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Health News Results - 315

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 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...

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...

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 ...

A single pill loaded with cholesterol and blood pressure medications can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 40%, a new international study reports.

The "polypill" containing three generic blood pressure medications and a statin dramatically reduced the risk of heart-related illness in people with no prior history of heart problems, according to clinical trial result...

Prescribing antibiotics for viral respiratory infections increases the risk of future infections and more antibiotic prescriptions, a new study warns.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from a U.S. insurer on more than 200,000 initial visits for acute respiratory infections at 736 urgent care centers nationwide and found th...

Young men who consider using the drug Propecia to prevent baldness may be putting themselves at risk for depression and suicide, a new study suggests.

Information from the World Health Organization indicates that over the past 10 years, reports of suicidal ideation among young men using the drug have increased, rising significantly after 2012, the researchers said.

"There are many p...

So-called "green prescriptions" may end up being counterproductive for people with mental health conditions, researchers say.

Spending time in nature is believed to benefit mental health, so some doctors are beginning to "prescribe" outdoor time for their patients.

That led researchers to investigate whether being in nature helps actually does help people with issues such as anxiety...

More than one-third of older Americans are prescribed drugs they may not need, a new study finds.

In fact, these patients are prescribed twice as many drugs as needed and are nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized or wind up in the emergency department. On average, they pay more than $450 a year in extra health care costs, the researchers said.
"Inappropriate prescribing to older a...

Researchers in the United Kingdom have reassuring news for people with psoriasis based on the first analysis of a global registry of COVID-19 patients who also have the skin disease.

Moderate-to-severe cases of psoriasis are treated with drugs that suppress the immune system. This analysis of the international PsoProtect registry found that more than 90% of psoriasis patients surv...

Your mail-order prescriptions may be taking longer to get to you, but you can take steps to get your meds on time.

Recent U.S. Senate hearings found that average delivery times for prescriptions have recently increased 18% to 32%. These delays aren't only a matter of convenience -- many drugs are temperature-sensitive and patients may need them immediately.

"This i...

Combining medication with group or family-based therapy gives patients struggling with bipolar disorder their best shot at living stable lives, a new review suggests.

"People with bipolar disorder have significant mood swings, from periods of depression to mania," explained study author David Miklowitz, a professor of psychiatry with UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine's Semel Inst...

When older people hospitalized for heart failure are sent home, they are often given a whopping 10 medications to take for a variety of conditions. But is this "polypharmacy" practice necessary, or does it just place a bigger burden on already frail patients?

It's not a question so much of the quantity of the medications, but whether the medications patients are taking are the right ...

Often-used drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) ease heartburn symptoms, but a new study suggests they might also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Chinese researchers drew on information from studies of more than 200,000 U.S. health care professionals and found that regular use of PPIs (such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix) was associated with a 24% hi...

Adding a newer drug to standard therapy might help control kidney complications caused by the autoimmune disease lupus, a new clinical trial suggests.

The researchers found that adding the drug, called belimumab, improved patients' likelihood of responding to treatment. That meant a reduction in protein in the urine -- a tell-tale sign of kidney inflammation -- and no significant loss...

Here's evidence that prescription drugs don't have to cost a fortune: New research finds Medicare saved billions as more generic cholesterol-lowering medications became available, even though the number of Americans using the drugs increased.

"One of the most important contributors to our health care costs is expenditure on prescription drugs," said study author Dr. Ambarish Pandey, a...

People with high blood pressure tend to fare worse when infected with COVID-19, and the chronic condition can complicate their treatment in unexpected ways, new research shows.

For example, some COVID-19 patients must be taken off their blood pressure medications if their blood pressure falls to dangerously low levels, a condition called hypotension. Otherwise, they'll risk dying or d...

The daily drug regimen known as PrEP is a nearly foolproof way to prevent HIV infection. But a new study suggests that many high-risk Americans may be giving the medication a pass because of cost.

The warning stems from a pricing analysis that tracked about 2.6 million PrEP prescriptions filled between 2014 and 2018.

