Archive for the ‘medications’ Category

Veteran’s kin wants answers on PTSD drugs

November 13, 2008

A West Virginia man whose son survived the battlefields of Iraq only to die in his sleep at home is crusading to find other military families whose loved ones also have died after taking drugs prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

By Andrea Billups
The Washington Times 

Stan White’s son Andrew, who was found dead in bed at the family’s Cross Lanes, W.Va., home on Feb. 12, 2007, is one among a cluster of young veterans in the state who have died in their sleep with little explanation. Now Mr. White wants the federal government to monitor the drugs it prescribes to some 375,000 soldiers who have been diagnosed with mental trauma.

So far, he has identified nine veterans across the country – including four in West Virginia – who have died in their sleep after taking antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

Mr. White has met with members of Congress and asked for Capitol Hill hearings to investigate the deaths. His research prompted a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) investigation into Andrew’s and one other death, which were found to have been caused by “combined drug intoxication.” But the investigation could not determine whether the prescribed medications were at fault….

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/13/veterans-kin-demands-answ
ers-on-ptsd-drugs/

Number of kids on medication jumps alarmingly; obesity key

November 3, 2008

The number of children who take medication for chronic diseases has jumped dramatically, another troubling sign that many of the youngest Americans are struggling with obesity, doctors say.

The number of children who take pills for type 2 diabetes — the kind that’s closely linked to obesity — more than doubled from 2002 to 2005, to a rate of six out of 10,000 children. That suggests that at least 23,000 privately insured children in the USA are now taking diabetes medications, according to authors of the new study in today’s Pediatrics.

By Liz Szabo
USA TODAY 
Doctors also saw big increases in prescriptions for high cholesterol, asthma and attention deficit and hyperactivity. There was smaller growth for drugs for depression and high blood pressure.

“We’ve got a lot of sick children,” says author Emily Cox, senior director of research with Express Scripts, which administers drug benefit programs for private insurance plans. “What we’ve been seeing in adults, we’re also now seeing in kids.”

Type 2 diabetes was once known as adult-onset. But Cox says her records show kids as young as 5 being treated with prescription diabetes drugs.

Cox based her study on prescription records of nearly 4 million children a year, ages 5 to 19, covered by Express Scripts. She says her findings may not apply to the 40% of children who are uninsured or covered by government health plans.

Unless these children make major changes — such as eating healthier and exercising more — they could be facing a lifetime of illness, Cox says.

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http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20081103/1a_
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High Prescription Drug Use and Abuse in Colleges

March 8, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 9, 2008

American college students use and abuse prescription drugs like never before.  They are following in the always dangerous and sometimes deadly steps of celebrities.
alprazolam 2mg tablet bottle

alprazolam 2mg tablet bottle

Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, the New York City medical examiner’s office said.  Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and other “celebrities” have also been known to take these medications.  Used together — and with alcohol — these drugs have an unpredictable impact, can be addictive and are sometimes fatal. 

Lohan in a frightful piblicity photo.

And the shooters in the most violent campus multiple-killings, at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, have both had some history with a mixture of prescription medications.
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The journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine recently reported that compared to college students taking prescription drugs for medical reasons, those who use medications without a prescription are more likely to abuse illegal drugs.  The report also gave information on the high number of our college students using such drugs as sleep aids and anti-depressants.

Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., M.S.W. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) says that in the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in prescription rates of medications – such as stimulants, opioids, and benzodiazepines – that are likely to be abused in the United States.

“These increases are likely the result of many factors, including improved awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of several disorders, increased duration of treatment, availability of new medications and increased marketing,” said Dr. McCabe. “The increases in prescription rates have raised public health concerns because of the abuse potential of these medications and high prevalence rates of non-medical use, abuse and dependence, especially among young adults 18 to 24 years of age.”

Most people familiar with today’s young people, the Hollywood tabloids and other information sources can readily conclude what drugs are most used and abused.

Painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills are the most used and abused drugs among our college students and throughout our society, experts say.

According to Medical News Today, Dr. McCabe used a Web survey of 3,639 college students to acquire information about prescription drug use and potential drug abuse. The average age of the sample was 19.9 years. Students were asked if they used prescribed or had used without a prescription.

Students were also asked if they had experienced drug-related problems like engaging in illegal activities to obtain drugs, having withdrawal symptoms, or developing medical problems due to drug use.

Results of the survey are summarized below:

–59.9% reported medically using at least one of the four drugs with a prescription

–About 20% reported taking them without a prescription for non-medical reasons

–39.7% reported that they had used the drugs only by prescription

–4.4% used medications, but were not prescribed them

–15.8% reported using some medications, both with and without prescriptions

The researcher also found that students who reported using drugs without prescriptions were more likely to screen positive for drug abuse compared to students who never used them or who had only used them for medical reasons.

Dr. McCabe believes that physicians should be extremely careful when prescribing commonly abused drugs to college students.

“Clearly, appropriate diagnosis, treatment and therapeutic monitoring of college students who are receiving abusable prescription medications is crucial, not only to improve clinical outcomes but also to help prevent the abuse of these medications within a population that is largely responsible for its own medication management,” he writes.

“Finally, any efforts aimed at reducing non-medical use of prescription drugs will have to take into consideration that these drugs are highly effective and safe medications for most patients who use them as prescribed.”

There is another insidious implication of Dr. McCabe’s study.  If college students are taking these drugs at an alarming rate; when did they start?  For most, they start down this path while in high school or before.

