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accidental overdose 13 articles

DEA introduces new drug take-back program to combat prescription drug abuse

A new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rule aims to combat a growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction and abuse by authorizing pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and others to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription medications. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the new regulation will help save lives and protect families from the dangers of prescription drug misuse. In 2011, unintentional prescription drug overdoses accounted for more than half of the 41,300 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Prescription opioids, which are increasingly prescribed for pain relief, are particularly addictive and likely to be abused. Opioid pain killer overdose caused ... Read More

Teen’s death prompts FDA warning for consumers to avoid pure caffeine powder

Logan Stiner was just days away from his high school graduation when he died after consuming a lethal dose of powdered caffeine. The teen’s death prompted a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation resulting in the agency issuing a warning to consumers to avoid pure caffeine products, especially those sold in bulk bags over the internet. “A single dose is essentially 100 percent caffeine. A single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee,” the FDA warning stated. “Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose. Parents ... Read More

Warnings of teen suicide risk with antidepressants may have led to increase in teen suicide attempts

Researchers are concerned that recent warnings about antidepressants increasing suicide risk in teens may have contributed to a rise in teen suicide attempts. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, set out to investigate this possible power of suggestion since 2003, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began publicizing suicide risks (including suicide attempts and completed suicides) with antidepressant use in young adults. The study involved data from about 2.3 million adolescents and young adults. Researchers found that the warnings led to a significant drop in antidepressant use in young people, beginning in 2003. At the same time, ... Read More

Prescription drug deaths rise for 11th consecutive year

The number of prescription drug-induced deaths rose for the 11th straight year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis. Most of the drug deaths were accidents involving potent painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. “This is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Prescription drug deaths continue to rise despite efforts to raise awareness of the risks among doctors and patients. The CDC reported a total of 38,329 drug-overdose fatalities nationwide in 2010. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved medicines, most of them prescription drugs. In 2009, the ... Read More

Olsen twins decorate line of handbags with prescription pills

America’s love of prescription drugs sometimes manifests in bizarre, unexpected ways. In December, various fashion and entertainment media reported that diva twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen released a line of black patent-leather crocodile skin handbags studded not with precious stones but with … prescription pills? Ironically, an undisclosed portion of the proceeds from the controversial handbags, which retailed in limited quantities at $55,000 each, were donated to UNICEF, the arm of the United Nations Fund devoted to the well-being of children. Perhaps glamorizing drug use by attaching multicolored capsule and tablet appliques to designer handbags wouldn’t be so strange if it were ... Read More

Hundreds of Georgia elementary kids accidentally given two flu shots

Nearly 400 Bibb County, Georgia, students were accidentally given two flu shots during a campaign to inoculate children against seasonal influenza. North Central Health officials were tipped off by a parent who said his child had received a flu shot at school when he had already been given one previously. This prompted an audit that found 383 elementary school students unnecessarily received a second dose of the flu vaccine. Health officials blame the accident on paperwork oversight and said the school will not be charged for the extra shots. The district also says there is no cause for alarm. “We ... Read More

FDA warns parents about dangers of codeine

The prescription painkiller codeine is often prescribed to children following surgery to remove their tonsils or adenoids to treat sleep apnea, but the medicine may cause serious side effects – and even death – in some children even when the right dosage is used. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer alert this week to make parents aware of the potential dangers of codeine. The FDA is aware of three recent deaths and one life-threatening case in children who took codeine for pain relief after surgery to remove their tonsils or adenoids to treat sleep apnea. The agency ... Read More

Prescription drug overdose and abuse now the leading cause of death in U.S.

Public health experts are warning that an epidemic of pharmaceutical drug injuries has broken out nationwide, likely fueled by the ever-growing number of prescriptions written for the relief of pain and anxiety. According to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drug deaths exceeded the number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. for the first time in 2009, becoming the leading cause of death in the U.S. At least 37,485 people died from prescription drug injuries in 2009 — 1201 more than the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the same ... Read More

Tylenol lowers maximum daily dosing recommendation

The makers of Tylenol have announced they are recommending new, lower dosing instructions for its painkiller in an effort to reduce accidental overdoses from its active ingredient, acetaminophen. The announcement comes six months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked prescription manufacturers of acetaminophen to limit the amount of acetaminophen in their medicines to no more than 325 milligrams (mg) in each tablet or capsules, and to update their safety labels to include a black box warning for the risk of severe liver injury. Boxed warnings are the FDA’s strongest warning for prescription drugs and include situations where there is ... Read More

Public Citizen raised flags about Darvocet, now warns of Alli, Xenical

Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen was the first to raise concerns about the safety of propoxyphene, the active ingredient in the brand-name drugs Darvocet and Darvon. The group petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) twice since the prescription painkiller was introduced more than 50 years ago. Public Citizen claimed the drug had a sketchy track record for efficacy and that patients were needlessly dying from accidental overdoses while taking the drug. The FDA opted to keep propoxyphene-containing drugs on the market, but did agree to put stronger warnings on the product’s safety label. Still, Public Citizen urged, it was ... Read More