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Are You Taking a Med That's Raising Your Blood Pressure?

FRIDAY, May 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in five Americans with high blood pressure use medications that can cause blood pressure to spike, a preliminary study shows.

The researchers said the findings are concerning, given how many people have difficulty controlling their high blood pressure.

"A large number of Americans are not meeting their blood press...

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

THURSDAY, May 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- 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 thei...

Drug Saxenda Aids Weight Loss — But You Should Exercise, Too

THURSDAY, May 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The weight-loss drug Saxenda can keep extra pounds off — but combining it with exercise brings a bigger payoff, a new clinical trial finds.

The study found that some longstanding advice is valid: Prescription weight-loss drugs work best when used along with — and not in place of — lifestyle changes.

Saxenda (liraglut...

ADHD Meds Can Help Preschoolers, But Effects Vary

WEDNESDAY, May 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of preschoolers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be advised to give their child medication to help them concentrate, sit still and/or control impulsive behaviors.

A new study comparing two classes of medications might help them arrive at a decision.

While stimulants are often first in line,...

1 in 3 Neighborhoods in Major U.S. Cities Is a 'Pharmacy Desert'

One-third of neighborhoods in the 30 largest U.S. cities are "pharmacy deserts," and this is much more common in Black and Hispanic communities, a new study finds.

What's a 'pharmacy desert'? In general, in a neighborhood where most residents have cars, the study labeled it a pharmacy desert if the average distance to the nearest pharmacy was 1 mile or more. That distance was reduced to ...

Could High-Dose Fish Oil Raise Odds for A-Fib in Heart Patients?

MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Many people take fish oil to protect their heart, but a new study suggests that prescription versions may raise the risk of a common heart rhythm disorder.

At issue are prescription-strength omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally found in fish oil. The medications are often prescribed to people with very high trigly...

Opioids After Dental Work May Be Dangerous

Getting a prescription for an opioid painkiller from your dentist could put you or your family at risk for an overdose, a new study warns.

The finding is based on an analysis of data from 8.5 million Americans who had teeth pulled or 119 other types of dental work between 2011 and 2018. All had Medicaid or private dental insurance.

"Our paper shows that when patients fill dental opi...

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 a...

New Drug May Be Better Psoriasis Treatment

A breakthrough psoriasis drug is better at treating the itchy and painful skin disease than medicines already on the market, according to results from two clinical trials.

There was a "night and day difference" in the results from bimekizumab compared against two established psoriasis drugs, secukinumab (Cosentyx) and adalimumab (Humira), said Dr. Mark Lebwohl, a co-researcher in one of t...

Two Is Not Better Than One When It Comes to Blood Thinners

It may not be a good idea to take a daily low-dose aspirin if you're also taking a widely used class of blood thinners called direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), researchers caution.

DOACs include drugs such as Eliquis (apixaban), Pradaxa (dabigatran), Lixiana (edoxaban) and Xarelto (rivaroxaban). They're used to help prevent strokes from atrial fibrillation or for the treatment of what's...

Common MS Meds Might Be Less Effective in Black Patients

MONDAY, April 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Black people experience more severe courses of multiple sclerosis (MS), and now new research suggests that drugs commonly used to treat this disease may not work as well or for as long in these folks.

"I was amazed," said study researcher Dr. Gregg Silverman, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City. In a ...

'Magic Mushroom' Hallucinogen as Good as Antidepressants: Study

THURSDAY, April 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- 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.

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...

Could Widely Used Blood Pressure Meds Raise Skin Cancer Risk?

Most people are familiar with common sun-protection advice, from wearing and reapplying sunscreen to putting on a hat.

But a new Canadian study finds that for people who take certain blood pressure medications, that advice becomes even more critical because those drugs can increase their sensitivity to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The researchers reviewed data for nearly...

FDA Approves First New Children's ADHD Drug in 10 Years

The first new drug developed in over a decade for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Qelbree, also known as viloxazine, comes in a capsule that is taken daily, and is not a stimulant. This makes it harder to abuse than older ADHD drugs, nearly all of which contain the stimulants amphetamine or methylphe...

