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Animal Sedative Is Driving Rise in Fatal Drug ODs

An animal tranquilizer, xylazine, is increasingly linked to drug overdose deaths across the United States, health officials say.

According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, xylazine has turned up in overdose deaths in 25 of 38 states examined. In 2019, xylazine contributed to death in 64% of cases and almost always also involved fentanyl.

The ...

Loneliness Raises Opioid Dangers in Seniors: Study

Illustrating a heartbreaking cycle, new research finds that lonely seniors are much more likely to take opioid painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs and other medications.

This puts them at increased risk for drug dependency, attention problems, falls, accidents and mental decline, the University of California, San Francisco researchers warned.

"There's a misconception that as ...

'Laughing Gas' Shows Promise Against Tough-to-Treat Depression

When antidepressants fail to rein in hard-to-treat depression, the common anesthetic most know as "laughing gas" might be a safe and effective alternative, new research suggests.

The finding follows work with 28 patients struggling with "treatment-resistant major depression," a severe condition that investigators say affects about one-third of all patients - an estimated 17 million Americ...

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,...

In Philadelphia, an Animal Tranquilizer Is Driving Deadly Rise in Opioid ODs

Philadelphia is seeing a surge in overdose fatalities involving heroin and/or fentanyl plus an animal tranquilizer not approved for human use, according to a new study.

The tranquilizer -- called xylazine -- is a non-opioid sedative and painkiller approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration solely as a veterinary drug. In Philadelphia, it goes by the street name "tranq."

Tranq...

Kids Aren't Scared by Medical Workers' PPE, Study Finds

Kids aren't scared when surgical staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE), and many feel reassured by use of the gear, researchers say.

Anxiety is common before, during and after surgery, and can result in complications such as pain and delayed recovery. Concerns have been raised that seeing staffers wearing PPE such as hoods, masks and gowns during the coronavirus pandemic might in...

Not Harmless: Rubber Bullets, Pepper Spray Rob Vision

Last summer, the American Academy of Ophthalmology condemned the use of rubber bullets as a law enforcement tactic for crowd control during protests that rocked the United States. The argument: rubber bullets can cause serious eye injury.

Now, a new study backs up that concern, finding that the use of rubber bullets and pellets, pepper spray, tear gas and/or bean bag guns does, in fact, i...

Why Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?

As many as 3 in 4 older adults with dementia have been prescribed drugs that may pose a risk to them, researchers report.

The drugs in the study included commonly prescribed medications that can affect the brain or nervous system, such as sedatives, painkillers and antidepressants.

"There just is not a lot of evidence that these medications are helpful in people with dement...

Meds Like Valium, Xanax Linked to Higher Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy

Taking benzodiazepines -- drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Halcion or Ativan -- to treat anxiety or insomnia before pregnancy boosts the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, new research suggests.

Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube. The risk of ectopic pregnancy was nearly 50% higher for women who had filled a prescript...

For Insomniacs, Sleep Aids Can Ease a Troubled Mind

People with severe insomnia may find that a sedative helps them sleep and banishes thoughts of suicide, a new study suggests.

"If you have a patient who complains that their sleep has taken a turn for the worse, then there is reason to open the door to a question about suicide," said corresponding author Dr. W. Vaughn McCall. He's chairman of the department of psychiatry and health b...

Music Soothes the Stressed Soul Before Surgery

Music may be as powerful as drugs in calming patients before they undergo surgery, new research suggests.

It worked just as well as a tranquilizer before patients received a peripheral nerve block prior to their procedure, the researchers said. Peripheral nerve block numbs a specific area of the body where surgery is being done.

Many patients are anxious before surgery and ...

More Americans Mixing Opioids With Sedatives

As if the opioid crisis wasn't already bad enough, new research shows a sharp rise in the number of Americans taking dangerous combinations of opioids and sedatives.

These sedatives, known as benzodiazepines, are prescribed for pain, insomnia and anxiety. And another class of similar medications, called Z-drugs, are also being taken with sedatives at alarming rates, the researchers fo...