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Health News Results - 33

Yes, Pot Is Stronger Now Than in Decades Past, Study Finds

Marijuana packs a lot more punch than it did 50 years ago, making it a greater threat to health, researchers say.

"As the strength of cannabis has increased, so too has the number of people entering treatment for cannabis use problems," said study co-author Tom Freeman, director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in England.

In Europe, more people no...

Was FDA Lax in Approving Opioids Too Easily?

For at least two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been approving new formulations of prescription opioids without requiring drug manufacturers to gather important information on safety and effectiveness, a new study claims.

The FDA approved dozens of these highly addictive medications for treatment of chronic pain between 1997 and 2018 based on clinical trials that:<...

Older Patients at Risk When Dentists Prescribe Opioids

Seniors who take depression and anxiety drugs shouldn't be prescribed opioid painkillers by their dentist because it puts them at increased risk for problems, researchers warn.

They analyzed 2011-15 dental and medical data for 40,800 patients aged 65 and older across the United States. There were 947 emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the 30 days after a dental visit.

...

Hazardous Ingredients Make 'Smart Drug' Supplements a Not-So-Smart Buy

Maybe you're a senior concerned that your mind has started to lag a bit. Or maybe you're a college student looking for an edge in your classes.

Either way, a new study warns that you should seriously reconsider taking any over-the-counter supplement that promises a powerful brain boost.

A review of so-called "smart drug" nutritional supplements found a handful that were pack...

Dangerous Abuse of Anxiety Drug Phenibut Is on the Rise

A growing number of Americans may be having serious reactions after taking phenibut -- an unapproved anxiety drug sold in some dietary supplements.

That's the finding of a new study looking at calls to U.S. poison control centers. The numbers are not huge: Between 2009 and 2019, there were 1,320 calls related to phenibut.

But there was a sharp rise beginning in 2015, researc...

Narcolepsy Drug Doesn't Raise Odds for Birth Defects: Study

The narcolepsy medicine modafinil doesn't appear to increase the risk of birth defects, according to a new study that contradicts earlier research.

"This study is based on twice as many pregnancies as earlier studies, and we find no increase in the risk of malformation in infants exposed to modafinil during pregnancy," lead author Carolyn Cesta, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, ...

In Rare Cases, Diabetes & Cholesterol Drug Combo Could Be Toxic

Taking the statin Crestor in combination with the diabetes drug canagliflozin (Invokana) may have the potential to trigger statin toxicity, a new case report suggests.

Although this report details the problem in just one woman, the researchers noted concern because these drugs are taken by millions of people worldwide. These drugs are also increasingly prescribed together.

Common Diabetes Meds Linked to Higher Odds for a Serious Complication

People taking a class of diabetes medications called SGLT2s have up to three times the risk for a serious complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) compared to people taking another drug, new research reveals.

SGLT2 (sodium-glucose cotransporter-2) inhibitors -- such as Farxiga, Jardiance and Invokana -- are a newer type of oral diabetes medicine. This class of medications is k...

Using Fewer Asthma Meds May Be Safe Option for Some

People with asthma often need several medications to control their wheezing, but new research suggests that some can use less without suffering an asthma flare.

Yet that's not what usually happens, the researchers said.

"Stepping down [using less medication] occurred infrequently, but when it did occur, there was no increased risk of asthma attacks and people did not use th...

FDA Warns of Defective EpiPen Dangers

Certain types of EpiPens and their generic counterparts may fail or delay injection of lifesaving epinephrine for severe allergic reactions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

Problems may occur in EpiPen 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr 0.15 mg auto-injectors and authorized generic versions due to device malfunctions and user errors, according to the agency.

The devices may...

Parents, Grandparents to Blame for Many Child Drug Poisonings, CDC Warns

If you are sometimes less than careful with your prescription medications and have young kids at home, a new study shows how easily tragedies can occur.