Some Blood Pressure Meds Raise Heart Risks in People With HIV

Beta-blocker blood pressure medications may increase the risk of heart problems in people with HIV, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 8,000 U.S. veterans with HIV who developed high blood pressure between 2000 and 2018. Of those, around 6,500 had never been diagnosed with heart or blood vessel problems.

At the start...

When Pot Use Starts in Teens, Drug Addiction More Likely: Study

Teens who try marijuana or other drugs are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction than those who wait a few years before experimenting with drugs, a new study finds.

"Though not everyone who uses a drug will develop addiction, adolescents may develop addiction to substances faster than young adults," said study co-lead author Dr. Nora Volkow. She is director of the U.S. National I...

Most Post-Surgical Opioids Go Unused: Study

Using cellphones to track patients' painkiller use, a new study found more than 60% of opioid painkillers prescribed to surgical patients after their procedures went unused.

That has implications for the ongoing epidemic of opioid misuse in the United States, where unused medications can be diverted to others. Giving surgical patients only the amount of pills they need could help curb the...

Nearly All Seniors Take Meds That Raise Their Odds of Falling

Among older Americans, deaths from falls are up sharply, dovetailing with a surge in use of medications that increase the risk of falling, researchers say.

Two decades ago, about 57% of U.S. seniors took medications that increased their risk of falls. By 2017, that number had risen to 94%, and deaths caused by falls had more than doubled, a new study found.

The medications are meant...

Could Viagra Help Men With Heart Disease Live Longer?

Those little blue pills were designed to help men experiencing impotence. But Viagra and drugs like it might also lower the risk of dying or experiencing a new heart attack in men with heart disease, according to new Swedish research.

"Potency problems are common in older men and now our study also shows that PDE5 inhibitors may protect against heart attack and prolong life," said study ...

Coming Soon: Once-a-Week Insulin Injections?

Daily insulin jabs can be the bane of existence for people who live with type 2 diabetes, but an investigational once-weekly insulin shot may be a game changer for these folks.

While the research is still in its early stages, the new drug called basal insulin Fc (BIF) is given once a week and appears to be just as effective at controlling blood sugar (glucose) as insulin degludec, the gol...

1 in 3 Older Thyroid Patients Takes a Med That Can Interfere With Tests

Nearly one-third of seniors who take thyroid hormone also take drugs known to interfere with tests of thyroid function, a new study finds.

It's common for older adults to take a thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) to treat low levels of natural thyroid hormone. But tests used to determine the dose and effectiveness of treatment can be affected by other medications, including prednisone, predn...

Alzheimer's Patients Are Being Given Too Many Meds

Many older adults with dementia are prescribed dangerous combinations of drugs that raise their risk of overdose, falls and further mental deterioration, a new study finds.

About 1 in 7 people with dementia living outside of nursing homes are taking three or more drugs that act on their brain and nervous system, researchers reported.

The most troubling combinations involved opi...

Don't Use Veterinary Drug Ivermectin Against COVID, FDA Warns

Desperate for a treatment against COVID-19, some Americans have reached for an anti-parasitic drug aimed at animals, with serious consequences, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

"Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans," the FDA cautioned in a statement.

The agency has re...

Opioid Use (and Overuse) for Knee Arthritis Takes Big Financial Toll

Opioids and arthritic knees are a costly mix, new research claims.

"These data offer new evidence of the magnitude of the societal burden generated by opioid use and misuse, and could be used to educate health care providers and health policy decision makers on the best alternatives to opiate use," said lead investigator Elena Losina. She's a professor of orthopedic surgery at Brigham and...

Reassuring News for Women Taking Epilepsy Meds While Pregnant

Toddlers whose mothers took certain epilepsy drugs during pregnancy are unlikely to have development delays, researchers say. The study may help clear up lingering doubts about use of the drugs by moms-to-be.

