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Last Updated
October 16, 2014
NEWSROOM > Latest News > Current
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June 26, 2014
New Resource on Acetaminophen, America’s Most Common Drug Ingredient
The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC), a coalition of leading health, healthcare provider,
and consumer organizations, today released “Acetaminophen: How It’s Used, Preventing Overdose and
What We Can Do to Promote Safe Use,” a report and educational resource to drive safe and
appropriate use of America’s most common drug ingredient. The coalition’s report reviews the dosing
behaviors that can lead to acetaminophen overdose and explores the successful impact of ongoing
education campaigns to drive appropriate use and prevent overdose-related liver damage. 

The AAC recommends consumers follow these four simple steps to use acetaminophen-containing
medicines safely: 

1. Always read and follow the medicine label. 
2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen. 
3. Never take two acetaminophen-containing medicines at the same time. 
4. Ask your pharmacist or other healthcare professional if you have questions. 

The AAC’s Know Your Dose campaign offers free Spanish- and English-language educational materials
for healthcare providers to order for their patients. For more information, and to see a list of
some common medicines that contain acetaminophen, visit KnowYourDose.org or follow @KnowYourDose. 
June 26, 2014
Do Teething Babies Need Medicine on Their Gums? No
There are more theories about teething and "treating" a baby's sore gums than there are teeth in a
child's mouth. One thing doctors and other health care professionals agree on is that teething is a
normal part of childhood that can be treated without prescription or over-the-counter (OTC)
medications.

Too often well-meaning parents, grandparents and caregivers want to soothe a teething baby by
rubbing numbing medications on the tot's gums, using potentially harmful drugs instead of safer,
non-toxic alternatives.

That's why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents that prescription drugs such
as viscous lidocaine are not safe for treating teething in infants or young children, and that they
have hurt some children who used those products.

FDA has previously recommended that parents and caregivers not use benzocaine products for children
younger than 2 years, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional.
Benzocaine—which, like viscous lidocaine, is a local anesthetic—can be found in such OTC products
as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase.

The use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and
sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen
carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced. And children under 2 years old appear to be at
particular risk.
June 26, 2014
Global E-Prescribing Market to Reach $887 Million by 2019: Report
The global market for e-prescribing systems is expected to grow from $250.2 million in 2013 to
$887.8 million by 2019, according to a report from Transparency Market Research.Government
incentive programs are among the factors driving the market, which is expected to have a compound
annual growth rate of 23.5 percent over five years, according to an announcement. The report
foresees an immense potential for the growth in implementation of electronic health record systems
that include e-prescribing.

See Report: Click Here
June 25, 2014
Patient Medication Information: Your Input Can Help Keep It Simple
Research suggests that about 50 percent of Americans find it difficult to read health information.
 Consumers who cannot find the information they need, or who do not understand the information
because it is presented in a convoluted manner, are less likely to use it to prevent unnecessary
medical errors.  We know that consumers are receiving information – sometimes too much information.
Not only are consumers receiving pages of medication information, the information they receive is
uncoordinated and sometimes conflicting. Some documents are written by the drug manufacturer, and
others are written by pharmacies or another third party. Some medication information documents are
FDA-approved and others are not.

The real question is – could medication information be presented in such a way that it would be
more useful for consumers?  The answer is a resounding “yes.” One study found that just 75 percent
of consumer medication information met the minimum criteria for usefulness.  That number might be
impressive as a field goal percentage in the NBA, but for consumers it represents an unmet need for
high quality medication information. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has spent the past several years working with
stakeholders to determine the most effective methods for conveying medication information. One
overarching principle that has emerged from FDA’s engagement with the health care community is the
need for a single, standardized document to replace the numerous existing documents. This document
is identified as Patient Medication Information (PMI). PMI was intended to create an easier way for
consumers to access and understand their medication information. By presenting the most salient
pieces of information – including drug uses, warnings, side effects, and directions – on a single
page that is easy to navigate, PMI can be a useful tool for enhancing treatments and preventing
avoidable medication errors or side effects.  PMI holds promise both for consumers and the broader
health care system. For consumers, PMI could contribute to better outcomes and an overall
improvement in patient experience. For health systems, PMI’s positive impact on medication
adherence could improve performance on quality measures, such as hospital readmissions, that could
lead to shared savings or other rewards.

Through a cooperative agreement, the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings
Institution has worked in collaboration with FDA over the past few years to convene a series of
workshops focused on identifying best PMI practices – for example, how to make PMI both more usable
and accessible.  Workshop participants identified several guiding principles for improving the
content, format, and distribution of PMI.

PMI Guiding Principles

•	PMI content should be consumer-friendly. Expert stakeholders identified a lack of
consumer-friendly information as one of the most important barriers to effectively communicating
critical medication information. To fix this problem, the language used in PMI will need to be
simplified, patient-centric, and understandable across the entire spectrum of health literacy
levels. The types of information that should be included in PMI must be essential for taking a
medication properly. Extraneous information, such as a discussion of previous treatments a consumer
must have previously tried and failed before receiving the new prescription, may be more confusing
than helpful.

•	The best PMI formats are simple and easy to navigate. Consumers don’t want to be given a
technical-looking instruction manual when they pick up their prescriptions. Participants at the
workshops generally agreed that it would be ideal to keep PMI to a single page. They also agreed
that actionable headers that help consumers locate the information they are looking for are
preferable to the question and answer format (e.g., “Uses” and “Directions” are more effective than
“What does the drug treat?” and “How do I use the drug?”). There was consensus on the point that
consumers will ultimately decide the best format.

•	Access to PMI will be bolstered by multiple channels of distribution. Paper is still the primary
source of medication information, and is preferred by certain demographics. However, technology is
revolutionizing the way consumers receive information. This is generally good for society, but it
introduces some challenges, including the fact that consumers now have more access to information
of questionable quality.  One method for ensuring access to consistent and high quality PMI would
be to have a central repository for all PMI documents. This approach could support distribution of
both printed and electronic PMI. Access to PMI could be further enhanced by making it available on
smartphones and via email.

On July 1, the Center will convene a Public Meeting that will provide an opportunity for the health
care community to discuss the issues mentioned above. Researchers will give an update on progress
made since the previous meetings and share the lessons they learned from recent studies.  Diverse
stakeholders – including patient advocacy groups, providers, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers –
will provide their perspectives on the future of PMI and assess their role in making high quality
PMI a reality. 
June 24, 2014
Drivers Test Positive for prescription drugs-- Subscription Req.
A growing number of drugged drivers are testing positive for prescription drugs, a new study
suggests. More drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for prescription medications than
for any other drug type. The study, published in Public Health Reports, also found the share of
drugged drivers in fatal motor vehicle crashes who tested positive for marijuana reached 36.9
percent in 2010.

Drivers ages 50 and up account for an increasing share of drugged drivers, and for the highest
proportion of prescription drug users, the study found. The findings come from an analysis of data
from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The researchers from the University of
Nebraska Medical Center also found an increasing number of drivers are using more than one drug at
once, according to U.S. News & World Report.  “In 1993, about one in eight drivers were using
multiple drugs concurrently. By 2010, it was closer to one in five. That’s a large increase in drug
usage,” study author Fernando Wilson.  These trends are likely to continue into the future given
the aging U.S. population, an increasing reliance on prescription medications by medical providers,
and increasing initiatives to legalize marijuana,” Wilson said. “However, it is unclear whether
current state policies are completely up to the challenge of addressing the growing issue of
drugged driving.”     Drivers Test Positive for prescription drugs-- Subscription Required