treatment of testosterone suppression

Treatment for opioid addiction tampers with the testosterone levels of male but not female opioid users, McMaster University research has shown. [More]
Researchers focus on how exposure to opioids may alter expression of OPRM1 gene

Researchers focus on how exposure to opioids may alter expression of OPRM1 gene

Some infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) secondary to in-utero opioid exposure have a more difficult time going through withdrawal than others, but the underlying reasons are not well understood. [More]
New therapeutic drug may prevent respiratory depression in patients taking opioid medication

New therapeutic drug may prevent respiratory depression in patients taking opioid medication

People taking prescription opioids to treat moderate to severe pain may be able to breathe a little easier, literally. [More]
Acetyl fentanyl is more potent and dangerous than heroin

Acetyl fentanyl is more potent and dangerous than heroin

Emergency physicians should expect "an upswing in what on the surface appear to be heroin overdoses," but are actually overdoses tied to acetyl fentanyl, an opiate that is mixed into street drugs marketed as heroin. [More]
State highlights: Calif. hospital bid draws scrutiny; hospital house calls

State highlights: Calif. hospital bid draws scrutiny; hospital house calls

Prime Healthcare Services Inc., a hospital chain that has come under fire for billing and patient privacy issues, is facing opposition over its potential acquisition of six California hospitals, including two medical centers in Los Angeles County. On Friday, hospital workers, union representatives and elected officials protested against Prime outside St. Vincent Medical Center near downtown Los Angeles, one of the six hospitals put up for sale this year by the Daughters of Charity Health System (Garland, 8/15). [More]
Study reports rising prevalence of chronic opioid use by SSDI recipients

Study reports rising prevalence of chronic opioid use by SSDI recipients

More than 40 percent of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients take opioid pain relievers, while the prevalence of chronic opioid use is over 20 percent and rising, reports a study in the September issue of Medical Care. [More]
Postoperative 'doctor shopping' linked to higher narcotic use among orthopaedic patients

Postoperative 'doctor shopping' linked to higher narcotic use among orthopaedic patients

"Doctor shopping," the growing practice of obtaining narcotic prescriptions from multiple providers, has led to measurable increases in drug use among postoperative trauma patients. [More]