Category Archives: Prescription drugs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. Throughout the year, the Injury Center will be holding events and activities to mark the anniversary and raise awareness of injury and violence prevention community opportunities. NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Linda Degutis, DrPH, the center’s director, about milestones in injury prevention of the last twenty years, and what’s ahead.
NewPublicHealth will be posting interviews with several injury prevention experts this week.
NewPublicHealth: Tell us about the National Center for Injury Prevention, and some of the successes in injury prevention to date.
Linda Degutis: We’re one of the younger centers at CDC, and I think a lot of the successes that we’ve seen are not just successes of the Center itself but of the field of injury and violence prevention as a whole, and I think that’s really important for us to stress. For example, the reduction in motor vehicle crash deaths have been so very significant where we’re now talking about something more like closer to 30,000 motor vehicle crash deaths per year—when at the time the Center started it was probably closer to 50,000. That’s a great success.
>>For more on preventing motor vehicle crashes, read an interview with Andrea Gielen, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Prevention.
NPH: What types of preventable injury issues have emerged or increased in prevalence since the Center launched?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated Saturday, May 19, as the first ever Hepatitis Testing Day to remind health care providers and the public about who should be tested for chronic viral hepatitis. Millions of Americans have the condition but don’t know they’re infected. The CDC recommends starting with their five-minute online assessment. Read more on infectious disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved generic versions of the blood thinning drug Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), which helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by making it less likely that platelets in the blood will clump and form clots in the arteries.
The drug is approved to treat patients who have had a recent heart attack or stroke, or have partial or total blockage of an artery.
“For people who must manage chronic health conditions, having effective and affordable treatment options is important,” said Keith Webber, PhD, deputy director of the Office of Pharmaceutical Science in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The generic products approved today will expand those options for patients.” Read more on prescription drugs.
The Associated Press is reporting that a man from San Joaquin County, Calif., has been arrested for refusing to comply with a drug regimen to treat tuberculosis. The arrest was requested by the county’s nursing director.
Reuters is reporting that an FDA advisory committee has recommended that the HIV drug Truvada be approved for the prevention of HIV for people at highest risk of contracting the infection, such as men who have sex with other men. The agency is expected to rule on the recommendation next month. While the drug has been effective in preventing transmission of the infection in clinical trials, drawbacks include the high cost of the drug and a risk for serious kidney problems when the drug is used long term. Read more on HIV.
This week the governor of Washington State, Chris Gregoire, made emergency funds available to the state Department of Health to help curb the outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) underway in Washington. The state’s Health Secretary declared a whooping cough epidemic last month. Gregoire also urged health care professionals to get vaccinated and vaccinate their patients, and announced federal approval for health officials to re-direct some funds to buy several thousand doses of pertussis vaccine for adults.
“I’m especially concerned about the vulnerable babies in our communities that are too young to be fully immunized,” said Gregoire. “These actions will help state and local health leaders get vaccine into people’s arms so we can stem the tide.” According to the Department of Health 1,132 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the state through April 28—that’s compared to 117 over the same time last year. There were 965 cases reported in all of 2011. Read more on vaccine-preventable illnesses.
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Toys R Us Inc., are announcing the recall of about 21,000 inflatable Banzai in-ground pool water slides. During use, the slide can deflate, allowing the user to hit the ground underneath the slide and become injured. The slide is also unstable and can topple over in both still and windy conditions and carries inadequate warnings and instructions. The CPSC says it is aware of one death, a paralyzing injury and a neck fracture linked to use of the slides.
CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the product and return it to the nearest Wal-Mart or Toys R Us for a full refund. Consumers can also cut the two safety warning notices out of the slide and just return that portion.
The CPSC has also recently published a roundup of recalls this past year of products most likely to be used in the spring and summer, such as playground sets, gas grills and kiddy bikes. Read more on injury prevention.
Warnings on cigarette packages about the health hazards of smoking may keep ex-smokers from starting to smoke again, according to a study in the journal Tobacco Control. The findings are based on results of a survey taken among 2,000 former smokers in Canada, Australia, Britain and the US.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has released an analysis of data from the 2009 and 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that finds that the majority of new or occasional nonmedical users of pain relievers got the drug from family or friends for free or took them without asking. In contrast, frequent or chronic users (those who used pain relievers non-medically once a week or more on average in the past year) were more likely to obtain the drug from doctors or by buying them themselves.
To help Americans dispose of any unneeded medications in their homes, the Drug Enforcement Administration will host its fourth National Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28th, at over 5,000 collection sites across the United States.