The researchers found that during that time frame, PrEP pr...

A group of widely used medications might speed up older adults' mental decline -- especially if they are at increased risk of dementia, a new study hints.

The medications in question are called anticholinergics, and they are used to treat a diverse range of conditions -- from allergies, motion sickness and overactive bladder to high blood pressure, depression and Parkinson's disease.<...

An experimental treatment may help slow the progression of the deadly brain disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a new study finds.

Researchers called the results a promising step in the fight against a devastating and invariably fatal disease. And two advocacy groups are calling for swift action to make the drug available to patients.

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig...

When hospital patients are moved to a skilled nursing facility, they are too often given a prescription for a high-dose opioid painkiller, new research suggests.

For the study, researchers at the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy looked at nearly 4,400 hospital patients in Portland sent to nursing facilities to receive either short-term rehabilitative care or long-term care ...

If you have hypertension and you're depressed, don't blame your blood pressure drugs.

Although previous research hinted there might be a connection between high blood pressure medications and depression, a new study of dozens of commonly used drugs found no such link.

In fact, the Danish researchers found the opposite -- nine blood pressure drugs were associated with a lowe...

In the largest such study yet, researchers have found that two classes of common blood pressure medications seem tied to better survival against COVID-19.

The U.K. findings should allay any worry that the two types of mediations -- angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) -- might actually harm COVID-19 patients.

"We k...

Could birth control pills build a bulwark against asthma?

New research suggests that hormonal contraceptives, which alter the natural ebb and flow of female hormones, may do just that.

A study of more than half a million women in the United Kingdom found that those who used hormonal contraceptives -- be it pills or patches or shots -- had a significantly lower risk of develo...

In the United States, many women with chronic medical conditions aren't filling prescriptions or are trying to make their medications last longer due to the cost, a new study finds.

Not filling prescriptions, skipping doses, delaying refills or splitting pills may put their health at risk, the study authors noted.

For the study, researchers collected data on patients in 11...

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide take cholesterol-lowering drugs, like statins, but now a new review suggests that many folks don't benefit from these medications.

The researchers said the review of 35 randomized controlled trials failed to show a consistent benefit in lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke, or for preventing deaths.

"Normally, when you have a...

There are currently no medications that can slow down the common form of arthritis that strikes aging knees and hips. But a new study suggests a powerful, and expensive, anti-inflammatory drug could potentially do just that.

The drug, called canakinumab (Ilaris), is used for certain rare rheumatic conditions marked by widespread inflammation. They include juvenile idiopathic arthritis...

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...

A drug used to treat lupus and malaria -- hydroxychloroquine -- reduced by half the risk of a potentially fatal heart condition in newborns who were at high risk for it.

The condition -- known as congenital heart block (CHB) -- results in a dangerously low heart rate.

"Our study shows hydroxychloroquine as the first, safe, and highly effective drug for preventing pregnant wom...

A cream medication that eases skin inflammation might offer a safer treatment option for people with psoriasis, a new clinical trial suggests.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects more than 8 million Americans, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The disease arises from an abnormal immune response that triggers rapid turnover of skin cells, causing them to pi...

Older, critically ill COVID-19 patients who are given a combination of two common antiretroviral drugs can experience a drastic slowing of their heart rate, French researchers report.

In their study of 41 patients treated with lopinavir and ritonavir twice daily for 10 days, 22% developed a slow heart rate condition called bradycardia. When the drugs were stopped or doses lowered,...

Millions of Americans take medication to keep their blood pressure down. A new study suggests that two types of blood pressure drugs might do double-duty, keeping colon cancer away, too.

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (often called ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) help lower blood pressure by relaxing and opening up narrowed blood vessels, allowin...

Scientists are reporting an early step toward an HIV drug that could potentially be taken only a couple of times per year.

A single injection of the experimental drug, called lenacapavir, was able to lower blood levels of HIV in a small group of patients. And it was capable of maintaining active levels in the blood for more than six months.

