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

Binge drinking affects 1 in 10 older adults in the US

Binge drinking affects more than one-tenth of older adults in the United States, according to new research.

Binge drinking can be harmful for older people because it increases the risk of injuries and falls and the chances of developing chronic health problems.

The new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study analyzed recent national survey data on alcohol use.

The analysis estimates that 10.6% of adults in the U.S. who are 65 years of age and older are “current binge drinkers.”

Full story at Medical News Today

Do antidepressants work better than placebo?

Scientists have been debating the efficacy of antidepressants for decades. The latest paper to throw its hat into the ring concludes that there is little evidence to show that they perform better than placebos.

In 2017, around 17.3 million adults in the United States experienced an episode of major depression.

Alongside talking therapies such as psychotherapy, many people with depression take antidepressants.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2011–2014 survey found that 12.7% of U.S. individuals aged 12 or above had taken antidepressant medication in the previous month.

Full story at Medical News Today

New psychosis treatment targets genetic mutation instead of symptoms

A novel treatment that targets the biological effects of a specific genetic mutation could help alleviate the symptoms of psychosis, a new study finds.

Deborah L. Levy, Ph.D. — from the McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA — led the new study, the findings of which now appear in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

It revealed that people who had additional copies of a certain gene, instead of the regular two, benefited from the treatment.

The mutation, called a copy number variant (CNV), affects the glycine decarboxylase gene.

Full story at Medical News Today