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Wearable Device Spots, Reverses Opioid Overdoses

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A wearable device that could inject a lifesaving antidote for an opioid overdose might be on the horizon.

A new study shows that the device, worn on the stomach like an insulin pump, can detect when someone stops breathing from an overdose and inject the drug naloxone to restore breathing.

"Fatal drug overdoses in the U...

Addictive Opioid Painkillers Might Not Be Needed After Knee Surgery

TUESDAY, Nov 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Addictive opioid painkillers aren't the only option for patients seeking relief following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee reconstruction, researchers say.

As the United States wrestles with skyrocketing rates of opioid abuse and drug overdose deaths, the findings may come as good news.

After AC...

Over 100,000 Americans Died From Drug Overdoses in One Year: Report

New government data confirms what many have suspected: The pandemic has prompted a record number of drug overdose deaths, with more than 100,000 Americans succumbing to addiction as COVID-19 raged across the country.

That figure is almost 30% higher than the previous year, when 78,000 overdose deaths were reported, according to provisional figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control...

Medicare Could Negotiate Drug Prices Under Democrat Proposal

A measure designed to lower prescription drug costs for seniors has been added to President Joe Biden's social safety net and climate change bill that Democratic leaders hope to bring to a House vote this week.

For the first time, the measure would enable the federal government to negotiate prices for medications covered by Medicare, The New York Times reported.

Under the proposal, ...

Number of Teens Who Vape Marijuana Doubled in 7 Years

Teenagers have followed the vaping trend into marijuana use, with recent studies chronicling a boom in pot vaping among adolescents in the United States and Canada, researchers report.

The percentage of teens who've experimented with vaped pot has more than doubled in recent years, and vaping among frequent marijuana users has quadrupled, according to the study.

Currently about 1 in...

Scientists Develop Quick Test for Marijuana Use

Researchers may be one step closer to developing the equivalent of a Breathalyzer for detecting marijuana use.

In an early study, scientists found that their rapid test was able to reliably detect THC in people's saliva in under 5 minutes. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Right now, the "gold standard" for detecting marijuana use is to meas...

DEA Warns of Fentanyl in Counterfeit Opioid Pills

People buying pills that look like prescription opioid painkillers or stimulants who are not buying them from a licensed pharmacy may be buying a lethal drug, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warned this week.

This was the first public safety alert the DEA has issued in six years, CNN reported.

Many of these counterfeit pills are laced with fentanyl and methamphet...

Pot Use by Pregnant Women Rose During Pandemic: Study

Marijuana use by mothers-to-be may have increased by as much as one-quarter during the pandemic, a new study suggests.

Researchers found a substantial increase in the number of women in Northern California using pot early in their pregnancies after the pandemic emerged compared to the previous year.

"Our previous research has shown that the prevalence and frequency of prenatal canna...

Opioid Use Disorder Is as Deadly as Heart Attack: Study

Hospitalized opioid addicts die at a rate similar to people who have a heart attack after leaving the hospital.

Nearly 8% of patients addicted to opioids died within 12 months of hospital discharge, according to researchers from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

"We need systems that can address comprehensive needs of people with substance use disorder and serious medical ...

Half of Adults With ADHD Have Struggled With Alcohol, Drug Use

Fully half of all young adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may also battle alcohol or drug abuse.

And folks with ADHD who have a history of depression or anxiety are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse problems, a new study showed.

"People with ADHD may be self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to keep their depression under control, and of course, th...

Fatal ODs From Illicit Tranquilizers Jumped 6-Fold During Pandemic

Overdose deaths linked to illicit "designer" benzodiazepines have surged in the United States, as underground labs crank out new synthetic variations on prescription tranquilizers like Valium, Xanax and Ativan.

Overdose deaths involving illicit benzos increased more than sixfold (520%) between 2019 and 2020, rising from 51 to 316, according to data from 32 states and the District of Colum...

Rising Number of U.S. Cardiac Arrests Tied to Opioid Abuse

There's been a sharp rise in opioid-related cardiac arrests in the United States and they now equal those associated with other prime causes, a new study finds.

Of more than 1.4 million cardiac arrest hospitalizations nationwide between 2012 and 2018, more than 43,000 (3.1%) occurred in opioid users, and there was a significant increase in opioid-associated cardiac arrest over the seven-y...

How Your Medicines Make Their Way Into Rivers, Lakes and Bays

Leaky sewer pipes are to blame for large amounts of human medicines getting into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, a new study reveals.