It all raises the possibility of o...

Back pain plagues many Americans, and new research shows that doctors are doling out muscle relaxant prescriptions to treat the pain -- often along with an opioid painkiller.

Experts worry that muscle relaxants may not help much and could cause troubling side effects, especially in older patients.

The study found the rate of long-term prescriptions for muscle relaxants to tr...

The maker of remdesivir, the first drug that showed promise in treating coronavirus infections, will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a patient with private insurance, the drug company announced Monday.

Because of how the U.S. health care system is designed and the discounts that government health care programs like the VA and Medicaid will expect, the price for private insurance comp...

More than 2 million Americans buy prescription drugs from other countries as a way around rising prices in the United States, a new study finds.

The analysis of nationwide survey data showed that 1.5% of adults got their prescription meds from outside the United States between 2015 and 2017.

Immigrants and people who were older or who had inadequate health insurance cov...

With opioid addiction soaring in the United States, it should come as good news that an opioid painkiller may not be needed after a sports-injury repair.

A mix of non-addictive medicines may be safer and equally successful in managing pain after shoulder or knee surgery, a study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit indicates.

Concerned about the opioid abuse epidemic, doctors...

There's new evidence that a 2,000-year-old medicine might offer hope against a modern scourge: COVID-19.

The medication, called colchicine, is an anti-inflammatory taken as a pill. It's long been prescribed for gout, a form of arthritis, and its history goes back centuries. The drug was first sourced from the autumn crocus flower.

Doctors also sometimes use colchicine to tre...

Americans continue to look to the medicine cabinet for pain relief, with 1 in 10 using some type of prescription painkiller, a new U.S. government report says.

But use of prescription opioid painkillers leveled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain meds rose, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This surv...

A new nonopioid pain reliever could be welcome news for people who have difficult-to-treat back pain.

Tanezumab is what's called a monoclonal antibody. And it might offer extended relief from chronic lower back pain, a large, new study finds. However, a serious side effect remains a concern.

Tanezumab works differently from other treatments, as it blocks nerve growth factor,...

About one in 10 heart surgery patients who is prescribed an opioid painkiller after the procedure still uses the drugs more than 90 days later, a new study finds.

And those prescribed the highest doses are most likely to be long-term users of opioids, researchers say.

"Our findings support a much-needed shift toward decreasing opioid dosages at discharge and using alternativ...

One of the drugs championed by President Donald Trump as a potential "game changer" in the coronavirus pandemic led to a potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder in a 84-year-old woman treated for COVID-19, according to a new report.

Doctors said her condition improved once they discontinued the drug, chloroquine.

Chloroquine and the related drug hydroxychloroquine are comm...

The drugs promoted by President Donald Trump as treatments for COVID-19 should not be used with the experimental drug remdesivir because of a potentially unfavorable drug interaction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

The drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, could reduce the antiviral effectiveness of remdesivir, the FDA warned Monday.

The FDA in May gave eme...

The first video game to help treat kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

EndeavorRx is a prescription-only game designed to help improve attention in 8- to 12-year-olds with ADHD who have confirmed attention problems.

It is the first game-based treatment authorized by the FDA for any condition.

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...

Pills used to treat blood cancers may potentially prevent life-threatening allergic reactions, early research hints.

That could spell good news for people with severe food and drug allergies.

In lab experiments, researchers found that a group of medications -- called BTK inhibitors -- can put the brakes on the process that triggers life-threatening allergic reactions known...

Blood pressure drugs help even the most frail elderly live longer, and older people who are healthier get the biggest benefit, Italian researchers say.

"We knew that high blood pressure medication was protective in general among older people, however, we focused on whether it is also protective in frail patients with many other medical conditions who are usually excluded from randomi...

Genetics may explain why some women gain weight when using a popular method of birth control, researchers say.

"For years, women have said that birth control causes them to gain weight but many doctors failed to take them seriously," said lead study author Dr. Aaron Lazorwitz. He's assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology and family planning at the University of Colorado School of...

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.

...

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...