Researchers found that young children getting into medicines leads to about 400,000 poison center calls and 50,000 emergency department visits in the United States each year.

In more than half of these cases, medications hav...

Prescription-Strength Steroid Creams Sold Over-the-Counter Can Be Dangerous

Rubbing cream into your skin to calm an itchy rash may seem harmless, but not all topical anti-itch formulas are created equal.

"People don't understand the potential dangers of prescription-strength steroid creams," said Dr. Lawrence Green, clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Hydrocortisone -- a topical steroid often used to...

Many Drugstores Misinform on Disposal of Unused Meds

"Secret shoppers" calling California drugstores to find out how to dispose of unneeded antibiotics and opioid painkillers were given bogus information more than half the time, a new study finds.

Even fewer stores provided correct information if the callers, who were pretending to be parents, called on weekends, the researchers discovered.

"The Food and Drug Administration [F...

Could You Be Allergic to Additives?

You suddenly break out in a rash or your throat gets scratchy. You assume you're allergic to something … maybe pollen or a detergent. But could you be allergic to something in your food or medicine, and how could you tell?

The medical community disagrees as to whether additives in food or even medications -- such as dyes, preservatives or emulsifiers -- cause true allergic reac...

Gabapentin, Opioids a Deadly Duo: FDA

New warnings about the risk of dangerous breathing difficulties when gabapentinoids are used with opioids or by certain patients must now appear on product labels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

Serious breathing problems that can lead to death can occur in patients who use gabapentinoids with prescription opioid painkillers or other drugs that depress the c...

Penicillin Allergy Less Common Than Thought: Study

Millions of Americans think they're allergic to penicillin, but they're not, a new study reveals.

This erroneous belief adds millions of dollars to health care costs and results in unnecessary side effects from more powerful antibiotics, researchers say. It also adds to the danger of creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they warn.

Christopher Bland, a clinical associa...

Your Chocolate Pot 'Edible' Could Hold a Hidden Danger

A quirk in quality testing could mean that pot-laced chocolates are more potent than their label indicates, researchers report.

Many states that allow the sale of marijuana-infused edibles -- gummy bears, cookies and chocolates -- require package labeling that shows the products' level of THC, the compound that gets you high.

But potency testing o...

Supplement Pills Can Pose Choking Risk for Seniors, Study Finds

Large pills and dietary supplements can be tough for anyone to swallow, but new research finds they may pose a potentially dire risk to seniors.

A study from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that between 2006 and 2015, almost 4,000 people had trouble swallowing dietary supplements that was serious enough to report. Three people died after choking on them.

More than ...

Trump Administration Announces Plan to Allow Cheaper Drug Imports From Canada

Americans could import less expensive prescription drugs from Canada under a plan being developed by the Trump administration.

"Driving down drug prices requires a comprehensive approach and we must continue to look at all innovative solutions to this challenge," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in an HHS news release Wednesday.

"Today's announcement o...

Many Americans Take Antibiotics Without a Prescription

No one would argue that antibiotics are an amazing 20th-century innovation, promising a quick cure for bacterial illnesses that might otherwise cause serious harm or death.

But they are not without risk, especially when taken without a doctor's supervision.

Yet a new study review suggests that's exactly what many Americans are doing: misusing "under-the-counter" or old lefto...

Common Supplement Ingredient Could Harm Fetus, FDA Warns

Vinpocetine, a compound found in many dietary supplements, may pose a risk to women of childbearing age, U.S. health officials warn.

A review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that vinpocetine may cause a miscarriage or harm a developing fetus.

"We're advising pregnant women and women who could become pregnant not to take vinpocetine," FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr...

FDA Orders Label Warning on Alcohol Use With 'Female Viagra'

A drug touted as a "female Viagra" can cause severe low blood pressure and fainting when used with alcohol, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

As a result, the agency has ordered the drug's maker Sprout Pharmaceuticals to make a safety labeling change to Addyi (flibanserin).

