Tag Archives: Reports

CDC Vital Signs Reports: Opioid Painkiller Prescribing Varies Widely Among States


Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012 – many more in some states than in others – according to a Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlights the danger of overdose. The report also has an example of a state that reversed its overdose trend.

Health care providers in the highest prescribing state, Alabama, wrote almost three times as many of these prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, Hawaii. Most of the highest prescribing states were in the South. Previous research has shown that regional variation in use of prescriptions cannot be explained by the underlying health status of the population.

The Vital Signs report also contains a study highlighting the success of Florida in reversing prescription drug overdose trends. Results showed that after statewide legislative and enforcement actions in 2010 and 2011, the death rate from prescription drug overdose decreased 23 percent between 2010 and 2012. Florida officials had taken these actions in response to a 28 percent increase in the drug overdose death rate over the preceding years (2006-2010).

Declines in death rates in Florida for specific prescription painkillers (oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone) and sedatives paralleled declines in prescribing rates for those drugs. This report was based on Florida Medical Examiners Commission data from 2006 to 2012 and IMS Health National Prescription Audit data from 2008 to 2012.

“Prescription drug overdose is epidemic in the United States. All too often, and in far too many communities, the treatment is becoming the problem,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overdose rates are higher where these drugs are prescribed more frequently. States and practices where prescribing rates are highest need to take a particularly hard look at ways to reduce the inappropriate prescription of these dangerous drugs.”

For this Vital Signs report, CDC analyzed 2012 prescribing data collected from retail pharmacies in the United States by a commercial vendor. CDC calculated prescribing rates by state for various types of opioid painkillers.

Key findings include:


Southern states – Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia in particular – had the most painkiller prescriptions per person.

The Northeast, especially Maine and New Hampshire, had the most prescriptions per person for long-acting/extended-release painkillers and for high-dose painkillers.

State variation was the greatest for oxymorphone (a specific type of painkiller), among all prescription painkillers. Nearly 22 times as many prescriptions were written for oxymorphone in Tennessee as were written in Minnesota.

“We know we can do better. State variation in prescribing shows us that the overprescribing of opioids can be reduced safely and feasibly,” said Daniel M. Sosin, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Improving how opioids are prescribed will help us prevent the 46 prescription painkiller overdose deaths that occur each day in the United States.”

Previous research has shown that state variation does not necessarily translate to better health outcomes or patient satisfaction. In fact, high rates of use might produce worse outcomes.

Steps that states can take to address the overprescribing of painkillers include:

Considering ways to increase use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which are state-run databases that track prescriptions for painkillers and can help find problems in overprescribing. Impact of these programs is greater when they make data available in real time, are universal (used by all prescribers for all prescriptions for all controlled substances), and are actively managed (for example, send alerts to prescribers when problems are identified).

Considering policy options, including laws and regulation, relating to pain clinics to reduce prescribing practices that are risky to patients.

Evaluating their own data and programs and considering ways to assess their Medicaid, workers’ compensation programs, and other state-run health plans to detect and address inappropriate prescribing of painkillers.

Identifying opportunities to increase access to substance abuse treatment and considering expanding first responder access to naloxone, a drug used when people overdose.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day. For more information about prescription drug overdoses, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose.

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care–associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral hepatitis.

###







Recent Reports State That 19 Million Americans Abuse Prescription Drugs; FDA and Novus Medical Detox Agree That Education is Needed


New Port Richey, FL (PRWEB) August 11, 2014

Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 46 Americans die every day from prescription drug overdose, which adds up to about 17,000 deaths annually. The reports also state that poisonings by drug overdose have tripled over the past 30 years. (1) Novus Medical Detox, one of the only Florida-based detox centers serving high-dosage drug abuse patients, states that the reason behind the high number of fatalities lies in inadequate drug education.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carries this same belief, and has responded by implementing a new drug education program. The program seeks to educate doctors who prescribe these highly-addictive painkillers, as well as the patients who are taking them. The program’s mission is “to teach doctors about proper opiate prescribing for pain patients to minimize the risks of diversion and addiction.” (4)

The United Nation’s World Drug Report 2014 stated that in 2012, 6.1% (19 million) of Americans abused prescription opioids, including morphine, codeine, OxyContin and Vicodin. This figure categorizes the United States as a country that abuses prescription drugs more than any other country in the world. (2) In an effort to lower the number of people harmed by these drugs, Novus warns Americans to exercise caution when receiving a new prescription from a physician, and to ask questions related to its side effects.

