Don’t Force Patients Off Opioids Abruptly, New Guidelines Say, Warning Of Severe Risks

There’s no doubt that opioids have been massively over prescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there’s been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient’s opioid prescription could harm them.

On Thursday, the agency issued new guidelines for physicians on how best to manage opioid prescriptions. They recommend a deliberate approach to lowering doses for chronic pain patients who have been on long-term opioid therapy.

Full story at NPR

‘New lead’ in hunt for better schizophrenia drugs

The so-called negative symptoms of schizophrenia, which include anhedonia, can be particularly debilitating. One recent study attempted to identify their neurological roots.

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects an estimated 1% of the United States population.

Scientists tend to divide symptoms into two broad categories: positive and negative.

Positive symptoms include delusions, racing thoughts, and hallucinations.

Full story at Medical News Today

In Russia, declines in alcohol consumption and mortality have gone hand in hand

Since the early 2000s, Russia has seen significant declines in overall alcohol consumption, and a new review shows that there has been a parallel, steep decline in the country’s mortality rates as well.

Much of this decline in drinking has been the result of economic factors, evolving patterns of alcohol consumption, and alcohol policies enacted by the government, according to the review, published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs.

In Russia today, life expectancy for men and women is 6.1 and 4.7 years longer, respectively, than it was in 1980, with alcohol consumption patterns playing a disproportionate role.

Full story at Medical Xpress

What to know about Xanax overdose

People take Xanax to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Taking too much Xanax can cause mild to serious side effects, and taking other drugs along with Xanax can increase the risk of overdose.

The generic name of Xanax is alprazolam. Along with its use for anxiety, some people use Xanax for sleeplessness, premenstrual disorder, and depression. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not currently approved the drug for these uses.

Some people have used Xanax for recreational purposes because it relieves anxiety. When people use drugs without a prescription, there is an increased risk of drug misuse and possible overdose.

Full story at Medical News Today

How long does Xanax last?

Alprazolam (Xanax) is a useful medication for certain mental health conditions. Xanax starts to work quickly, and it stays in the body long after the effects of one dose have worn off.

Doctors often prescribe Xanax for generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder. It is one of the most widely used medications for these conditions, and it belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, or “benzos.”

Xanax works by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter in the brain that increases feelings of calmness.

Full story at Medical News Today