Controlling seizures is crucial, of course.

"Having a seizure during pregnancy may not only harm the mother but possibly the baby as well, so seizure control is an important pa...

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....

Study Debunks Notion That Statin Meds Trigger Muscle Aches

People taking statin drugs often complain of muscle aches, but a new study finds the medications are unlikely to be the culprit.

The results come from a trial involving patients who had quit taking their statins, or were considering quitting, due to muscle pain.

The researchers found that those aches were just as likely to flare when the patients were given a placebo (inactive pills...

Many Women Getting Wrong Antibiotics to Treat a UTI: Study

If you've gone to the doctor for a urinary tract infection (UTI), chances are that you've been given the wrong antibiotic or a longer-than-necessary treatment plan.

That's even more likely if you live in a rural area, researchers say.

A new study of private insurance claims data found that 47% of women were prescribed antibiotics that were outside recommended guidelines and 76% were...

Spring Allergies Are Near, Here's What Works to Fight Them

For millions of Americans, sneezing, coughing, runny noses, itchy eyes and congestion are sure signs that spring is on the way.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has advice for coping with these classic hay fever symptoms. It recently published a guideline for health care providers caring for patients with these dreaded seasonal allergies.

"The guideline...

COVID No More Deadly for People With Asthma, Large Study Shows

During the pandemic, people with asthma have worried that their respiratory condition might raise their risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, but new research findings should calm their fears.

After analyzing data from 57 studies that included a total of over 587,000 people, scientists discovered that rates of asthma among people with COVID-19 were similar to rates in the general...

Many Older Adults Confused About Proper Use of Antibiotics: Poll

Many older Americans lack knowledge about antibiotics, with some admitting to using leftover medication, a new survey reveals.

More than 2,200 adults, aged 50 to 80, were questioned. Nine out of 10 said they're cautious about using antibiotics, and nearly that number knew that overuse of the drugs can lead to them becoming ineffective, according to the University of Michigan National Poll...

New Drug Combo Could Be Advance Against Uterine Fibroids

A new combo pill can substantially reduce bleeding caused by uterine fibroids -- possibly offering some women yet another alternative to surgery, a new trial finds.

The once-daily medication, which combines a drug called relugolix with estrogen and progestin, is not yet approved in the United States. But it is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to drugmaker M...

Drug Improves Survival for Rare, Deadly Kidney Cancer

The drug cabozantinib is more effective than two similar drugs, as well as the current standard treatment, in extending the lives of patients with a rare and deadly type of kidney cancer, according to a new study.

The cancer is called metastatic papillary kidney cancer. There are currently no effective treatments for it. A previous study of 38 patients found that the average survival rate...

Many Psych Meds Trigger Weight Gain, But New Research Points to Better Options

Scientists may have uncovered the reason critical medications for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder cause weight gain and diabetes -- findings they hope will lead to better drugs.

The medications, known as antipsychotics, help control the hallucinations, delusions and confused thoughts that plague people with schizophrenia. They can also help stabilize extreme mood swings in those with b...

Injected Drug Delivers Up to 20% Weight Loss in Trial

A new weight-loss drug is almost twice as effective as current medications, clinical trial results show, and experts say it could revolutionize the treatment of obesity.

Overweight and obese people lost an average 15% of their body weight using a weekly injectable 2.4 milligram dose of semaglutide (Ozempic), a new report reveals.

What's more, one-third of all participants lost 20% o...

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...

Could a Common Prostate Drug Help Prevent Parkinson's?

While scientists still don't know what causes Parkinson's disease, new research shows an association between a drug that some men take for an enlarged prostate condition and a reduced risk of developing the illness.

A team led by scientists at the University of Iowa, working in collaboration with researchers in Denmark and China, found that the drug terazosin and similar medications may h...

1 in 3 Young Americans Prescribed a Psychiatric Drug Misuses Them: Study

Many young Americans are prescribed psychiatric drugs to treat medical conditions, but nearly one-third of them wind up misusing the medications, a new study finds.

