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FDA: Don't Withhold Methadone, Buprenorphine in Patients Taking CNS Depressants (FREE)

September 20, 2017 - 7:00pm
By Kelly Young Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM Medication treatment for opioid addiction (e.g., " medication-assisted treatment " with methadone and buprenorphine) shouldn't be withheld from patients who take benzodiazepines … (Source: Physician's First Watch current issue)

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FDA Issues Warning About Mixing Opioid Addiction Treatments With Other Meds

September 20, 2017 - 6:31pm
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration issued new warnings Wednesday about the dangers of combining medication for opioid addiction with anti-anxiety medicines and other drugs that also slow breathing and brain activity. The FDA warned that mixing such drugs can cause difficulty breathing, coma or death, so it should be done with caution. The agency said a growing number of people fighting opioid addiction with methadone or buprenorphine also take other prescription drugs that slow action of the central nervous system. The warning lists several dozen brand-name and generic drugs that could be risky, including Ambien and Lunesta for insomnia, Valium and Xanax for anxiety, muscle relaxers Soma and Zanaflex and antipsychotic drugs Abilify, Invega, Saphris and others. The agen...

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#OpioidAwareChat

September 20, 2017 - 4:39pm
Join NIH Director Francis Collins, NIDA Director Dr. Volklow, and an expert from American Society of Addiction Medicine  in a Tweet chat. They’ll be available for a conversation about opioid use disorder: Impact on public health How the stigma against opioid use and addiction impacts recovery Methods and resources promoting prevention and recover When: Friday, September 29, 2017 . 12pm MT, 1pm CT at #OpioidAwareChat  /ch (Source: MCR News)

Youth Opioid Addiction: A Growing Problem (CME/CE)

September 20, 2017 - 4:30pm
(MedPage Today) -- Studies find risk of addiction after surgery, higher numbers of ED visits (Source: MedPage Today Public Health)

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The Affordable Care Act Is Being Exploited to Foster Opioid Relapse

September 20, 2017 - 3:01pm
As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober. As our investigator searched Palm Beach County for Jen, her mother finally reached her by phone. She pleaded with her daughter to leave Florida, to which Jen replied, “Why would I come home? I have all I need here.” In the ensuing months, Jen has become a victim of a vicious cycle known as “the Florida shuffle.” She has continued in and out of treatment, repeatedly relapsed and overdosed, been on the brink of death, was revived and all th...

Opportunists Are Exploiting the ACA to Prey on Opioid Addicts

September 20, 2017 - 3:01pm
As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober. As our investigator searched Palm Beach County for Jen, her mother finally reached her by phone. She pleaded with her daughter to leave Florida, to which Jen replied, “Why would I come home? I have all I need here.” In the ensuing months, Jen has become a victim of a vicious cycle known as “the Florida shuffle.” She has continued in and out of treatment, repeatedly relapsed and overdosed, been on the brink of death, was revived and all th...

FDA warns on mixing opioid addiction treatments, other meds

September 20, 2017 - 2:26pm
FDA issues new warnings about risk of combining medication for opioid addiction with certain other drugs (Source: ABC News: Health)

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Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the agency ’s continued efforts to promote the safe adoption of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction

September 20, 2017 - 11:18am
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – the use of medication combined with counseling and behavioral therapies – is one of the major pillars of the federal response to the opioid epidemic in this country. This type of treatment is an important tool that has the potential to help millions of Americans with an opioid use disorder reg ain control over their lives. In fact, patients receiving MAT cut their risk of death from all causes in half, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Addressing the epidemic of opioid addiction is my highest public health priority. One element of that effort is p romoting more widespread, safe adoption of MAT as a way to help more people overcome addiction. (Source: Food and Drug Administration)

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Medicine in the Headlines: When Your Patients Ask

September 20, 2017 - 8:30am
HRT, tattoos, insurers exacerbating the opioid epidemic, prolonged sitting, plus a new COPD drug: here's a recap of 5 of the week's key news reports. (Source: ConsultantLive)

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Are weight loss drugs the next tool to combat cocaine addiction?