“Intentionally or not, Americans may be underestimating the highly addictive nature of drugs such as opioids,” stated Novus Executive Director Kent Runyon. “It may start as nothing more than filling a prescription for legitimate pain, but overdose may result when a patient seeks to elicit a stronger high from these drugs.”

Novus recommends that the following steps be taken when being prescribed a new medication (3):

●    Be sure that the prescription comes from a trusted physician;

●    Only use the medication as prescribed;

●    Ask the physician about the medicine and its effects;

●    Conduct your own research about the drug’s effects; and

●    Be prepared—ask your doctor what to do if one becomes addicted.

All of these tips are important to heed before a patient starts to take a medication, because addiction may begin with the patient being unaware of a medication’s initial effects. This patient may begin to take pills more liberally than prescribed, and the dangers of addiction do not lie far behind.

Runyon maintains that comprehensive drug education, starting in grade school and continuing throughout adult life to physician visits, can help to significantly reduce the number of Americans addicted to such drugs.

While new preventative measures are being taken, Novus recommends looking out for the following symptoms or behaviors (but not limited to), if someone suspects that a loved one is abusing pain reliever prescription drugs (5):

●    Nausea, drowsiness;

●    Mood swings and anxiety;

●    Slowed reactions, movement and breathing;

●    Jittery or secretive; and/or

●    Neglect of work/school responsibilities.

Runyon advises those who are dependent upon any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs, and to use those with integrated medicine that allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox’s addiction and detox programs, visit http://www.NovusDetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

1.Hutchins, Sarah. “Drug Overdose: Prescription Painkillers Poison 46 Americans Every Day.” Liberty Voice, 20 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. guardianlv.com/2014/07/drug-overdose-prescription-painkillers-poison-46-americans-every-day/.

2.Blake, Matthew. “Extent of US Dependency on Prescription Drugs Revealed: UN Report Shows 6% of American Adults Hooked on Pills.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 07 July 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683318/Extent-US-dependency-prescription-drugs-revealed-UN-report-shows-6-American-adults-hooked-pills.html.

3.Winkel, Bethany. “Avoiding Prescription Drug Abuse—Treatment Solutions.” Treatment Solutions. N.p., 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 23 July 2014. treatmentsolutions.com/avoiding-prescription-drug-abuse/.

4.Sack, David. “FDA Prescription Drug Abuse Plan Hits—and Misses—the Mark—Addiction Recovery.” Addiction Recovery with David Sack, M.D. Psych Central.com, 7 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/07/fda-prescription-drug-abuse-plan-hits-and-misses-the-mark/.

5.“Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse.” Narconon International, n.d. Web. 22 July 2014. narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-pain-relievers.html.







Recent Reports State That 19 Million Americans Abuse Prescription Drugs; FDA and Novus Medical Detox Agree That Education is Needed


New Port Richey, FL (PRWEB) August 11, 2014

Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 46 Americans die every day from prescription drug overdose, which adds up to about 17,000 deaths annually. The reports also state that poisonings by drug overdose have tripled over the past 30 years. (1) Novus Medical Detox, one of the only Florida-based detox centers serving high-dosage drug abuse patients, states that the reason behind the high number of fatalities lies in inadequate drug education.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carries this same belief, and has responded by implementing a new drug education program. The program seeks to educate doctors who prescribe these highly-addictive painkillers, as well as the patients who are taking them. The program’s mission is “to teach doctors about proper opiate prescribing for pain patients to minimize the risks of diversion and addiction.” (4)

The United Nation’s World Drug Report 2014 stated that in 2012, 6.1% (19 million) of Americans abused prescription opioids, including morphine, codeine, OxyContin and Vicodin. This figure categorizes the United States as a country that abuses prescription drugs more than any other country in the world. (2) In an effort to lower the number of people harmed by these drugs, Novus warns Americans to exercise caution when receiving a new prescription from a physician, and to ask questions related to its side effects.

“Intentionally or not, Americans may be underestimating the highly addictive nature of drugs such as opioids,” stated Novus Executive Director Kent Runyon. “It may start as nothing more than filling a prescription for legitimate pain, but overdose may result when a patient seeks to elicit a stronger high from these drugs.”

