Sales Soar for Fruity and Candy-Flavored Pods Made by Juul Competitors

Companies that make fruity and candy-flavored pods compatible with Juul devices are seeing big increases in sales, after Juul Labs stopped selling most of its flavored nicotine pods under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration, The New York Times reports.

These so-called “Juul-alikes” include pods made by Eonsmoke, which are cheaper than Juul’s products, and available in more flavors. Some of the company’s pods contain levels of nicotine higher than any Juul sells, the article notes.

Another competitor, Ziip, sells dozens of flavors compatible with Juul, including Froopy, Iced Pina Colada, Cinnamon Roll and Strawberry Lemonade.

Full story at Partnership for Drug Free Kids

Co-prescribing naloxone in Medicare Part D increases

The practice of co-prescribing the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to Medicare Part D patients who take opioids for chronic pain increased between 2016 and 2017, though such co-prescriptions were provided to only a small minority of patients who might benefit, according to research led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, all within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The study found that overall national rates for naloxone co-prescription along with any opioid among Medicare Part D patients increased from 1.5 per 1000 patients receiving opioid prescriptions in 2016 to 4.6 per 1000 in 2017.

In 2016, CDC released a guideline advising clinicians to consider co-prescribing naloxone to patients at increased overdose risk, such as those taking higher doses of opioids or those who also have prescriptions for benzodiazepines to treat anxiety. Consistent with these recommendations, the highest rates of co-prescribing were among patients receiving opioids at doses of more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day and benzodiazepines for more than 300 days. In addition, two states that mandated naloxone co-prescribing (Vermont and Virginia) have the highest rates of all U.S. states for co-prescribing.

Full story at National Institute of Drug Abuse

Focus boosting drugs not worth the risks, studies warn

Many younger adults use focus boosting drugs without a prescription to help them study and stay on track with work. However, new research suggests that such drugs bring healthy adults very few — and only short-lived — benefits while placing their cognitive health at risk in the long run.

“Adderall and other stimulants […] are the perfect chemical accomplice in a society that prizes productivity above all else,” notes a short article that featured last year in The Lancet.

Adderall is an amphetamine based drug that doctors prescribe to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy — a condition that causes people to fall asleep suddenly, even in the middle of the day.

Full story at Medical News Today

Adults who mix cannabis with opioids for pain report higher anxiety, depression

A researcher from the University of Houston has found that adults who take prescription opioids for severe pain are more likely to have increased anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues if they also use marijuana.

“Given the fact that cannabis potentially has analgesic properties, some people are turning to it to potentially manage their pain,” Andrew Rogers, said in describing the work published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Rogers focuses on the intersection of chronic pain and opioid use, and identifying the underlying psychological mechanisms, such as anxiety sensitivity, emotion regulation, pain-related anxiety, of these relationships. Rogers is a doctoral student in clinical psychology who works in the UH Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory and its Substance Use Treatment Clinic.

Under the guidance of advisor Michael Zvolensky, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professor of psychology and director of the lab and clinic, Rogers surveyed 450 adults throughout the United States who had experienced moderate to severe pain for more than three months. The study revealed not only elevated anxiety and depression symptoms, but also tobacco, alcohol, cocaine and sedative use among those who added the cannabis, compared with those who used opioids alone. No increased pain reduction was reported.

Full story at Science Daily

Physical fitness may help prevent depression, anxiety

Although there is evidence that exercise can boost mental health, scientists know less about whether physical fitness can prevent the onset of mental health conditions. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis take a closer look.

Common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, are a growing global issue.

They reduce overall wellbeing and life satisfaction, but they may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase mortality risk.

Although talking therapies and medication can help in many instances, they do not help everyone.

Full story at Medical News Today