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overdose 39 articles

U.S. Fights Opioid Epidemic With New Newark/Philadelphia Strike Force

The federal government is expanding its efforts to combat the nation’s opioid crisis and health care fraud with a new regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force operation for the Newark and Philadelphia areas. The Newark/Philadelphia Medicare Strike Force location is the tenth region-specific operation. All of the Strike Force locations monitor health care activity in a specific region for fraud affecting government health care programs. The growing crisis of opioid abuse and addiction has not just harmed tens of thousands of individuals and their families across the U.S., it has also taken its toll on the Medicare program, which loses billions ... Read More

Propelled by Fraud, Opioid Overdose Soars To New Levels

The opioid crisis is on a disturbingly sharp upward trend across the U.S. despite the federal government’s tough talk and costly crackdown efforts, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From July 2016 through September 2017, emergency hospital visits due to opioid overdose rocketed 30 percent overall and 35 percent in the 16 states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, according to the CDC. “We have an emergency on our hands,” said acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat, according to NPR. “The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating.” The U.S. Department of Justice ... Read More

CDC investigating whether opioids are to blame for unusual cases of amnesia

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has launched in investigation into 14 mysterious cases of amnesia in people in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2016. Doctors were becoming suspicious when the patients – all of whom were between the ages of 18 and 52 – kept coming in for care not knowing who they were or where they had been. None had any disorders that would cause amnesia. However, most had taken opioids or other drugs. All but one of those who presented at the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center had a documented history of substance abuse, and the one ... Read More

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

FDA sends strong warning against using lidocaine anesthetic for teething pain in infants, children

Prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2% anesthetic solution should not be used to treat teething pain in infants or children because it can cause serious injuries, including death, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned. The agency is ordering a new black box warning be added to the safety label of lidocaine products to alert health care professionals, providers and caregivers of this risk. Topical pain relieves and medications that are rubbed on the gums to relieve pain are not necessary or even useful because they wash off the baby’s mouth within minutes, the agency warned. When too much viscous lidocaine is ... Read More

Fresenius faces lawsuits for patent infringement

Fresenius Kabi, one of four business segments of the worldwide dialysis giant Fresenius Medical Care, was slapped with a lawsuit this week alleging that the company was violating patents for the cancer dug Isodax. Drug makers Celgene Corp. and Astellas Pharma claim that Fresenius Kabi filed an abbreviated new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture and sell a generic version of romidepsin for injection. The companies allege that doing so violates two active patents. Isodax is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in patients who have received at least one ... Read More

Pediatric deaths lead to new black box warning on codeine

Drugs containing codeine now have a black box warning notifying doctors and consumers that the medication may cause breathing difficulties and deaths in children who are given codeine to relieve pain following surgery to have their tonsils or adenoids removed. These adverse events have resulted even when the medication was given in recommended dosages. The danger exists for children who are “ultra-rapid metabolizers” of codeine, meaning that their liver converts codeine to morphine in higher than normal amounts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first warned of this danger in August 2012. Since then, the agency has conducted a comprehensive ... Read More

Oversized warfarin tablets lead to product recall

One lot of the popular blood thinner warfarin is being recalled because 2 mg tablets were oversized, which could indicate the medication contains more of the active ingredient than is listed on the drug’s label. An unintended overdose of warfarin increases the risk for potentially deadly bleeding events such as in the gastrointestinal tract or brain. The bleeding risk is increased if overdosing is repeated continuously on a daily basis, which is how warfarin is often prescribed. The recall affects Zydus Pharmaceuticals’ warfarin 2mg tablets from Lot #MM5767 with the expiration date June 2014. The medication is used to prevent ... Read More

FDA panel recommends approval of drug to treat heroin, prescription drug addiction

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted to recommend the approval of a small, experimental implant to treat heroin and prescription drug addiction. The drug, Probuphine, made by Titan Pharmaceuticals, is a matchstick-sized implant that is designed to help addicts overcome their habit. The panel voted 10-4 with one abstention to approve the drug. If approved, the drug could receive a $50 million milestone payment. Titan purchased the U.S. and Canadian rights to Apple Tree Partners’ Braeburn Pharmaceuticals. “Opioid dependence is a rapidly growing public health concern and we remain committed to expanding the treatment options available to ... 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