Novus recommends that the following steps be taken when being prescribed a new medication (3):

●    Be sure that the prescription comes from a trusted physician;

●    Only use the medication as prescribed;

●    Ask the physician about the medicine and its effects;

●    Conduct your own research about the drug’s effects; and

●    Be prepared—ask your doctor what to do if one becomes addicted.

All of these tips are important to heed before a patient starts to take a medication, because addiction may begin with the patient being unaware of a medication’s initial effects. This patient may begin to take pills more liberally than prescribed, and the dangers of addiction do not lie far behind.

Runyon maintains that comprehensive drug education, starting in grade school and continuing throughout adult life to physician visits, can help to significantly reduce the number of Americans addicted to such drugs.

While new preventative measures are being taken, Novus recommends looking out for the following symptoms or behaviors (but not limited to), if someone suspects that a loved one is abusing pain reliever prescription drugs (5):

●    Nausea, drowsiness;

●    Mood swings and anxiety;

●    Slowed reactions, movement and breathing;

●    Jittery or secretive; and/or

●    Neglect of work/school responsibilities.

Runyon advises those who are dependent upon any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs, and to use those with integrated medicine that allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox’s addiction and detox programs, visit http://www.NovusDetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

1.Hutchins, Sarah. “Drug Overdose: Prescription Painkillers Poison 46 Americans Every Day.” Liberty Voice, 20 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. guardianlv.com/2014/07/drug-overdose-prescription-painkillers-poison-46-americans-every-day/.

2.Blake, Matthew. “Extent of US Dependency on Prescription Drugs Revealed: UN Report Shows 6% of American Adults Hooked on Pills.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 07 July 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683318/Extent-US-dependency-prescription-drugs-revealed-UN-report-shows-6-American-adults-hooked-pills.html.

3.Winkel, Bethany. “Avoiding Prescription Drug Abuse—Treatment Solutions.” Treatment Solutions. N.p., 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 23 July 2014. treatmentsolutions.com/avoiding-prescription-drug-abuse/.

4.Sack, David. “FDA Prescription Drug Abuse Plan Hits—and Misses—the Mark—Addiction Recovery.” Addiction Recovery with David Sack, M.D. Psych Central.com, 7 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/07/fda-prescription-drug-abuse-plan-hits-and-misses-the-mark/.

5.“Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse.” Narconon International, n.d. Web. 22 July 2014. narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-pain-relievers.html.







CDC Vital Signs Reports: Opioid Painkiller Prescribing Varies Widely Among States


Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012 – many more in some states than in others – according to a Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlights the danger of overdose. The report also has an example of a state that reversed its overdose trend.

Health care providers in the highest prescribing state, Alabama, wrote almost three times as many of these prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, Hawaii. Most of the highest prescribing states were in the South. Previous research has shown that regional variation in use of prescriptions cannot be explained by the underlying health status of the population.

The Vital Signs report also contains a study highlighting the success of Florida in reversing prescription drug overdose trends. Results showed that after statewide legislative and enforcement actions in 2010 and 2011, the death rate from prescription drug overdose decreased 23 percent between 2010 and 2012. Florida officials had taken these actions in response to a 28 percent increase in the drug overdose death rate over the preceding years (2006-2010).

Declines in death rates in Florida for specific prescription painkillers (oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone) and sedatives paralleled declines in prescribing rates for those drugs. This report was based on Florida Medical Examiners Commission data from 2006 to 2012 and IMS Health National Prescription Audit data from 2008 to 2012.

“Prescription drug overdose is epidemic in the United States. All too often, and in far too many communities, the treatment is becoming the problem,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overdose rates are higher where these drugs are prescribed more frequently. States and practices where prescribing rates are highest need to take a particularly hard look at ways to reduce the inappropriate prescription of these dangerous drugs.”

For this Vital Signs report, CDC analyzed 2012 prescribing data collected from retail pharmacies in the United States by a commercial vendor. CDC calculated prescribing rates by state for various types of opioid painkillers.

Key findings include:


Southern states – Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia in particular – had the most painkiller prescriptions per person.

The Northeast, especially Maine and New Hampshire, had the most prescriptions per person for long-acting/extended-release painkillers and for high-dose painkillers.

State variation was the greatest for oxymorphone (a specific type of painkiller), among all prescription painkillers. Nearly 22 times as many prescriptions were written for oxymorphone in Tennessee as were written in Minnesota.