Researchers found that tens of thousands of doses of drugs get into Chesapeake Bay in Maryland every year due to seeping sewer pipes.

"Pharmaceuticals enter freshwaters through multiple pathways, including effluent from wastewater treatment a...

Two PrEP Meds Work Equally Well; One Is Much Cheaper

The two HIV prevention drugs available in the United States are equally safe and effective, and the biggest difference between them is price, a new study contends.

However, a sizable minority of patients have switched from the older and cheaper "preexposure prophylaxis" (PrEP) formulation to the newer and much pricier one. In many cases that switch might not have been warranted, the resea...

Could Heavy Marijuana Use Be Driving Rise in Schizophrenia Cases?

There's been a sharp rise in schizophrenia cases linked with marijuana use since the mid-1990s, a new Danish study finds.

Prior research has suggested that marijuana -- particularly very heavy use -- is associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. Although strict cause-and-effect can't be proven by the new study, many experts believe that heavy pot use might work in conjuncti...

U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Jumped Nearly 30% During Pandemic

As America went into lockdown and treatment centers closed their doors, drug overdose deaths in the United States jumped by nearly a third last year, new data show.

The estimated 93,331 drug overdose deaths recorded during 2020 are a sharp increase -- a 29.4% rise -- over the 72,151 deaths estimated in 2019, according to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NC...

Is Medicare Overspending? Costco Prices Much Less for Generic Drugs

Can Costco beat Medicare Part D when it comes to prescription drug prices?

Apparently so, claims a new study that found that roughly half of generic medications were cheaper when purchased from the discount retailer than from the government program.

The researchers compared the prices paid by Medicare Part D plans (including patient out-of-pocket payments) for 184 generic prescripti...

Pot Use May Change the Teenage Brain, MRIs Show

Smoking pot appears to affect teens' brain development, altering it in ways that could diminish their reasoning, decision-making and memory skills as they age, a new study reports.

Brain scans of about 800 teenagers found that those who started smoking pot tended to have increased thinning of the cerebral cortex -- the outer layer of the brain responsible for thought, perception and langu...

Doctors May Be Overprescribing Opioids After Surgeries

Many patients who are prescribed opioids after surgery could get the same level of pain relief with non-opioid alternatives such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen without the risk of addiction, researchers say.

"Opioids have been a routine part of postsurgical pain care for decades, but the risk that they could lead to persistent use has been clearly documented," said lead author Dr. Ryan How...

Newly Approved Drug Fights Lung Cancer Tied to Certain Genes

A newly approved lung cancer drug shows promise in improving survival in patients whose tumors carry a common and tough-to-treat genetic mutation, researchers say.

Sotorasib - brand name Lumakras - was approved May 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a targeted therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients with tumors that express the G12C mutation in the KRAS gene, ...

There's Been a Shift in Who's Funding Alzheimer's Research

The U.S. government and nonprofits are replacing drug companies as the main drivers of Alzheimer's disease research, two new studies show.

The findings are from an analysis of national data by Jeffrey Cummings, a research professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Integrated Health Sciences.

In one study, his team found that the number of Alzheimer's clinical trials ...

Reviews Find No Evidence Weight-Loss Supplements Work

You're getting no real benefit from taking weight-loss supplements like garcinia cambogia, green tea extract, glucomannan, conjugated linoleic acid or chitosan, two new reviews show.

Most of the clinical trials studied didn't show these supplements producing any weight loss among users, the researchers said. In the rare cases where people did lose weight, they didn't drop enough pounds to...

When Drug Companies Raise Prices, Patients' Out-of-Pocket Costs Rise

When prescription drug "list" prices go up, patients often take a hit in the wallet, a new study shows.

Researchers found that while some people are buffered against drug price hikes by their health insurance plan, many are not.

Those in plans that require co-insurance or a deductible for prescriptions typically watch their out-of-pocket expenses rise, according to the study.

Many Older Americans Aren't Telling Their Doctors They Use Pot

Aging potheads are now past 50 and still puffing away, but new research shows that many don't disclose this to their doctors.

Folks who use marijuana for medical reasons are more likely to tell their doctors about it than recreational users. Still, just a fraction of medical marijuana users opened up about their use, the study found.

"Older adults may worry about how doctors would r...

Who Is Using Herbal Kratom?

Herbal kratom is used by less than 1% of the U.S. population, but the rate is much higher among those who misuse opioid painkillers, a new study finds.

