PHARMACY

Study finds one-quarter of Americans share prescription medications

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health, out of 700 Americans interviewed, about 23 percent of them shared their prescription medication with someone else, and 27 percent reported borrowing prescription medications.

The medications most frequently shared (loaned or borrowed) were such allergy drugs as Allegra (25 percent), followed by such pain medications as Darvocet and OxyContin (22 percent) and such antibiotics as amoxicillin (21 percent).

Seven percent of those interviewed said they shared such mood-altering drugs as Paxil, Zoloft, Ritalin and Valium. A little more than 6 percent said they shared the prescription anti-acne drug Accutane and about 5 percent shared birth control pills.

The survey also showed that Whites (23 percent) and Hispanics (26 percent) were more apt to share prescription pain medicines than were African Americans (14 percent). Women were more apt than men to share antibiotics (24 percent vs. 12 percent).

The researchers, however, are worried about some of these medications being shared without knowing the risks behind taking them or checking with their physicians. One example, Accutane has birth risks associated with it and features a warning for pregnant women to discontinue use. They also pointed to the importance of finishing a dose of an antibiotic so as to not allow the disease to build up an immunity and make the drug ineffective.

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FDA approves first U.S. drug for IBS-C

BY Adam Kraemer

WASHINGTON Takeda and Sucampo Pharmaceuticals’ Amitiza, indicated for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for women over the age of 18, according to published reports.

IBS, an ailment characterized by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, affects twice as many women as men, the FDA said. The reason for Amitiza’s approval for women only, however, was based on a lack of proof that the drug was effective for men.

“For some people IBS can be quite disabling, making it difficult for them to fully participate in everyday activities,” said Julie Beitz of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This drug represents an important step in helping to provide medical relief from their symptoms.”

Amitiza (lubiprostone) is already approved for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation, though at a much higher dosage than for treatment of IBS-C.

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CDC says more than 25% of children not receiving recommended vaccinations

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of children in the U.S. are not meeting childhood vaccinations in accordance with government recommendation, according to Reuters. The study was of children between the ages of 18 months and 3-years-old.

The report went beyond studying if children were getting the recommended number of doses of various vaccines by, examining whether the children were getting them at the right time.

CDC researchers found that 28 percent did not meet vaccination recommendations. The results were based on a 2005 government survey involving 17,563 U.S. children in that age group.

Missed doses accounted for about two-thirds of those not in compliance. The rest of the children got them at the wrong age or too soon after a previous dose to be considered completely effective. Using the usual method of examining only whether children got the right number of doses, 81 percent of the children met government recommendations, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends a number of vaccines to protect children against diseases like measles, polio, mumps, chicken pox and several others. Some require multiple doses.

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