“We know we can do better. State variation in prescribing shows us that the overprescribing of opioids can be reduced safely and feasibly,” said Daniel M. Sosin, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Improving how opioids are prescribed will help us prevent the 46 prescription painkiller overdose deaths that occur each day in the United States.”

Previous research has shown that state variation does not necessarily translate to better health outcomes or patient satisfaction. In fact, high rates of use might produce worse outcomes.

Steps that states can take to address the overprescribing of painkillers include:

Considering ways to increase use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which are state-run databases that track prescriptions for painkillers and can help find problems in overprescribing. Impact of these programs is greater when they make data available in real time, are universal (used by all prescribers for all prescriptions for all controlled substances), and are actively managed (for example, send alerts to prescribers when problems are identified).

Considering policy options, including laws and regulation, relating to pain clinics to reduce prescribing practices that are risky to patients.

Evaluating their own data and programs and considering ways to assess their Medicaid, workers’ compensation programs, and other state-run health plans to detect and address inappropriate prescribing of painkillers.

Identifying opportunities to increase access to substance abuse treatment and considering expanding first responder access to naloxone, a drug used when people overdose.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day. For more information about prescription drug overdoses, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose.

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care–associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral hepatitis.

###







CDC Vital Signs Reports: Opioid Painkiller Prescribing Varies Widely Among States


Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012 – many more in some states than in others – according to a Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlights the danger of overdose. The report also has an example of a state that reversed its overdose trend.

Health care providers in the highest prescribing state, Alabama, wrote almost three times as many of these prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, Hawaii. Most of the highest prescribing states were in the South. Previous research has shown that regional variation in use of prescriptions cannot be explained by the underlying health status of the population.

The Vital Signs report also contains a study highlighting the success of Florida in reversing prescription drug overdose trends. Results showed that after statewide legislative and enforcement actions in 2010 and 2011, the death rate from prescription drug overdose decreased 23 percent between 2010 and 2012. Florida officials had taken these actions in response to a 28 percent increase in the drug overdose death rate over the preceding years (2006-2010).

Declines in death rates in Florida for specific prescription painkillers (oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone) and sedatives paralleled declines in prescribing rates for those drugs. This report was based on Florida Medical Examiners Commission data from 2006 to 2012 and IMS Health National Prescription Audit data from 2008 to 2012.

“Prescription drug overdose is epidemic in the United States. All too often, and in far too many communities, the treatment is becoming the problem,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overdose rates are higher where these drugs are prescribed more frequently. States and practices where prescribing rates are highest need to take a particularly hard look at ways to reduce the inappropriate prescription of these dangerous drugs.”

For this Vital Signs report, CDC analyzed 2012 prescribing data collected from retail pharmacies in the United States by a commercial vendor. CDC calculated prescribing rates by state for various types of opioid painkillers.

Key findings include:


Southern states – Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia in particular – had the most painkiller prescriptions per person.

The Northeast, especially Maine and New Hampshire, had the most prescriptions per person for long-acting/extended-release painkillers and for high-dose painkillers.

State variation was the greatest for oxymorphone (a specific type of painkiller), among all prescription painkillers. Nearly 22 times as many prescriptions were written for oxymorphone in Tennessee as were written in Minnesota.

“We know we can do better. State variation in prescribing shows us that the overprescribing of opioids can be reduced safely and feasibly,” said Daniel M. Sosin, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Improving how opioids are prescribed will help us prevent the 46 prescription painkiller overdose deaths that occur each day in the United States.”

Previous research has shown that state variation does not necessarily translate to better health outcomes or patient satisfaction. In fact, high rates of use might produce worse outcomes.

Steps that states can take to address the overprescribing of painkillers include:

Considering ways to increase use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which are state-run databases that track prescriptions for painkillers and can help find problems in overprescribing. Impact of these programs is greater when they make data available in real time, are universal (used by all prescribers for all prescriptions for all controlled substances), and are actively managed (for example, send alerts to prescribers when problems are identified).

Considering policy options, including laws and regulation, relating to pain clinics to reduce prescribing practices that are risky to patients.

Evaluating their own data and programs and considering ways to assess their Medicaid, workers’ compensation programs, and other state-run health plans to detect and address inappropriate prescribing of painkillers.

Identifying opportunities to increase access to substance abuse treatment and considering expanding first responder access to naloxone, a drug used when people overdose.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day. For more information about prescription drug overdoses, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose.

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care–associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral hepatitis.