September 19, 2017 - 11:00pm
(Boston Medical Center) Boston Medical Center's (BMC) psychiatry team is studying a drug called lorcaserin, which targets the brain's serotonin receptors and could help reduce cocaine cravings as well as dampen the rewards associated with taking cocaine. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)

Nora Volkow to receive Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences

September 19, 2017 - 11:00pm
(Carnegie Mellon University) Carnegie Mellon University will award the fifth annual Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences to Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs, and her work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. (Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health)

Opioid ODs Have Cut Into U.S. Life Expectancy: CDC

September 19, 2017 - 1:15pm
Doctors must start treating addiction, expert says (Source: WebMD Health)

Opioid ODs Have Cut Into U.S. Life Expectancy

September 19, 2017 - 1:15pm
Doctors must start treating addiction, expert says (Source: WebMD Health)

Christie outlines $200M for opioids while waiting on Trump

September 19, 2017 - 12:28pm
Gov. Chris Christie says New Jersey will spend another $200 million on drug addiction programs, part of one of his final pushes as governor to tackle a nationwide crisis (Source: ABC News: Health)

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State Health Leadership and the Opioid Epidemic: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?

September 19, 2017 - 12:06pm
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. 09/08/2017 This one-hour virtual town hall, presented by ASTHO in association with The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, addresses the opioid epidemic in the speakers'states. Presenters offer their perspectives and shared innovative approaches to preventing opioid misuse and abuse, ranging from education and prevention through treatment and recovery. They discuss what else is needed to reduce opioid misuse and prevent addiction nationwide. (Video or Multimedia) (Source: Disaster Lit: Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health)

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How The Opioid Crisis Is Blowing A Hole In Small-Town America's Finances

September 19, 2017 - 11:36am
Cities, towns and counties across the United States are struggling to deal with the financial costs of a drug addiction epidemic that killed 33,000 people in 2015 alone. (Source: Healthy Living - The Huffington Post)

Opioid ODs Have Cut into U.S. Life Expectancy: CDC

September 19, 2017 - 11:00am
Doctors must start treating addiction, expert says Source: HealthDay Related MedlinePlus Pages: Health Statistics, Opioid Abuse and Addiction (Source: MedlinePlus Health News)

Opioid Overdoses Are Shortening Overall Life Expectancy

September 19, 2017 - 10:33am
In a new study of the leading causes of death in the U.S., researchers say that opioids have contributed to a shortening of life expectancy. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in JAMA that while life expectancy in the U.S. increased overall from 2000 to 2015, that improvement was blunted by deaths from opioid overdoses. (According to other recent research, deaths from opioid overdoses nearly doubled in the U.S. from 2009 to 2015.) The life expectancy for people born in 2015 increased by two years compared to people born in 2000, from 76 years to 78. Much of that gain was due to decreases in death rates from major killers like heart disease, cancer and infectious diseases. But alarmingly, that increase reversed between 2014 to 2015, for the first time sinc...

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FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA urges caution about withholding opioid addiction medications from patients taking benzodiazepines or CNS depressants: careful medication management can reduce risks

September 19, 2017 - 10:13am
Based on our additional review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising that the opioid addiction medications buprenorphine and methadone should not be withheld from patients taking benzodiazepines or other drugs that depress the central nervous system (CNS). The combined use of these drugs increases the risk of serious side effects; however, the harm caused by untreated opioid addiction usually outweighs these risks. Careful medication management by health care professionals can reduce these risks. We are requiring this information to be added to the buprenorphine and methadone drug labels along with detailed recommendations for minimizing the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) drugs and benzodiazepines together. (Source: FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research...

Fentanyl, carfentanil and the opioid crisis: where do we stand now?

September 19, 2017 - 9:50am
3.5 out of 5 stars Controversies and carfentanil: We have much to learn about the present state of opioid poisoning. Cole JB, Nelson LS. Am J Emerg Med 2017 Aug 24 [Epub ahead of print] Reference I have argued — both in a post on this blog and a column in Emergency Medicine News — that the idea of a “heroin overdose” is a completely outdated concept that is never coming back. The fact is, when a patient comes in today with a history of shooting or snorting heroin, none of us have any firm idea about exactly what drug or drugs were involved. The chance that such a patient was exposed only to heroin is virtually zero. More likely, the exposure was to some undefinable hodgepodge of fentanyl, carfentanil, U-47700, and Lord knows what else, perhaps with a pinch of heroin thrown ...

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