Prescription size predicts persistent opioid use after cardiothoracic surgery

Prescription size is associated with increased new persistent opioid use among patients after cardiothoracic surgery, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Alexander A. Brescia, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues identified opioid-naive Medicare patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery between 2009 and 2015. They selected 24,549 patients who filled an opioid prescription between 30 days before surgery and 14 days after discharge and with continuous Medicare enrollment. The correlation for prescription size with new persistent opioid use was examined.

The researchers found that new persistent use was 12.8 percent overall and decreased annually, from 17 to 7.1 percent from 2009 to 2015. Associations with new persistent use were seen for prescription size, preoperative prescription fills, black race, gastrointestinal complications, disability status, open lung resection, dual eligibility (Medicare and Medicaid), drug and substance abuse, female sex, tobacco use, high comorbidity, pain disorders, longer hospital stay, and younger age. Among patients prescribed more than 450 oral morphine equivalents, adjusted new persistent use was 19.6 percent compared with 10.4 percent among those prescribed 200 oral morphine equivalents or less.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Alternative to ‘revolving door’ of opioid detox and relapse

In a first-ever randomized trial, patients at a short-term inpatient program began long-term outpatient treatment with buprenorphine before discharge, with better outcomes than detox patients.

Three out of four people who complete an inpatient opioid withdrawal management program — commonly known as “detox” — relapse within a month, leading to a “revolving door” effect. Few successfully transition from the inpatient setting to long-term treatment with proven medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone to prevent overdose.

But patients who start long-term buprenorphine treatment at a detox program, instead of going through detox and getting a referral for such treatment at discharge, are less likely to use opioids illicitly over the following six months, and more likely to keep up treatment, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher and published in the journal Addiction.

Full story at Science Daily

Dopamine and serotonin: Brain chemicals explained

Dopamine and serotonin are chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, that help regulate many bodily functions. They have roles in sleep and memory, as well as metabolism and emotional well-being.

People sometimes refer to dopamine and serotonin as the “happy hormones” due to the roles they play in regulating mood and emotion.

They are also involved in several mental health conditions, including low mood and depression.

Dopamine and serotonin are involved in similar bodily processes, but they operate differently. Imbalances of these chemicals can cause different medical conditions that require different treatments.

Full story at Medical News Today

Alzheimer’s in women: Could midlife stress play a role?

For reasons as yet unknown, Alzheimer’s disease is more likely to affect women. However, new research sheds light on the potential impact of stress on their cognitive functioning.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

Affecting millions of people in the United States, this progressive condition has no proven cause, treatment, or cure.

What researchers do know, however, is that women bear the brunt of the condition.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. individuals with Alzheimer’s are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Full story at Medical News Today

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