The boxed warning, contraindication, warnings and precautions, and adverse reactions sectio...

Special Bag Helps Patients Get Rid of Unused Opioids

After undergoing surgery, many people who are prescribed opioid painkillers have no idea how to dispose of leftover pills so they won't be misused by others or harm the environment.

Giving special disposal bags to these patients more than doubled the percentage of people who safely disposed of their unused painkillers, according to researchers.

The new study included 208 pa...

Many Heroin Users Unprepared for Fentanyl OD

Though they know that nearly all heroin is laced with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, many Baltimore users aren't prepared to prevent or treat fentanyl-related overdoses, a new study finds.

Baltimore has a thriving heroin trade and 1,000 opioid overdose deaths a year.

The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, included...

Which Misused Prescription Meds Send Americans to the ER?

Most folks treated in a U.S. emergency room for misuse of prescription medications get into trouble because they mix different substances, a new study reports.

Benzodiazepines like Xanax (alprazolam) and Ativan (lorazepam) are most commonly implicated in health crises that lead to an ER visit, followed by prescription opioids, researchers found.

But in most cases, the patien...

In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get Good Follow-Up Care: Study

Ninety percent of people who survived opioid overdoses in West Virginia did not receive recommended treatment to reduce their risk of overdosing again, according to a new study.

West Virginia has the highest opioid overdose death rate in the United States, four times higher than the national average.

This study included 301 people from the state, average age 34.5 years, who ...

Why Do More and More Americans Use Medical Marijuana?

Easing chronic pain is the main reason Americans use medical marijuana, a new study finds.

"We wanted to understand the reasons why people are using cannabis medically, and whether those reasons for use are evidence-based," said lead author Kevin Boehnke. He's an investigator at University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.

Boehnke and his colleagues exa...

When Your Medications Are the News

Would you stop taking a medication if you heard a negative news story about it?

Sticking with a prescription drug regimen, or "medication adherence," is already a challenge for many patients, with not taking medications as prescribed being a key reason people struggle to control chronic conditions. Adding to the problem, according to a Danish study, is that negative reports in the med...

More Blood Pressure Meds Recalled Due to Carcinogen

Over the past few months, numerous recalls of the popular heart drug valsartan have already occurred. Now, generics maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals is adding more products to the list.

The recall involves 104 lots of three medicines: valsartan tablets; combination tablets with the drugs valsartan and amlodipine; and combination tablets with valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide.

...

Doctors More Cautious Now When Prescribing Opioids to Kids

There's been a steady decline in opioid prescriptions for children and teens in the United States since 2012, a new study reveals.

"Understanding patterns of opioid use in children and adolescents is important because use in early life has been associated with a higher likelihood of opioid misuse in the future," said the study's first author, Joshua Gagne. He's with the division of ph...

Drug Users Trying to Stay Ahead of Deadly Fentanyl

As deadly fentanyl is increasingly mixed into heroin and other street drugs, some drug abusers are getting smart, a new study finds.

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has triggered a sharp increase in overdose deaths over the past few years. The drug is to blame for 44 percent of overdose deaths in New York City alone, according to New York University researchers.

Now,...

As U.S. Kids Take More Meds, Dangerous Drug Mixes Could Rise

Everyone worries about drug abuse among children, but a hidden danger for some kids rests in prescription medicines intended to help them, a new study warns.

Some children and teenagers who are prescribed multiple medications are at risk of drug interactions that could literally stop their heart, according to the report.

"We found that about 1 in 12 kids using two or more me...

Doctors Write Fewer Opioid Scripts After Learning of Overdose Death

Doctors prescribed fewer opioid pain medications after receiving letters from a medical examiner informing them of a patient's fatal overdose, a new study says.

Many people who die of opioid overdoses got addicted to the drugs after they were prescribed for common problems.

This study included 861 doctors in San Diego County who prescribed opioids to 170 patients who died o...