###







Alleged Overuse of Risperdal and Other Medications Sparks Federal Nursing Home Lawsuit, Bernstein Liebhard LLP Reports


New York, New York (PRWEB) September 08, 2014

Federal prosecutors have alleged that two California nursing homes inappropriately administered Risperdal (http://www.therisperdallawsuit.com/) and other medications to their patients, Bernstein Liebhard LLP reports. According to a lawsuit filed late last month in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, a number of elderly residents at the two facilities were allegedly treated with antipsychotic, psychotropic, and/or narcotic medications without the consent of their physicians or family members. In one case, an 86-year-old man became bedridden, stopped eating and developed bedsores and infections after he was treated with Risperdal and Haldol to control agitation. Within weeks of his admission to the facility, the resident was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of heart failure, a known side effect of antipsychotics in the elderly, the complaint charges.(Case No. 3:14-cv-03946)

According to a report from NPR, advocates for nursing home patients are hopeful that prosecutions such as this will discourage skilled nursing facilities from overmedicating their residents. While the labels for antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal warn that they can increase the risk of death in elderly dementia patients, about a fifth of nursing home residents nationwide are treated with such medications.*

“The filing of this complaint comes as hundreds of people pursue individual Risperdal lawsuits for gynecomastia and other complications allegedly caused by the antipsychotic medication. Among other things, these claims charge that the drug was improperly marketed for unapproved uses, including the treatment of elderly dementia patients,” says Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing the victims of defective drugs and medical devices. The Firm is currently offering free legal consultations to men and boys who allegedly developed gynecomastia, or male breast growth, due to their use of Risperdal.

Risperdal Gynecomastia Litigation

Court records indicate that the majority of individual Risperdal lawsuits are pending in a mass tort litigation now underway in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing cases. Among other things, the complaints accuse Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of concealing the association between Risperdal and male breast growth, and of failing to warn doctors and patients about this potential risk. (In Re: Risperdal Litigation, Case Number 100300296).

In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $ 2.2 million to settle charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice involving the marketing of Risperdal and other medications. Among other things, the company pled guilty to a criminal misdemeanor and acknowledged that it had improperly marketed Risperdal for use in elderly dementia patients. However, Johnson & Johnson did not admit any wrongdoing in resolving civil charges regarding the promotion of Risperdal for off-label use in children. (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 04-cv-1529)

Men and boys who allegedly developed gynecomastia due to their use of Risperdal may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more. To learn more about filing a Risperdal lawsuit, please contact the Firm by calling 800-511-5092.

*ripr.org/post/feds-hope-hitting-nursing-homes-wallet-will-cut-overmedication, NPR, September 8, 2014

About Bernstein Liebhard LLP

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is a New York-based law firm exclusively representing injured persons in complex individual and class action lawsuits nationwide since 1993. As a national law firm, Bernstein Liebhard LLP possesses all of the legal and financial resources required to successfully challenge billion dollar pharmaceutical and medical device companies. As a result, our attorneys and legal staff have been able to recover more than $ 3 billion on behalf of our clients. The Firm has been named by The National Law Journal to the Plaintiffs’ Hot List, recognizing the top plaintiffs firms in the country, for the past 12 consecutive years. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is the only firm in the country to be named to this prestigious list every year since it was first published in 2003.

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CDC Vital Signs Reports: Opioid Painkiller Prescribing Varies Widely Among States


Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012 – many more in some states than in others – according to a Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlights the danger of overdose. The report also has an example of a state that reversed its overdose trend.

Health care providers in the highest prescribing state, Alabama, wrote almost three times as many of these prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, Hawaii. Most of the highest prescribing states were in the South. Previous research has shown that regional variation in use of prescriptions cannot be explained by the underlying health status of the population.

The Vital Signs report also contains a study highlighting the success of Florida in reversing prescription drug overdose trends. Results showed that after statewide legislative and enforcement actions in 2010 and 2011, the death rate from prescription drug overdose decreased 23 percent between 2010 and 2012. Florida officials had taken these actions in response to a 28 percent increase in the drug overdose death rate over the preceding years (2006-2010).

Declines in death rates in Florida for specific prescription painkillers (oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone) and sedatives paralleled declines in prescribing rates for those drugs. This report was based on Florida Medical Examiners Commission data from 2006 to 2012 and IMS Health National Prescription Audit data from 2008 to 2012.