Some of the Commonly Abused Medications

Oxycodone, a painkiller, is the active ingredient in the prescription drug OxyContin. Hydrocodone, another painkiller, is often combined with acetaminophen, as in the prescription drug Vicodin. Diazepam, sold under the commercial name Valium, is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Temazepam, brand name Restoril, is prescribed in the short term to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

Alprazolam, commonly known under the brand name Xanax, is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Doxylamine, found in common “nighttime sleep aids,” is an an antihistamine that causes drowsiness as a side effect and is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. (It is also used, in combination with decongestants, to relieve cough and cold symptoms.)

Ambian is a nightime sleep aid that is often abused and can be addictive.

The painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone are opiates, which are dangerous when combined with anti-anxiety medicines like diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration Web site, oxycodone is often abused and an acute overdose can cause respiratory arrest and death.

Diazepam is sold under the brand name Valium and alprazolam is sold under the name Xanax. Temazepam is also used as a sleep aid and sold under the name Restoril. Doxylamine, a sleep aid and antihistamine, is an active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter medications, including NyQuil.

Related:
Northern Illinois Univ Killer Took Usual Deadly Cocktail Of Prescribed Drugs

AP probe finds drugs in drinking water

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger

February 6, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 6, 2008
(From reports by CNN, AP, FOX News Channel and Reuters)

Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, the New York City medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger, 28, died January 22 at an apartment in Lower Manhatta

“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine,” the office said in a short statement.

“We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.”

Oxycodone, a painkiller, is the active ingredient in the prescription drug OxyContin. Hydrocodone, another painkiller, is often combined with acetaminophen, as in the prescription drug Vicodin. Diazepam, sold under the commercial name Valium, is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Temazepam, brand name Restoril, is prescribed in the short term to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Alprazolam, commonly known under the brand name Xanax, is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Doxylamine, found in common “nighttime sleep aids,” is an an antihistamine that causes drowsiness as a side effect and is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. (It is also used, in combination with decongestants, to relieve cough and cold symptoms.)

Ledger died January 22 at an apartment in Lower Manhattan. The Oscar-nominated Australian actor, best known for his role as a stoic, closeted cowboy in the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain,” was 28.

Police reported finding several prescription medications in the room but no illegal drugs.

An autopsy done on the actor January 23 was inconclusive.

From Reuters:
His death shocked film fans and fellow actors around the world and added his name to the list of movie stars who died young, like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Kim Ledger, the actor’s father, said the family was humbled by the outpouring of support from fans around the world and asked to be allowed to grieve privately.

“Today’s results put an end to speculation, but our son’s beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts,” he said in a statement.

“While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy.”

SIX PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

The painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone are opiates, which are dangerous when combined with anti-anxiety medicines like diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration Web site, oxycodone is often abused and an acute overdose can cause respiratory arrest and death.

Diazepam is sold under the brand name Valium and alprazolam is sold under the name Xanax. Temazepam is also used as a sleep aid and sold under the name Restoril. Doxylamine, a sleep aid and antihistamine, is an active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter medications, including NyQuil.

Ledger had said in recent interviews he was having trouble sleeping during the filming of the latest Batman filmThe Dark Knight” in which he plays The Joker, a homicidal maniac. The film is due out in July.

Andrew Kolodny, a psychiatrist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said, “If someone has an overdose death with that kind of toxicology report, it’s usually an indication that they were either doctor-shopping or purchasing medications either on the street or on the Internet.”

The handsome star had been romantically linked with a number of actresses and models, periodically spotted in fancy clubs and night spots around New York.

He recently had been in a committed relationship with actress Michelle Williams, the mother of their 2-year-old daughter, Matilda, but the couple split in September. Some reports said Ledger was having difficulty with the breakup.

The couple met during the filming of “Brokeback Mountain,” for which Ledger received an Oscar nomination.

Other film credits included “The Patriot” in 2000, “Monster’s Ball” in 2001 and “I’m Not There” in 2007.

The FOX News Channel reported that Mr. Ledger was taking “two kinds of anti-anxiety medications, two kinds of sleep aids and two kinds of pain killers.”
Related articles:
Teen Media Idols: Drunk, Naked, Pregnant, Unashamed (We Have Pictures!)

Britney Spears: “Dangerous to Herself”

Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert – Super Bowl Weekend Dangers

Addicts Neglected, Over-Medicated Despite Vast System of “Care”

Our Holiday Season: A Good Time To Discuss Drugs and Alcohol in America

Britney Spears: Decline Repeatedly Noted Before

Drug Abuse Usually Starts At Home

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

High Prescription Drug Use and Abuse in Colleges

Docs Told To Give Fewer Antibiotics

January 9, 2008

The Telegraph (UK)
January 9, 2008

Alan Johnson, Britain’s Health Secretary, says it is time to end the unnecessary use of penicillin and other commonly-prescribed pills, which cost the NHS £1.7 billion a year.

Using antibiotics too liberally has led to bugs such as MRSA becoming resistant to treatment with the drugs. Most colds, coughs and flu are caused by viruses, which cannot be treated with antibiotics anyway, Mr Johnson points out.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IVLWZ0LAPX2IPQFIQM
GCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2008/01/09/nbiotic109.xml

Over prescribing and overmedicating is common in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere.  Related:
Addicts Neglected, Over-Medicated Despite Vast System of “Care”

Still Limp? Pills May be Fakes

January 8, 2008

PARIS (Reuters) – French customs officials have intercepted a shipment of 224,000 fake Viagra and Cialis anti-impotence pills worth 2.4 million euros ($3.5 million), the Budget Ministry said Monday.

Viagra pills are seen in an undated file photo. French customs ... 

“Branded Powergra and Erectalis, each box contained, in fact, four tablets in the characteristic shape and color of Viagra or Cialis pills,” Budget Minister Eric Woerth‘s office, which is also in charge of customs, said in a statement.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080107/od_nm/viagra_
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