Kratom is used to manage pain and opioid withdrawal. However, it carries the risk of addiction and harmful side effects, which has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration to identify kratom as a "d...

1 in 5 U.S. Pharmacies Blocks Access to Key Opioid Addiction Treatment

The Biden administration has eased guidelines for prescribing a crucial addiction treatment drug, just as a new study reveals one in five U.S. pharmacies refuses to dispense the medication, called buprenorphine.

"Buprenorphine is a vital, lifesaving medication for people with opioid use disorder, but improving access has been a problem for a variety of reasons," said the study's senior au...

'Magic Mushroom' Hallucinogen as Good as Antidepressants: Study

The magic ingredient in "magic mushrooms" may be at least as effective as standard medication for depression, an early clinical trial suggests.

The study of 59 patients with major depression tested the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) against psilocybin, which is the psychedelic substance in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Over six weeks, it appeared that just two doses of psilocybi...

CBD or THC? Cannabis Product Labels Often Mislead, Study Finds

Patients, beware: You might not be able to trust the label on that medical marijuana product you just brought home.

Levels of the two active ingredients in medicinal cannabis -- THC and CBD -- can vary widely from those claimed by distributors, a new study warns.

"People are buying products they think are THC-free but, in fact, contain a significant amount of THC," said researcher J...

Forget the 'Lazy Stoner': Marijuana Users Don't Exercise Any Less

The stereotypical image of pot smokers has long been one of "stoners" parked on the couch, surrounded by snacks and glued to the television, but a new study dispels that notion.

Instead, people who use marijuana may exercise just as much as other people do, and perhaps even a little more, researchers report.

Considering how important regular exercise is to one's overall health, the ...

Legalized Pot Tied to Rise in Young Men's Suicide Attempts

States that make marijuana a readily available retail item might see an increase in self-harm among younger men, a new study suggests.

Researchers found a correlation between U.S. states' shifting marijuana policies and rates of self-harm among men younger than 40. Those rates -- which include suicide attempts and non-suicidal behaviors like cutting -- increased in states that legalized, ...

Certain HIV Meds Have Patients Packing on Pounds

A commonly prescribed component of the life-saving antiretroviral drug cocktails used to treat HIV may trigger weight gain, new research warns.

The concern stems from tracking patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART). Since the mid-1990s, the therapy has relied on various drug combinations to essentially outwit HIV, controlling viral loads and turning a once-deadly infection into a ma...

Opioid Addiction Relapse May Be Different for Men, Women

Who is more likely to relapse after opioid addiction treatment -- women or men?

A new study that followed 1,100 recovering opioid users reveals that their risks are different.

The researchers followed the men and women for one year after treatment at more than 100 substance-use treatment facilities across the United States. During that time, 55% of the women and 51.5% of the men use...

Choice of Brand-Name Drug Over Generics Costs Medicare Nearly $2 Billion Annually

Wider use of prescription generic drugs could save Medicare nearly $2 billion a year, researchers say.

The new analysis of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims for 2017 used a random 20% of beneficiaries, 224 drugs with one or more generic substitutes and at least 1,000 claims.

Medicare Part D accounts for roughly one-third of all prescription drug spending in the United States....

As Pot Legalization Spreads, More Teens Are Lighting Up

As pot gains in acceptance among adults, teenagers appear to be more tempted to try it, a new study out of California finds.

After the state legalized marijuana use for adults in 2016, teens' use of the drug also climbed after years of steady decline.

Researchers analyzed survey data from more than 3 million seventh-, ninth- and 11th-graders, who answered questions about their ...

Drug Combo May Boost Survival for Tough-to-Treat Liver Cancers

A new drug combination for advanced liver cancer can extend people's lives substantially more than the long-standing drug of choice, new study findings confirm.

The treatment involves two drugs approved to fight various cancers: bevacizumab (Avastin) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq). Avastin, an intravenous (IV) drug, starves tumors by preventing new blood vessel growth.

Tecentriq, also...

Drugged Driving a Growing Threat on America's Roads

Combining drugs with driving is a potentially deadly but all too common combination in the United States, according to a new report.

University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers found that almost 9% of adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana use among drivers was more than 4%, while many adults also use both pot and other drugs in combination with alcohol.

T...

Nerve Drug Might Curb Spinal Cord Damage, Mouse Study Suggests

The nerve pain drug gabapentin might reduce damage after a spinal cord injury, research in mice suggests.