“Prescription drug overdose is epidemic in the United States. All too often, and in far too many communities, the treatment is becoming the problem,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overdose rates are higher where these drugs are prescribed more frequently. States and practices where prescribing rates are highest need to take a particularly hard look at ways to reduce the inappropriate prescription of these dangerous drugs.”

For this Vital Signs report, CDC analyzed 2012 prescribing data collected from retail pharmacies in the United States by a commercial vendor. CDC calculated prescribing rates by state for various types of opioid painkillers.

Key findings include:


Southern states – Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia in particular – had the most painkiller prescriptions per person.

The Northeast, especially Maine and New Hampshire, had the most prescriptions per person for long-acting/extended-release painkillers and for high-dose painkillers.

State variation was the greatest for oxymorphone (a specific type of painkiller), among all prescription painkillers. Nearly 22 times as many prescriptions were written for oxymorphone in Tennessee as were written in Minnesota.

“We know we can do better. State variation in prescribing shows us that the overprescribing of opioids can be reduced safely and feasibly,” said Daniel M. Sosin, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Improving how opioids are prescribed will help us prevent the 46 prescription painkiller overdose deaths that occur each day in the United States.”

Previous research has shown that state variation does not necessarily translate to better health outcomes or patient satisfaction. In fact, high rates of use might produce worse outcomes.

Steps that states can take to address the overprescribing of painkillers include:

Considering ways to increase use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which are state-run databases that track prescriptions for painkillers and can help find problems in overprescribing. Impact of these programs is greater when they make data available in real time, are universal (used by all prescribers for all prescriptions for all controlled substances), and are actively managed (for example, send alerts to prescribers when problems are identified).

Considering policy options, including laws and regulation, relating to pain clinics to reduce prescribing practices that are risky to patients.

Evaluating their own data and programs and considering ways to assess their Medicaid, workers’ compensation programs, and other state-run health plans to detect and address inappropriate prescribing of painkillers.

Identifying opportunities to increase access to substance abuse treatment and considering expanding first responder access to naloxone, a drug used when people overdose.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day. For more information about prescription drug overdoses, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose.

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care–associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral hepatitis.

###







Recent Reports State That 19 Million Americans Abuse Prescription Drugs; FDA and Novus Medical Detox Agree That Education is Needed


New Port Richey, FL (PRWEB) August 11, 2014

Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 46 Americans die every day from prescription drug overdose, which adds up to about 17,000 deaths annually. The reports also state that poisonings by drug overdose have tripled over the past 30 years. (1) Novus Medical Detox, one of the only Florida-based detox centers serving high-dosage drug abuse patients, states that the reason behind the high number of fatalities lies in inadequate drug education.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carries this same belief, and has responded by implementing a new drug education program. The program seeks to educate doctors who prescribe these highly-addictive painkillers, as well as the patients who are taking them. The program’s mission is “to teach doctors about proper opiate prescribing for pain patients to minimize the risks of diversion and addiction.” (4)

The United Nation’s World Drug Report 2014 stated that in 2012, 6.1% (19 million) of Americans abused prescription opioids, including morphine, codeine, OxyContin and Vicodin. This figure categorizes the United States as a country that abuses prescription drugs more than any other country in the world. (2) In an effort to lower the number of people harmed by these drugs, Novus warns Americans to exercise caution when receiving a new prescription from a physician, and to ask questions related to its side effects.

“Intentionally or not, Americans may be underestimating the highly addictive nature of drugs such as opioids,” stated Novus Executive Director Kent Runyon. “It may start as nothing more than filling a prescription for legitimate pain, but overdose may result when a patient seeks to elicit a stronger high from these drugs.”

Novus recommends that the following steps be taken when being prescribed a new medication (3):

●    Be sure that the prescription comes from a trusted physician;

●    Only use the medication as prescribed;

●    Ask the physician about the medicine and its effects;

●    Conduct your own research about the drug’s effects; and

●    Be prepared—ask your doctor what to do if one becomes addicted.

All of these tips are important to heed before a patient starts to take a medication, because addiction may begin with the patient being unaware of a medication’s initial effects. This patient may begin to take pills more liberally than prescribed, and the dangers of addiction do not lie far behind.

Runyon maintains that comprehensive drug education, starting in grade school and continuing throughout adult life to physician visits, can help to significantly reduce the number of Americans addicted to such drugs.

