Public Health Officials Urge Doctors to Consider Medications to Treat Alcohol Addiction

Public Health Officials Urge Doctors to Consider Medications to Treat Alcohol Addiction
Public health officials are urging doctors to consider prescribing medications to treat alcohol addiction, NPR reports. The drugs can be used alongside or in place of peer-support programs. “We want people to understand we think AA is wonderful, but there are other options,” said George Koob, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He says there are two drugs on the market for patients with alcohol cravings, naltrexone and acamprosate. “They’re very safe medications, and they’ve shown efficacy,” he said. A third drug, disulfiram (Antabuse), makes people violently ill when they drink alcohol, but it does not work against alcohol cravings.
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Addiction Experts Battle Stigma Attached to Medication-Assisted Treatment

Addiction Experts Battle Stigma Attached to Medication-Assisted Treatment
Opioid addiction treatment experts say although the evidence is clear that medication-assisted treatment is the best way to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic, there is still a stigma attached to using these medications. Only a small percentage of the more than 4 million people who abuse prescription painkillers or heroin in the United States use one of these medications, methadone or buprenorphine, NPR reports. These treatments have been proven to reduce relapses and overdoses, the article notes. While limited availability of these treatments is an issue, stigma around the use of addiction medications also prevents some people from using them, experts say. Because methadone and buprenorphine are opioids, a widespread view among people in recovery is that using these medications is simply replacing one drug with another. They say true recovery requires abstinence—without the use of medication. This view is strongly disputed by doctors and scientists. The Obama Administration is...
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Almost 90 Percent of Teens Who Abuse ADHD Drugs Use Someone Else’s Medication

Almost 90 Percent of Teens Who Abuse ADHD Drugs Use Someone Else’s Medication
A study of teens finds almost 90 percent of those who abuse medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) say they used someone else’s medication. The study included more than 11,000 American children and teens ages 10 to 18, who were interviewed between 2008 and 2011. The researchers found seven percent said they had used a prescription stimulant drug in the past month, and more than half said their use of the drug was non-medical, HealthDay reports. Non-medical use included taking more pills than prescribed by their doctor, using someone else’s medication, or smoking, snorting or sniffing the medication instead of taking it orally. Using someone else’s medication was the most frequently reported form of misuse, at 88 percent, the researchers wrote in Drug and Alcohol Dependence . The study found 39 percent took more medication than prescribed. “It is so important for physicians and parents to counsel youth who...
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Americans Are Taking Too Many Medications

Americans Are Taking Too Many Medications
In a study titled “Trends in Prescription Drug Use Among Adults in the United States From 1999-2012” a recent issue of Medscape Multispeciality announced that researchers retrospectively analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database to determine if the prevalence of prescription drug use changed from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012. Some of the main findings included: The percentage of adults reporting use of any prescription drugs increased from 51% in 1999-2000 to 59% in 2011-2012. The use increased as people became older. Polypharmacy (use of five or more prescription drugs) increased from 10% to 15% among those 40-64 years old and from 24% to 39% for those over 65 years. The 10 most commonly used individual drugs in 2011-2012 were simvastatin, lisinopril, levothyroxine, metoprolol, metformin, hydrochlorothiazide, omeprazole, amlodipine, atorvastatin, and albuterol. All of the reported increases from 1999 to 2012 were not explained by changes in the age distribution of...
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