Tagged Articles

opioid epidemic 177 articles

Overdoses of OTC diarrhea drug increase in wake of opioid epidemic

Overdoses of an inexpensive, readily available, over-the-counter diarrhea drug have multiplied in recent years, in many cases by people addicted to opioids. They are using the drug seeking to prevent or self-treat withdrawal symptoms or to mimic the high of opioids like heroin, fentanyl or oxycodone, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology. Loperamide, also known by the brand-name Imodium, is a safe and effective drug for diarrhea when taken at its recommended dosage. But at higher doses, loperamide can cause opioid-like euphoria, and has even been dubbed “the poor man’s methadone” by clinicians. The misuse of ... Read More

Abuse-deterrent OxyContin may have contributed to rise in hepatitis C

When the first abuse-deterrent formulation of the opioid OxyContin was introduced in 2010 as a way to deter misuse of the drug, it may have set off an increase in hepatitis C infections by pushing users toward injectable heroin, a new study suggests. Acute hepatitis C infections in the United States were declining in the 1990s and plateaued around 2003. But beginning in 2010, rates have been rising. Researchers with RAND Corporation told Medscape Medical News that while hepatitis C infection rates rose nationwide after abuse-deterrent OxyContin was introduced, states with higher rates of OxyContin misuse prior to the reformulation ... Read More

FDA approves new treatment for people addicted to opioids

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) for people with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). reSET-O is immediately available and is another effort to help curb the effects of the nation’s opioid epidemic. Sandoz Inc., a division of Novartis, and Pear Therapeutics Inc., are jointly launching reSET-O, a 12-week cognitive behavioral therapy intended as an outpatient therapy for patients addicted to opioids but trying to stay clean. reSET-O includes a transmucosal buprenorphine, a commonly used medication to treat opioid addiction, as well as contingency management that provides incentives to reinforce behaviors. Once reSET-O is ... Read More

Insys founder paid kickbacks to docs to prescribe its addictive fentanyl

Insys Therapeutics Inc.’s founder and four of its executives stooped to new lows to entice doctors to prescribe their pricey opioid spray Subsys, treating them to lavish dinners, putting them on its payroll, and even giving one top prescriber of the drug a lap dance, Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Lazarus told a federal jury in Boston in the trial of former Insys chairman and founder John Kapoor. Kapoor, along with other company executives, is facing charges of using bribes and kickbacks to increase sales of Subsys, a highly addictive spray version of the opioid fentanyl. “This is a case ... Read More

Recovered opioid addict shares her struggle to come clean

Sara, 29, didn’t believe she would ever become addicted to opioids because a doctor had prescribed the medication. During treatment for a medical condition, Sara was put on a morphine drip. The drip continued throughout the duration of her hospital stay. When she left the hospital, she was given a supply of pain killers. “I didn’t realize for another year or two that I probably left the hospital that day dependent on opioid pain medication.” As the physical addiction took hold of Sara, she began to feel sick. Her tolerance to the drugs increased, and she needed more and more ... Read More

Life-threatening birth defect linked to opioid use

A potentially deadly birth defect in which a baby’s abdomen doesn’t develop properly and his intestines poke outside the body may be tied to the mother’s opioid use during pregnancy, according to an analysis published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The defect, called gastroschisis, occurs early in pregnancy. Researchers don’t know what it is about opioids that may cause this defect, just that there is “a higher prevalence (of the defect) in areas where opioid prescription rates were high,” the report said. Gastroschisis is more often seen in teen mothers and mothers who drink and smoke. ... Read More

FDA takes unprecedented step to support OTC naloxone

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking unprecedented steps to support the development of over-the-counter naloxone to reverse the effects of opioids in an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths. “With the number of overdose deaths involving prescription and illicit opioids more than doubling over the last seven years to nearly 48,000 in 2017, it’s critical that we continue to address this tragedy from all fronts,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement. When someone overdoses on opioids, they can lose consciousness and their breathing may become shallow or stop altogether, which can quickly lead to ... Read More

Perdue’s Sackler family blamed addicts for opioid epidemic

In 1996, Purdue Pharma held a launch party to introduce its new, potent opioid called OxyContin. Then-senior vice president Richard Sackler made a prediction that the party “will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.” Not only was Sackler right, OxyContin became “one of the deadliest drugs of all time,” according to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in an amended lawsuit filed against the company. Over the next 20 years since the drug’s launch, Richard Sackler became CEO of Purdue. With family members Beverly, David, Ilene, Lefcourt, Jonathan, Kathe, Mortimer, and Theresa sitting on the ... Read More

Mass opioid overdose leaves 1 dead, 12 hospitalized

One person died and a dozen were hospitalized after a mass opioid overdose at a home in Chino, California. Two officers at the scene also required medical treatment because of accidental exposure to the dangerous drug. Police say the likely culprit was fentanyl and another substance that has not yet been identified. Chino Fire Department Division Chief Jesse Alexander said at one point he saw CPR being performed on six people at the same time during the mass casualty incident. Six doses of the opioid reversal agent Naloxone were also administered, Chino Police Chief Michael O’Brien said. Chino police officers ... Read More

Increase in opioid prescriptions to pets raise red flags amid national epidemic

The number of opioid prescriptions written by veterinarians for pets has increased 41 percent in the past 10 years, according to a new study by Penn Medicine and Penn Vet, raising concerns that some of the highly addictive drugs may not be going to the pets, but to their owners instead. “As we are seeing the opioid epidemic press on, we are identifying other avenues of possible human consumption and misuse,” senior study author Jeanmarie Perrone, director of medical toxicology at Penn Medicine, told The Inquirer. “Even where the increase in prescribed veterinary opioids is well intended by the veterinarian, ... Read More