While new preventative measures are being taken, Novus recommends looking out for the following symptoms or behaviors (but not limited to), if someone suspects that a loved one is abusing pain reliever prescription drugs (5):

●    Nausea, drowsiness;

●    Mood swings and anxiety;

●    Slowed reactions, movement and breathing;

●    Jittery or secretive; and/or

●    Neglect of work/school responsibilities.

Runyon advises those who are dependent upon any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs, and to use those with integrated medicine that allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox’s addiction and detox programs, visit http://www.NovusDetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

1.Hutchins, Sarah. “Drug Overdose: Prescription Painkillers Poison 46 Americans Every Day.” Liberty Voice, 20 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. guardianlv.com/2014/07/drug-overdose-prescription-painkillers-poison-46-americans-every-day/.

2.Blake, Matthew. “Extent of US Dependency on Prescription Drugs Revealed: UN Report Shows 6% of American Adults Hooked on Pills.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 07 July 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683318/Extent-US-dependency-prescription-drugs-revealed-UN-report-shows-6-American-adults-hooked-pills.html.

3.Winkel, Bethany. “Avoiding Prescription Drug Abuse—Treatment Solutions.” Treatment Solutions. N.p., 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 23 July 2014. treatmentsolutions.com/avoiding-prescription-drug-abuse/.

4.Sack, David. “FDA Prescription Drug Abuse Plan Hits—and Misses—the Mark—Addiction Recovery.” Addiction Recovery with David Sack, M.D. Psych Central.com, 7 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/07/fda-prescription-drug-abuse-plan-hits-and-misses-the-mark/.

5.“Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse.” Narconon International, n.d. Web. 22 July 2014. narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-pain-relievers.html.







Recent Reports State That 19 Million Americans Abuse Prescription Drugs; FDA and Novus Medical Detox Agree That Education is Needed


New Port Richey, FL (PRWEB) August 11, 2014

Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 46 Americans die every day from prescription drug overdose, which adds up to about 17,000 deaths annually. The reports also state that poisonings by drug overdose have tripled over the past 30 years. (1) Novus Medical Detox, one of the only Florida-based detox centers serving high-dosage drug abuse patients, states that the reason behind the high number of fatalities lies in inadequate drug education.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carries this same belief, and has responded by implementing a new drug education program. The program seeks to educate doctors who prescribe these highly-addictive painkillers, as well as the patients who are taking them. The program’s mission is “to teach doctors about proper opiate prescribing for pain patients to minimize the risks of diversion and addiction.” (4)

The United Nation’s World Drug Report 2014 stated that in 2012, 6.1% (19 million) of Americans abused prescription opioids, including morphine, codeine, OxyContin and Vicodin. This figure categorizes the United States as a country that abuses prescription drugs more than any other country in the world. (2) In an effort to lower the number of people harmed by these drugs, Novus warns Americans to exercise caution when receiving a new prescription from a physician, and to ask questions related to its side effects.

“Intentionally or not, Americans may be underestimating the highly addictive nature of drugs such as opioids,” stated Novus Executive Director Kent Runyon. “It may start as nothing more than filling a prescription for legitimate pain, but overdose may result when a patient seeks to elicit a stronger high from these drugs.”

Novus recommends that the following steps be taken when being prescribed a new medication (3):

●    Be sure that the prescription comes from a trusted physician;

●    Only use the medication as prescribed;

●    Ask the physician about the medicine and its effects;

●    Conduct your own research about the drug’s effects; and

●    Be prepared—ask your doctor what to do if one becomes addicted.

All of these tips are important to heed before a patient starts to take a medication, because addiction may begin with the patient being unaware of a medication’s initial effects. This patient may begin to take pills more liberally than prescribed, and the dangers of addiction do not lie far behind.

Runyon maintains that comprehensive drug education, starting in grade school and continuing throughout adult life to physician visits, can help to significantly reduce the number of Americans addicted to such drugs.

While new preventative measures are being taken, Novus recommends looking out for the following symptoms or behaviors (but not limited to), if someone suspects that a loved one is abusing pain reliever prescription drugs (5):

●    Nausea, drowsiness;

●    Mood swings and anxiety;

●    Slowed reactions, movement and breathing;

●    Jittery or secretive; and/or

●    Neglect of work/school responsibilities.

Runyon advises those who are dependent upon any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs, and to use those with integrated medicine that allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox’s addiction and detox programs, visit http://www.NovusDetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

1.Hutchins, Sarah. “Drug Overdose: Prescription Painkillers Poison 46 Americans Every Day.” Liberty Voice, 20 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. guardianlv.com/2014/07/drug-overdose-prescription-painkillers-poison-46-americans-every-day/.

