HEALTH

Industry making headway in reducing unintentional APAP overdose

BY Michael Johnsen
WASHINGTON – Progress is being made to increase awareness of the safe use of acetaminophen, according to new research released Monday by the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition. The group says data collected from the National Poison Data System and released in late 2015 show a steady decline in unintentional exposures of acetaminophen, including dosing errors and accidental misuse, since a peak in 2009.
 
"As a member of the AAC, it is encouraging and gratifying to see these results, but we know more work is needed to help ensure people take their medicines safely," stated Colleen Creighton, director of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association  Educational Foundation, a founding member of the coalition. "While consumer knowledge is increasing and poison center calls are going down, there are still thousands of calls being made every year regarding unintentional acetaminophen overdose. Our coalition remains committed to working together to educate consumers."
 
The AAC founded the Know Your Dose campaign in 2011 to educate consumers about acetaminophen safe use. Found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines that are consumed by as many as 50 million Americans on a weekly basis, it is safe and effective when used as directed, but there is a limit to how much you can take in one day. Taking more acetaminophen than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage.
 
For the past five years, Know Your Dose has raised awareness of acetaminophen as a drug ingredient, armed healthcare providers with free educational materials for their patients, and encouraged consumers to follow four key safe use steps, including:
 
  1. Always read and follow the label;
  2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen;
  3. Take only one medicine at a time that contains acetaminophen; and
  4. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.
Creighton noted that, according to a nationwide survey of 1,000 U.S. adult pain medicine users conducted by CHPA, consumer knowledge about how to use acetaminophen safely and awareness of its risks are at record highs. The survey shows that the number of consumers who understand that exceeding the recommended daily dose of acetaminophen may lead to liver damage has increased from 78% in 2010 to 87% in 2013, and the number of consumers who think it is important to check the medicine label for the maximum daily dose increased from 93% in 2010 to 98% in 2013.
 
The upward trend in consumer awareness and the downward trend in unintentional overdose are positive signs that educational efforts on the parts of numerous stakeholders — healthcare providers, patient organizations, manufacturers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — are contributing to better understanding and safer use of acetaminophen.
 
"The educational efforts of the last five years are having an impact, and it's exciting to see the results of a shared mission across many groups," said John Whyte, director of FDA's Professional Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement in its Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Acetaminophen is widely used and it's extremely important that we educate patients and consumers about how to take it safely."
 
Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition members include the Alliance for Aging Research, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Pharmacists Association, Caregiver Action Network, CHPA Educational Foundation, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Consumers League and National Council on Patient Information and Education. 
 
Advisors to the Coalition include the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
 
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Kent Precision Foods Group expands Thick-It brand of dysphagia nutrition solutions

BY Michael Johnsen
ST. LOUIS – Thick-It brand of dysphagia nutrition solutions on Monday expanded its line of proprietary xanthan-based thickening innovations with the introduction of a powder, allowing for greater bioavailability of thickened medications and supplements.
 
Nearly 18 million people in the U.S. live with dysphagia. Adhering to a thickened diet is a challenge for many, creating a cascade of negative side effects, ranging from malnutrition to choking and aspiration. The poor health and hospitalizations resulting from consuming thin liquids greatly diminish the quality of life for these individuals.
 
"Our xanthan powder is designed for better absorption of medications and supplements than other xanthan-based thickening powders," stated Doug Stetzer, Kent Precision Foods Group chief scientist and developer of the proprietary xanthan formula used in the Clear Advantage products.
 
The new powder is the first introduction of Thick-It's Clear Advantage line to the market—a line which will soon include all of the brand's xanthan-based thickening products. Its pre-thickened product suite includes juices, tea and the only clear and flavor-free water on the market, ideal as the base of many recipes or as a 'tall glass of water' that so many with swallowing disorders miss. 
 
"This Clear Advantage launch reflects our commitment to delivering innovation for people with dysphagia," said Megan Watts, brand marketing manager for Personal Nutritional Solutions at Kent Precision Foods Group. "Our hope is to raise awareness of the impact dysphagia has on the everyday lives of those with the disease, and to encourage higher standards for palatability and versatility in products across the industry, ultimately improving patient compliance and quality of life."
 
Thick-It has consistently delivered new dysphagia nutrition products using xanthan gum, seeking to educate the public on the benefits of xanthan as a thickening agent, such as:
 
  • Xanthan's viscosity remains stable across various temperatures and pH levels, even when frozen and thawed;
  • Xanthan is amylase resistant, meaning that saliva does not alter the viscosity of xanthan-based thickeners;
  • Xanthan is clear when mixed with water, and has no flavor; and
  • Xanthan's texture is smooth.

 

 
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