“The agency also updated its data this week on the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths in recent years. Take a look at the shift above —the darker the color, the higher the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths — and find the full data here.”
by Courtney Columbus
“When people take medicine at home, mistakes happen.
“Some people end up taking the wrong dose of a medication or the wrong pill. Sometimes, they don’t wait long enough before taking a second dose.
“Other times, it’s a health professional who’s at fault. A pharmacist might have dispensed a medication at the wrong concentration, for example.
“These kinds of mistakes are on the rise, according to a study published Monday in the journal Clinical Toxicology.
“The researchers looked at a small subset of the medication errors that happen in the U.S. every year. The FDA estimates that about 1.3 million people are injured by medication errors annually in the U.S.”
Click here to read this NPR article in its entirety.
Before starting on a new medication, be sure to ask your doctors these questions:
- How many times a day should I take it? At what time(s)? If the bottle says take “4 times a day,” does that mean 4 times in 24 hours or 4 times during the daytime?
- Should I take the medicine with food or not? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
- Will this medicine cause problems if I am taking other medicines?
- What does “as needed” mean?
- When should I stop taking the medicine?
- If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
- What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?
Learn more about medication safety.
And you can learn more by coming to this special FREE event on June 14!
This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is important to read.
“Illicit drug use generally declines as individuals move through young adulthood and into middle adulthood. Although the percentage of people with substance use disorder (SUD) reflects the decline in use as people age, more than 1 million individuals aged 65 or older (“older adults”) had an SUD in 2014, including 978,000 older adults with an alcohol use disorder and 161,000 with an illicit drug use disorder.
Research suggests that substance use is an emerging public health issue among the nation’s older adults. Illicit drug use among adults aged 50 or older is projected to increase from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent between 2001 and 2020. For example, the number of older Americans with SUD is expected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002–2006 to 5.7 million by 2020. The emergence of SUD as a public health concern among older adults reflects, in part, the relatively higher drug use rates of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) compared with previous generations. Thus, there is a cohort of older adults who may experience the negative consequences of substance use, including physical and mental health issues, social and family problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and death from drug overdose. Older adults are more likely than people in other age groups to have chronic health conditions and to take prescription medication, which may further complicate adverse effects of substance use.
Click here to continue reading this Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) Report.
by Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation
“Americans are divided along party lines in terms of the presidents they like, the news networks they watch, and even where they live. They disagree sharply on the Affordable Care Act and almost everything else in health care. But there is one issue Republicans and Democrats agree on: They want to lower the costs or prescription drugs.
“We just surveyed Americans on the issue as part of our latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll. As this chart shows, Republicans are almost as likely as Democrats, and more likely than independents, to pick lowering the costs of prescription drugs as a priority for President Trump and the Congress. It’s the number two priority in health for all Americans, just behind reducing out of pocket costs in general.”
Keep reading this Axios.com article, click here.
“Determined to rein in the opioid epidemic, CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat is introducing a new campaign to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse in America. The ads feature the stories of patients and families impacted by prescription drug overdoses. ‘A lot of times, [opioids] are prescribed without the patient asking or recognizing the harm,’ Schuchat tells STAT. Health officials are trying to encourage patients to talk to their doctors from the get-go when they’re prescribed opioids. ‘We want the public to be comfortable asking questions. And we don’t want it to be too late by the time that you’re hooked,’ Schuchat says. The videos will be initially be released in four states hit hard by prescription drug overdoses: West Virginia, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Ohio.
“A small number of people—about 6 percent—who had not been taking opioids before an operation, but got them to ease post-surgery pain, are still taking painkillers three to six months later. That’s long after what is considered normal for surgical recovery.
“Smokers and those who had a history of alcohol or drug issues were about 30 percent more likely to keep filling prescriptions. People with arthritis were more than 50 percent more likely to do so.
“A new study suggests that certain factors make these “opioid-naïve” surgery patients more likely … ”
Click here to continue reading this article at Futurity.org.
“Adverse Drug Reactions | How serious Is the problem and how often and why does it occur?” – WorstPills.org
“Although some adverse drug reactions (ADR) are not very serious, others cause the death, hospitalization, or serious injury of more than 2 million people in the United States each year, including more than 100,000 fatalities. In fact, adverse drug reactions are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Most of the time, these dangerous events could and should have been avoided. Even the less drastic reactions, such as change in mood, loss of appetite, and nausea, may seriously diminish the quality of life.
“Despite the fact that more adverse reactions occur in patients 60 or older, the odds of suffering an adverse drug reaction really begin to increase even before age 50. Almost half (49.5%) of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports of deaths from adverse drug reactions and 61% of hospitalizations from adverse drug reactions were in people younger than 60. Many physical changes that affect the way the body can handle drugs actually begin in people in their thirties, but the increased prescribing of drugs does not begin for most people until they enter their fifties. By then, the amount of prescription drug use starts increasing significantly, and therefore the odds of having an adverse drug reaction also increase. The risk of an adverse drug reaction is about 33% higher in people aged 50 to 59 than it is in people aged 40 to 49.
“Adverse Reactions to Drugs Cause Hospitalization of 1.5 Million Americans Each Year
Read this Worst Pills.org article in its entirety here.
An email from SocialSecurityWorks.org, states:
“Prescription drug companies are getting away with murder. The company who makes Xtandi, a prostate cancer medication developed with US tax dollars, costs $129,000 per year to Americans, yet only $30,000 to Canadians. This isn’t an isolated case. Americans pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs―over 40% more than Canada and often three times that of many European countries.
“Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill that would stop this madness by allowing individuals and pharmacies to import safe, FDA-approved drugs directly from Canada.”
Social Security Works exhorts you to “Tell Congress: Pass Bernie’s Bill to Lower Drug Prices.”
JUST RELEASED: “Polling Data Note: Beyond the ACA, the Affordability of Insurance Has Been Deteriorating Since 2015” – Kaiser Family Foundation
“The debate about the future of the Affordable Care Act and its individual insurance marketplaces may be taking the focus off the affordability challenges facing the broader population, most of whom get their health coverage through employers, Medicare, or Medicaid.
New survey findings from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that health care has become somewhat less affordable even among those with health insurance. Since 2015, larger shares of people with health insurance say they have a difficult time affording their health care costs: from 27 percent to 37 percent for premiums, 34 percent to 43 percent for deductibles, and from 24 percent to 31 percent for copays and prescription drugs.
Other findings include:
- About three in 10 adults (29%) report someone in their household has had problems paying medical bills in the past year, often with real consequences. For example, among those reporting problems paying medical bills, seven in 10 (73%) report cutting back spending on food, clothing, or basic household items, while about six in 10 report using up all or most of their savings (61%) or taking an extra job or working more hours (58%) to pay their bills.
- Concerns about cost are also affecting whether and when some people seek health care. For example, a quarter (27%) of the public says that they or a family member living in their household put off or delayed getting health care they needed in the past year due to costs, and nearly as many say they skipped a recommended medical test or treatment (23%) or did not fill a prescription (21%).
- Nearly half of Americans (45%) say they would have difficulty paying an unexpected $500 medical bill. This includes those who say they wouldn’t be able to pay it at all (19%), those who would put it on a credit card and pay it off over time (20%) and those who would have to borrow money from a bank, payday lender, or family or friends (7%). Among the uninsured and those with lower incomes, more than three in ten say they would not be able to pay a $500 bill at all.
- Significant shares of the public say they are “very worried” about not being able to afford health care services they think they need (25%), losing their health insurance (22%), or not being able to afford prescription drugs (21%). Overall, half say they are at least somewhat worried that they won’t be able to afford needed health care services.