Tag Archives: drugs

Updated Beers Criteria identifies risky drugs for seniors

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

A panel of experts in geriatric care has identified nearly 100 medications that should be avoided or used with caution among the older population in the latest update to the Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults.

The recommendations by the American Geriatrics Society are widely used by clinicians, educators, researchers, health care administrators and regulators to ensure medications are appropriately prescribed. Continue reading

More adults over 50 risk benzodiazepine misuse

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Prescription rates of opioids and benzodiazepines are on the rise among the older adult population, according to two recent studies. And that is cause for concern, say researchers.

In one study, Greg Rhee, Ph.D., an adjunct assistant professor in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, examined prescribing trends in outpatient settings of opioids and benzodiazepines. His analysis found that between 2006-07 and 2014-15, the prescription rates of benzodiazepine drugs such as Xanax and Halcion increased from 4.8 percent to 6.2 percent; the rate of prescription opioids alone increased from 5.9 percent to 10 percent, and the co-prescribing rate of both benzodiazepines and opioids increased over time from 1.1 percent to 2.7 percent, respectively. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to feature authors of award-winning ‘Seven Days of Heroin’ project

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJ

In April, the staff of the Cincinnati Enquirer won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for an extraordinary special project, “Seven Days of Heroin: This is what an epidemic looks like.” As the Pulitzer judges said, the newspaper’s staff won, “For a riveting and insightful narrative and video documenting seven days of greater Cincinnati’s heroin epidemic, revealing how the deadly addiction has ravaged families and communities.” The project’s video element earned an Edward R. Murrow award for excellence in video and a regional Emmy award. Continue reading

Reporters share how they uncovered the jaw-dropping price of rabies treatment

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Journalists who had been looking for stories about the high cost of medical bills came across an unexpected one – the astoundingly high price of rabies treatments.

WebMD investigative reporter Brenda Goodman and Georgia Health News CEO Andy Miller began their investigation late last year after Miller received a tip about a Georgia resident who owed more than $10,000 for her treatment. Continue reading

New investment hopes to spur cure for dementia

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Liz SeegertActress Jane Krakowski, talking to Katie Couric, teared up as she spoke about her dad’s diagnosis of early onset dementia at age 61.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Despite decades of research, there’s still no cure, and few options to slow or minimize symptoms. The last Alzheimer’s drug was approved more than 15 years ago, but a new campaign, called Disrupting Dementia, hopes to drive new diagnostics and treatments while also supporting patients and families affected by this devastating condition.

Continue reading

Report finds antipsychotic drug use still rampant in some nursing homes

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: peterabbid via Flickr

Despite efforts to curb the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, about 20 percent of residents – more than 250,000 vulnerable individuals – are still given these potent medications, according to a new report from the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC).

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) estimates that only a very small percentage of the senior population will ever have a condition warranting use of these powerful medications, psychotropic drugs still are being overused among the elderly, especially for those suffering from dementia, the report concluded. Continue reading