2.Blake, Matthew. “Extent of US Dependency on Prescription Drugs Revealed: UN Report Shows 6% of American Adults Hooked on Pills.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 07 July 2014. Web. 21 July 2014. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683318/Extent-US-dependency-prescription-drugs-revealed-UN-report-shows-6-American-adults-hooked-pills.html.

3.Winkel, Bethany. “Avoiding Prescription Drug Abuse—Treatment Solutions.” Treatment Solutions. N.p., 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 23 July 2014. treatmentsolutions.com/avoiding-prescription-drug-abuse/.

4.Sack, David. “FDA Prescription Drug Abuse Plan Hits—and Misses—the Mark—Addiction Recovery.” Addiction Recovery with David Sack, M.D. Psych Central.com, 7 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/07/fda-prescription-drug-abuse-plan-hits-and-misses-the-mark/.

5.“Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse.” Narconon International, n.d. Web. 22 July 2014. narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-pain-relievers.html.







Alleged Overuse of Risperdal and Other Medications Sparks Federal Nursing Home Lawsuit, Bernstein Liebhard LLP Reports


New York, New York (PRWEB) September 08, 2014

Federal prosecutors have alleged that two California nursing homes inappropriately administered Risperdal (http://www.therisperdallawsuit.com/) and other medications to their patients, Bernstein Liebhard LLP reports. According to a lawsuit filed late last month in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, a number of elderly residents at the two facilities were allegedly treated with antipsychotic, psychotropic, and/or narcotic medications without the consent of their physicians or family members. In one case, an 86-year-old man became bedridden, stopped eating and developed bedsores and infections after he was treated with Risperdal and Haldol to control agitation. Within weeks of his admission to the facility, the resident was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of heart failure, a known side effect of antipsychotics in the elderly, the complaint charges.(Case No. 3:14-cv-03946)

According to a report from NPR, advocates for nursing home patients are hopeful that prosecutions such as this will discourage skilled nursing facilities from overmedicating their residents. While the labels for antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal warn that they can increase the risk of death in elderly dementia patients, about a fifth of nursing home residents nationwide are treated with such medications.*

“The filing of this complaint comes as hundreds of people pursue individual Risperdal lawsuits for gynecomastia and other complications allegedly caused by the antipsychotic medication. Among other things, these claims charge that the drug was improperly marketed for unapproved uses, including the treatment of elderly dementia patients,” says Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing the victims of defective drugs and medical devices. The Firm is currently offering free legal consultations to men and boys who allegedly developed gynecomastia, or male breast growth, due to their use of Risperdal.

Risperdal Gynecomastia Litigation

Court records indicate that the majority of individual Risperdal lawsuits are pending in a mass tort litigation now underway in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing cases. Among other things, the complaints accuse Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of concealing the association between Risperdal and male breast growth, and of failing to warn doctors and patients about this potential risk. (In Re: Risperdal Litigation, Case Number 100300296).

In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $ 2.2 million to settle charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice involving the marketing of Risperdal and other medications. Among other things, the company pled guilty to a criminal misdemeanor and acknowledged that it had improperly marketed Risperdal for use in elderly dementia patients. However, Johnson & Johnson did not admit any wrongdoing in resolving civil charges regarding the promotion of Risperdal for off-label use in children. (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 04-cv-1529)

Men and boys who allegedly developed gynecomastia due to their use of Risperdal may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more. To learn more about filing a Risperdal lawsuit, please contact the Firm by calling 800-511-5092.

*ripr.org/post/feds-hope-hitting-nursing-homes-wallet-will-cut-overmedication, NPR, September 8, 2014

About Bernstein Liebhard LLP

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is a New York-based law firm exclusively representing injured persons in complex individual and class action lawsuits nationwide since 1993. As a national law firm, Bernstein Liebhard LLP possesses all of the legal and financial resources required to successfully challenge billion dollar pharmaceutical and medical device companies. As a result, our attorneys and legal staff have been able to recover more than $ 3 billion on behalf of our clients. The Firm has been named by The National Law Journal to the Plaintiffs’ Hot List, recognizing the top plaintiffs firms in the country, for the past 12 consecutive years. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is the only firm in the country to be named to this prestigious list every year since it was first published in 2003.

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