"Misuse of prescription substances is alarmingly high among U.S. youth and young adults," said lead researcher Israel Agaku, a part-time lecturer in oral health policy and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine,...

Compared to Other Countries, Americans Pay Much More for Prescription Drugs

Americans pay nearly three times more for prescription drugs than people in dozens of other countries, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed 2018 data and found that prescription drug prices in the United States average 2.5 times more than in 32 other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

The cost of brand-name drugs is even more -- an average of 3...

FDA Approves First Once-a-Month HIV Therapy

The first monthly shots to treat adults with HIV were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

"Currently, the standard of care for patients with HIV includes patients taking daily pills to adequately manage their condition. This approval will allow some patients the option of receiving once-monthly injections in lieu of a daily oral treatment regimen," said Dr. John...

New Hope Against Diseases Marked by Progressive Scarring of Lung Tissue

An inhaled medication might make every day physical activity a bit easier for patients with serious scarring of the lungs, a new clinical trial finds.

The study, published online Jan. 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved patients with high blood pressure in the lungs caused by interstitial lung disease (ILD).

ILD is a broad term for progressive scarring of th...

Stopping Common Heart Meds Could Be Risky for Kidney Patients

Patients with chronic kidney disease who stop using a class of common blood pressure medications may lower their risk for dialysis, but they also raise their odds of cardiovascular disease, a new study finds.

The blood pressure medicines in question are called renin-angiotensin system inhibitors (RAS inhibitors), which include both ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs...

Common Blood Pressure Meds Won't Up Risks for COVID Patients: Study

Americans battling hypertension may have one less thing to worry about: Blood pressure drugs do not affect outcomes of people hospitalized with COVID-19, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at whether two types of medications used to treat high blood pressure -- ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) -- could either lessen complications or lead to more severe COVID sympt...

USPS Cuts Could Pose Harm If Mail-Order Meds Delayed: Study

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16, 2020 (HealthDay)-- Delayed mail delivery due to a push from the White House and others to slash spending and services could have enormous consequences for Americans who depend on the U.S. Postal Service for access to urgently needed prescription medications, a new study warns.

"We found that among those who rely exclusively on mail-order pharmacies, about half are elde...

ADHD Medication ODs Rising in U.S. Kids, Teens

Growing numbers of younger kids are overdosing on stimulant medications commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study indicates.

The researchers called for greater efforts to identify kids at risk for overdose, and more education on safe storage of prescription and over-the-counter medications for parents and caregivers.

"Stimulant prescribing h...

Nurse Practitioners Key to Opioid Treatment in Rural U.S.: Study

In isolated areas of the United States, nurse practitioners are filling an important role in helping people access treatment for opioid addiction, according to a Washington State University (WSU) study.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have only been authorized to prescribe buprenorphine (a drug that can treat opioid addiction) for the past few years with the implementation of...

Strong Sleeping Pills Tied to Falls, Fractures in Dementia Patients

Strong sleeping pills known as "Z-drugs" may increase the risk of falls, fractures and stroke among people with dementia, British researchers report.

People with dementia can have trouble sleeping and are often prescribed drugs such as zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien) and zopiclone to help them nod off, but higher doses of these drugs can have negative effects.

"As many as 90% o...

Are Statin Side Effects 'All in Your Head'?

Most of the side effects commonly blamed on cholesterol-lowering statins may actually be the product of patients' imaginations, new British research claims.

The finding follows a study of 60 patients who had been taking statins but stopped because of reported muscle aches, fatigue and/or joint pain.

But after giving the patients an unmarked eight-month supply of statins and dummy p...

Got Leftover Meds? Ditch Them at Pharmacy Drop Boxes

Medication drop boxes at pharmacies are a safe and secure way for people to dispose of unwanted drugs, but many people are unaware of them, a new study finds.

Medications placed in the drop boxes are collected and typically incinerated or disposed of as hazardous waste.

That avoids them being flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash, where they pollute groundwater, rivers and ...