Hillary Clinton this week said she supports a plan by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to levy a tax on prescription opioids. Manchin says the tax would raise up to $2 billion annually, which would be used to expand access to opioid addiction treatment.
A panel of experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration is meeting this week to consider whether to require doctors to undergo training to prescribe opioid painkillers. Doctors’ groups have resisted mandatory training, The New York Times reports.
Opioid abuse could be costing U.S. employers up to $8 billion annually, according to a report by the benefits firm Castlight Health. Employees who abuse opioids cost employers almost twice as much in healthcare expenses on average, compared with workers who don’t abuse opioids, the report found.
A group of state health officials, doctors and consumer advocates is asking the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for changes to pain treatment guidelines to reduce the use of opioid painkillers.
The growing population of older adults who are taking many medications prescribed by different doctors, combined with the growing opioid epidemic, is contributing to the increasing problem of drug misuse among the elderly, according to Harry Hanoutunian, MD, Director of the Professional Program at the Betty Ford Center.
When the prescription opioid painkiller Opana ER was reformulated in 2012 to make it more difficult to crush and snort, the change led many people to abuse the drug by injection. The resulting increase in shared needles led to a spike in cases of HIV, according to NPR.
A hospital emergency room in New Jersey has started a program that treats most patients without opioids before considering using them. In the first two months, 75 percent of the 300 patients have gone through the program did not need opioids, according to the Associated Press.
State legislatures should require doctors to use state-run databases that track patients’ history of opioid and sedative prescriptions, according to a report by the advocacy group Shatterproof. Earlier this month, the White House sent letters to governors recommending they require doctors to check the databases before prescribing these drugs, the Associated Press reports.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday it will require immediate-release opioid painkillers to carry a “black box” warning about the risk of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death, CNN reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines Tuesday that recommend primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain, according to USA Today. The risks from opioids greatly outweigh the benefits for most people, the CDC says.
The maker of the long-acting painkiller Opana ER has agreed to stop marketing the drug as crush-resistant, under a settlement with New York State. The company also agreed to accurately describe the risk of addiction to the drug, Reuters reports.
A new study suggests that in some patients undergoing a total knee replacement, taking opioid painkillers before the operation may increase the risk of being on opioids much longer afterwards. The drugs may also increase the risk of complications after surgery, Medscape reports.
Doctors who write many more prescriptions than their peers for potentially addictive drugs, such as opioids or stimulants, are not likely to reduce the number they write after they receive a warning from the government, a new study finds.
The new head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Robert Califf, told a panel of advisers this week that the agency will support the development of abuse-deterrent opioids, the Associated Press reports.