A new report from the Employment Benefit Research Institute finds that between 2005–2009, the rate of poverty among American seniors rose as they aged. Almost 15 percent of those older than age 85 were in poverty in 2009, compared with approximately 10.5 percent of those older than 65, Additionally, in 2009, 6 percent of those age 85 older were new entrants in poverty.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling on food producers, drug companies and veterinarians to help limit the use of antibiotics in farm animals. The FDA issued three documents to these three groups to encourage them to use medically-important antibiotics wisely by limiting their use only to fight diseases in animals. Other uses for antibiotics for animals can include preventing disease and making animals fatter.
White women accounted for the majority of the 733,000 people in the United States who lived in assisted living facilities in 2010 according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Half of those residents were 85 and older, nearly 20 percent were on Medicaid and more than 75 percent had at least two of the 10 most common health conditions, such as high blood pressure and Alzheimer's disease
An organ donation video people can watch on an iPod while they wait on line at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may encourage more people to become donors, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Among people who watched the video in line, 84 percent signed on to be a donor versus 72 percent of those who had not seen the video.
Many low- and middle-income nations don’t have technologically advanced regulatory systems, which limits their oversight of food and drug safety, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The report recommends 13 steps that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies can take over the next three to five years to bolster the safety systems in developing nations. They include:
- Developed nations should share technical expertise, training, and tools to strengthen the surveillance systems in developing countries.
- The United States should work with Mexico, the host of the next meeting of the G20 nations, to add food and medical product safety to the G20 agenda.
- FDA should evaluate its pilot Secure Supply Chain pilot program, which rewards firms that can track their products from manufacture to market with expedited entry into the U.S. market. If successful, FDA should expand the program to more drug firms and to food companies.
Read more food safety news.
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education have launched a new website to encourage children, parents, educators and communities to take action to stop and prevent bullying.
The website provides a map with detailed information on state laws and policies, interactive webisodes and videos for young people, practical strategies for schools and communities to ensure safe environments, and suggestions on how parents can talk about bullying with their children. Read more on a recent documentary that tells the stories of kids who were bullied.
A new study by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health finds that neighborhood differences in rates of childhood asthma may be explained by varying levels of air pollution from trucks and residential heating oil. Read more on environmental health.
Having a feeling of purpose in life may help to protect against heart attacks among older American adults with coronary heart disease, according to a new study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. In the study, researchers surveyed more than 1,500 older adults with coronary heart disease and followed up after two years to investigate the association between purpose, which is typically conceptualized as a person’s sense of directedness and meaning in life, and the occurrence of a heart attack.
The study found a significantly reduced risk of heart attack among participants who reported a higher sense of meaning. The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio to explore Positive Health, an emerging concept that looks at whether in addition to health risks, people also have health assets which can be strengthened to produce a healthier life. Read more on heart health.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $201 million to support 731 new local homeless programs across the U.S. The funding will provide emergency shelters, transitional housing and permanent support for individuals and families. Read more on the connection between housing and health.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Eli Lilly and Company will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines.
The NIH's newly established National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences collection of 3,800 approved and investigational medicines will be screened using Lilly’s advanced testing systems to assess their biological profiles. This could enable biomedical researchers to better predict treatment outcomes and improve drug development, according to an NIH release. Read more on prescription drugs.
Just 38 percent of sexually active young women were screened for chlamydia between 2006 and 2008, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active women aged 25 and under. Read more on sexual health.
Falling down stairs is a common source of injury for kids, according to a new study in Pediatrics. Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System found that 931,886 children younger than five years old were treated in the ER for a stair-related injury from 1999 to 2008.
Suggestions from the study authors for making stairs safer include installing stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs, keeping stairs clutter-free and in good repair, and installing and using stair railings. The authors say increased prevention efforts, including improved stairway design, are needed to minimize stair-related injuries. Read more safety news.
A new study published in the journal Cancer has found that circumcision before a male's first sexual intercourse may help protect against prostate cancer. According to the study, sexually transmitted infections may contribute to the development of prostate cancer. Investigators analyzed information from 3,399 men; 1,754 with prostate cancer and 1,645 without. Men who had been circumcised before their first sexual intercourse were 15 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than uncircumcised men. Read more on sexual health.
The Food and Drug Administration has announced some key safety changes to the labeling for some widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. The changes include a revised schedule for monitoring liver enzymes in patients taking the drugs, and new information on rare cases of memory loss, confusion and hyperglycemia. Read more prescription drug news.
Soldiers in the Army National Guard with no history of alcohol abuse are at significant risk of developing alcohol-related problems during and after deployment, according to a new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal. Researchers found that the soldiers at greatest risk of developing alcohol-related problems also experienced depression or PTSD during or after deployment. Read more on military health.