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Opioids could be dangerous, deadly at high doses

Opioids could be dangerous, deadly at high doses

Most people know that heroin is a dangerous drug, but its cousins, the legal, pharmaceutical opioids, such as codeine or hydrocodone, must be safe, right?Not so fast.Opioids—which include the illegal drug heroin as well as prescription medications, including hydrocodone (such as Vicodin), oxycodone (such as OxyContin and Percocet), morphine and codeine—can be dangerous, even deadly, at high doses. [More]
Better quality of care may reduce mortality risk in patients treated with opioid therapy for pain

Better quality of care may reduce mortality risk in patients treated with opioid therapy for pain

Better quality of care may reduce the risk of death for patients who are prescribed opioid painkillers for chronic pain, say Yale researchers. Their study, published Feb. 4 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, offers evidence that supports recommendations from clinical practice guidelines encouraging physicians to engage patients with mental health services and substance abuse treatment, as well as to avoid co-prescriptions for sedatives. [More]
Temple University Hospital makes strides in confronting prescription drug abuse

Temple University Hospital makes strides in confronting prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse has become a public health crisis in the U.S., and Temple University Hospital has made strides in confronting this critical situation. [More]
Women need different treatment from men with addiction, says McMaster University-led study

Women need different treatment from men with addiction, says McMaster University-led study

Painkillers prescribed by doctors are the starting point for an opioid addiction for more than half of female methadone clinic patients, and they need different treatment from men with addiction, says a study led by McMaster University researchers. [More]
Study shows half of adolescents misuse their prescription drugs

Study shows half of adolescents misuse their prescription drugs

Although prescription drug misuse is on the decline among adolescents, one in two patients tested between the ages of 10 and 17 years are not using their medications appropriately, potentially putting their health at risk, according to an analysis by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services. [More]

Egalet reports top-line results from Category 3 HAL study of Egalet-002

Egalet Corporation, a fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing innovative pain treatments, today announced top-line results from a Category 3 human abuse liability (HAL) study of Egalet-002, an abuse-deterrent, extended-release, oral oxycodone product candidate in late-stage clinical development for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock opioid treatment and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. [More]
Veterans who died from drug overdoses also prescribed benzodiazepines for pain

Veterans who died from drug overdoses also prescribed benzodiazepines for pain

In a recent study, nearly half of all veterans who died from drug overdoses while prescribed opioids for pain were also receiving benzodiazepines, or benzos, which are common medications for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and alcohol withdrawal. Veterans prescribed higher doses of benzodiazepines while concurrently receiving opioids were at greater risk of overdose death than those on lower doses of benzodiazepines. [More]

Category 1 findings support robust abuse-deterrent features of Egalet-002 for management of severe pain

Egalet Corporation, a fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing innovative pain treatments, today announced positive top-line results from Category 1 abuse-deterrent studies for Egalet-002, an abuse-deterrent, extended-release, oral oxycodone-based product in development for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock opioid treatment and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. [More]
Many teens still ignorant of significant physical danger posed by legal drugs

Many teens still ignorant of significant physical danger posed by legal drugs

Legal drugs such as OxyContin now kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined. While awareness of the dangers of illegal drugs has increased, many teens are still ignorant of the significant physical danger posed by legally prescribed drugs, according to a new study in Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. [More]
Study finds that reformulated OxyContin forces some drug abusers to switch to heroin

Study finds that reformulated OxyContin forces some drug abusers to switch to heroin

A reformulation of OxyContin that makes it harder to abuse has curtailed the drug's illicit use. But some 25 percent of drug abusers entering rehab said they still abused the prescription painkiller despite package labeling that emphasizes its abuse-deterrent properties, new research indicates. [More]
Opioid withdrawal in Ontario newborns increases 15-fold

Opioid withdrawal in Ontario newborns increases 15-fold

The number of newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal increased 15-fold in Ontario over 20 years, according to research published today in CMAJ Open. [More]
National survey shows decrease in alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use among U.S. teens

National survey shows decrease in alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use among U.S. teens

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use. [More]
Doctors prescribe fewer opioids for pain as prescription drug abuse rises

Doctors prescribe fewer opioids for pain as prescription drug abuse rises

Nine in 10 primary care physicians say that prescription drug abuse is a moderate or big problem in their communities and nearly half say they are less likely to prescribe opioids to treat pain compared to a year ago, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. [More]
Research to understand how medical marijuana laws may influence overdose deaths

Research to understand how medical marijuana laws may influence overdose deaths

In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests. [More]
Once-a-day pill for patients experiencing opioid-induced constipation

Once-a-day pill for patients experiencing opioid-induced constipation

Opioids - strong morphine-based painkillers - are widely prescribed to patients experiencing chronic severe pain. While these drugs are very effective for treating and managing pain, they have one particularly bothersome side effect: constipation. [More]
State highlights: N.C. lawmakers reach Medicaid agreement; Idaho asks SCOTUS to take up Medicaid reimbursement

State highlights: N.C. lawmakers reach Medicaid agreement; Idaho asks SCOTUS to take up Medicaid reimbursement

For the past few weeks, two big issues have kept the two chambers of the General Assembly from reaching an agreement on next year's state budget: teacher salaries and Medicaid. But on Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives finally moved closer to agreement on their Medicaid forecasts, loosening a logjam that's kept legislators in Raleigh past July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year (Hoban, 7/3). [More]

Prescription drug deaths drop in Fla. after crackdown on doctors

Deaths involving narcotic painkillers dropped 26 percent over two years in Florida after stricter doctor scrutiny, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [More]

Researchers find sharp increase in deaths from commonly prescribed painkillers in US, Canada

The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine combined, according to researchers at McGill University. [More]
State highlights: New abortion restrictions in Louisiana; aging gracefully in the Gopher State

State highlights: New abortion restrictions in Louisiana; aging gracefully in the Gopher State

A bill that could result in the shuttering of up to four of Louisiana's five abortion clinics overwhelmingly received full passage from the Louisiana Legislature Wednesday (May 21), and Gov. Bobby Jindal has indicated he will sign it into law. The legislation is, in part, based on a similar measure passed in Texas last year and led to the closing of several abortion clinics in that state. In its last legislative hurdle, the House concurred an amendment on Wednesday (May 21) that was added to the bill on the Senate side (Lane, 5/22). [More]
First Edition: May 22, 2014

First Edition: May 22, 2014

Today's headlines include coverage of the Senate Finance Committee vote to recommend Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Department of Health and Human Services. [More]
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