Author: Editor - Health News

Nation’s Top Doc Wants The Overdose Antidote Widely On Hand. Is That Feasible?

When Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory calling for more people to carry naloxone — not just people at overdose risk, but also friends and family — experts and advocates were almost giddy. This is an “unequivocally positive” step forward, said Leo Beletsky, an associate professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University. And not necessarily a surprise. Adams, who previously was Indiana’s health commissioner, was recruited to be the nation’s top doctor in part because of his work with then-Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president. In Indiana, Adams pushed for harm-reduction approaches, which included expanded access to naloxone and the implementation of a needle exchange to combat the state’s much-publicized HIV outbreak, which began in 2015 and was linked to injection drug use. Others cautioned, though, that his have-naloxone-will-carry recommendation is at best limited in what it can achieve, in part because the drug is relatively expensive. Kaiser Health News breaks down what the advisory means, experts’ concerns and what policy approaches may be in the pipeline. Many public health advocates applaud the surgeon general’s position. Naloxone, which is a drug that can keep drug users alive by reversing opioid overdoses, is viewed by many as the cornerstone of the harm-reduction approach to the epidemic. Experts say people with addiction problems should carry it, and so should their family, friends and acquaintances. “We want to...

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Drug Test Spurs Frank Talk Between Hypertension Patients And Doctors

There’s an irony at the heart of the treatment of high blood pressure. The malady itself often has no symptoms, yet the medicines to treat it — and to prevent a stroke or heart attack later — can make people feel crummy. “It’s not that you don’t want to take it, because you know it’s going to help you. But it’s the getting used to it,” said Sharon Fulson, a customer service representative from Nashville, Tenn., who is trying to monitor and control her hypertension. The daily pills Fulson started taking last year make her feel groggy and nervous. Other people on the drugs report dizziness, nausea and diarrhea, and men, in particular, can have trouble with arousal. “All of these side effects are worse than the high blood pressure,” Fulson said. Research shows roughly half of patients don’t take their high blood pressure medicine as they should, even though heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. For many unfortunate people, their first symptom of high blood pressure is a catastrophic cardiac event. That’s why hypertension is called the “silent killer.” A drug test is now available that can flag whether a patient is actually taking the prescribed medication. The screening, which requires a urine sample, is meant to spark a more truthful conversation between patient and doctor. Fulson’s blood pressure has been a moving target, she said. She regularly...

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