The drug prevented harmful structural changes in injured spinal cords, as well as cardiovascular changes and immune suppression caused by spinal cord injury, according to the study.

"Gabapentin is often prescribed as a treatment for pain, but if it is given early after injury --...

As More Legal Pot Dispensaries Open, More Young Adults Start Using

As more states legalize marijuana and more shops begin to sell it, more young adults are using pot and developing drug-use disorders, a new study finds.

For the study, researchers looked at young adults in Los Angeles County before and after retail sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in California.

The study linked areas with many pot shops, particularly unlicensed retailer...

Will Pot or CBD Make You a Worse Driver?

As marijuana laws relax and the popularity of CBD products explodes, more Americans may find themselves behind the wheel after taking either of these cannabis-linked substances.

Now, an on-the-road study found that the danger of driving after consuming a marijuana product varies depending on what the main ingredient was.

If it was cannabidiol (CBD), which is often found in medi...

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...

Many Using Cannabis for Pain Take Opioids, Too

People using cannabis for pain may still be taking opioid painkillers, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at cannabis and nonprescription opioid use among 211 individuals in the New York City area. Over 90 days, the investigators found that opioid use was at least as high when cannabis was used as when it wasn't, regardless of participants' pain levels.

"Our study is...

Booze, Drug Use Common at Virtual Parties During Pandemic

Drug use is common among people taking part in virtual raves and happy hours during the coronavirus pandemic, a new study finds.

"We explored whether stay-at-home orders changed how people use drugs -- and it appears that drug use during virtual gatherings is somewhat prevalent among the party-going population we studied," said study author Joseph Palamar. He's associate professor of ...

Teen Pot Use Makes a Comeback After Legalization

Steady reductions in teen marijuana use in Washington state may have been disrupted by legalization of the drug, a new study suggests.

Teens interviewed after voters approved recreational pot in 2012 were several times more likely to report past-year marijuana use. That suggests legalization may be working against decreases in teen drug use, said lead author Jennifer Bailey. She is pr...

Cancer Drug Might Help Curb Severe COVID-19

Could a cancer drug spare hospital patients from the ravages of severe COVID-19?

Yale doctors think it can after giving the medication, known as tocilizumab, to severely ill patients back in March.

How does tocilizumab work? It has a long history of dampening the life-threatening immune system reactions cancer patients often experience while undergoing treatment. Since the s...

FDA Pulls Emergency Approval of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has withdrawn its emergency authorization for the use of two malaria drugs championed by President Donald Trump in the fight against COVID-19.

The agency said in a letter Monday that the drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, are "unlikely to be effective" as treatments for the coronavirus, The New York Times reported.

The FD...

'Gold Standard' Clinical Trial Finds Hydroxychloroquine Won't Prevent COVID-19

Hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug touted and reportedly used by President Donald Trump as a preventative for COVID-19, appears not to have lived up to its hype, a new study shows.

Unlike some prior studies, this new trial was a "gold standard" prospective, randomized clinical trial. It found that hydroxychloroquine could not prevent COVID-19 any better than a sugar pill.

...

Interest in Unproven COVID Drugs Soared After Trump Gave Thumbs Up

When the President of the United States offers medical advice, many Americans will heed the call. Never mind that the recommendations may be unfounded and potentially dangerous.

That's the cautionary finding of an analysis published April 29 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers examined Google search patterns following President Donald Trump's public embrace of the...

Marijuana Withdrawal Is Real, Study Shows

It's widely believed that marijuana is not addictive, but a major new evidence review suggests that's not true.

Not only can people suffer withdrawal symptoms when they quit pot, but nearly half of those who regularly or heavily use marijuana will go through withdrawal when they stop, according to the study published online April 9 in JAMA Network Open.

About 47% ...

Newbies More Apt to Have Bad Reaction to Marijuana: Study

Common bad reactions to marijuana include coughing fits, anxiety and paranoia, but regular users are less likely to have problems than occasional users, a new study finds.

"There's been surprisingly little research on the prevalence or frequency of various adverse reactions to cannabis and almost no research trying to predict who is more likely to experience these types of adverse rea...

Meth Use, Addiction on the Rise Among Americans: CDC

Methamphetamine use is soaring again, with nearly one million Americans hooked on it, according to federal health officials.

Between 2015 and 2018, about 53% of the 1.6 million meth users were addicted to it and slightly more than 22% said they injected the drug, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC noted that mental illn...