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Health News Results - 186

Methamphetamine use is soaring again, with nearly one million Americans hooked on it, according to federal health officials.

Between 2015 and 2018, about 53% of the 1.6 million meth users were addicted to it and slightly more than 22% said they injected the drug, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC noted that mental illn...

Having opioid withdrawal symptoms increases the odds that injection drug users will share needles or have a non-fatal overdose, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers questioned more than 800 injection drug users in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Eighty-five percent said they had had at least one withdrawal episode in the previous six months. More than one-third reporte...

Cholesterol-lowering statins are commonly used to help prevent heart disease. Now a new study hints that they could shield women's hearts from the harms of certain breast cancer drugs.

The study focused on women in Canada who'd been treated with either chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines or the medication Herceptin. Though the treatments can be lifesaving, they can also damage th...

Overall, opioid-related deaths in the United States fell 2% between 2017 and 2018, according to newly released data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said deaths involving prescription opioids were down 13.5%, while heroin-related deaths fell 4%. But fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) were up 10%.

Of the medications that have been studied to treat problem marijuana use, none have proved effective, a new analysis shows.

The review, of 26 trials, found that no tested drugs -- including antidepressants, anxiety medication and synthetic cannabinoids -- showed clear benefits for people with cannabis use disorder (CUD).

CUD may be diagnosed when a marijuana habit becomes a ...

It's never good news that kids are using drugs and alcohol, but fewer U.S. teens are starting before their 16th birthday, a new study finds.

Researchers found that between 2004 and 2017, the age at which teens started drinking alcohol and smoking rose from 16 to 17 years. The age for trying heroin went from 17 to 18, and for cocaine it increased from 18 to 19 years. For crack cocaine...

Americans may want to rethink the stereotype of the pot-loving teen: More U.S. seniors are using the drug now than ever before.

The proportion of folks 65 and older who use pot stands at 4.2%, up from 2.4% in 2015, according to figures from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

"The change from 2.4 up to 4.2, that's a 75% increase," said senior researc...

American doctors prescribe more brand-name medications after they get a free lunch or other incentives from drug company marketers, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed drug prescribing between 2013 and 2015 for a large sample of enrollees in Medicare Part D. The federal program, which subsidizes prescriptions for 37 million seniors and disabled people, accounts for nearly one-thir...

Ketamine use among electronic dance music party-goers is much higher than previously thought. And unintentional use appears to play a role, a new study finds.

Ketamine is known as Special K on the party scene. The operating room anesthetic was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019 as a treatment for depression. But it has long been used as a club drug.

"I...

If you are sometimes less than careful with your prescription medications and have young kids at home, a new study shows how easily tragedies can occur.

Researchers found that young children getting into medicines leads to about 400,000 poison center calls and 50,000 emergency department visits in the United States each year.

In more than half of these cases, medications hav...

In another sign of just how bad the U.S. opioid abuse epidemic has become, a new study finds family members often steal painkillers from dying relatives in hospice care.

In a survey of 371 hospices, 31% reported at least one case in which drugs were taken from a patient in the past 90 days. The thieves were most often relatives.

Lead researcher John Cagle said it's not c...

Nearly twice as many people in the United States used heroin in 2018 as did in 2002, a new government study shows.

"I think the rise in heroin use is probably precipitated by prescription opioid abuse. People tend to move from prescription opioids to heroin because it's cheaper and easier to obtain," said Dr. Lawrence Brown Jr., an addiction treatment specialist. He's CEO of START Tr...

In the midst of a U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse, knowing how to quickly administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone could save a life.

Now, research finds that delivering naloxone via nasal spray could be the quickest and easiest of three methods of administration.

"Our goal was to see if there was a method that was the most intuitive," said William Eggleston, a clinical ass...

Migraine drugs that might work for adults won't prevent the debilitating headaches in kids and teens, a new study shows.

A number of drugs are used to prevent migraines, but treatment of youngsters has largely been based on the results of adult studies, the international team of researchers pointed out.

What really works in kids? To find out, the researchers reviewed 23 stu...

"Dabbing" cannabis concentrate is the type of marijuana experimentation most likely to lead teens into frequent and heavy use of the drug, researchers say.

"We really wanted to understand whether the type of cannabis that youth experiment with influences the likelihood that they will continue to use cannabis and use more heavily," said Jessica Barrington-Trimis, an assistant professor...

A single dose of the psychedelic ingredient in "magic mushrooms" may bring long-lasting relief to cancer patients who suffer anxiety and depression, a new, small study suggests.

Researchers found that of 15 patients who'd received a one-time treatment with psilocybin, most were still showing "clinically significant" improvements in anxiety and depression four years later.

Th...

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin -- also known as "magic mushrooms" -- can elevate mood and make one feel close to others, and those feelings may last after the high is gone, new research shows.

The findings, from more than 1,200 art and music festival-goers, echo lab work that showed psychedelics enhance feelings of social connectedness and well-being, Yale University resea...

Naloxone can prevent opioid overdose deaths, but only a tiny percentage of Americans at risk are prescribed the lifesaving drug.

That's the key finding from an analysis of nationwide data on adults with private health insurance.

The researchers found that while naloxone (Evzio, Narcan) prescriptions in this group rose between January 2014 and mid-2017, only 1.6% of thos...

Even after surviving an opioid overdose, few U.S. teenagers receive the recommended treatment for their addiction, a new study shows.

Researchers found that of nearly 3,800 teenagers and young adults who'd suffered an opioid overdose, less than one-third went into addiction treatment within a month. And only one in 54 received the medication recommended for tackling opioid dependence....

A study of over 1 million urine drug tests from across the United States shows soaring rates of use of methamphetamines and fentanyl, often used together in potentially lethal ways.

The drug test results came primarily from clinics dealing with primary care, pain management or substance abuse disorders.

The results showed that between 2013 and 2019, urine samples testing pos...

"Secret shoppers" calling California drugstores to find out how to dispose of unneeded antibiotics and opioid painkillers were given bogus information more than half the time, a new study finds.

Even fewer stores provided correct information if the callers, who were pretending to be parents, called on weekends, the researchers discovered.

"The Food and Drug Administration [F...

If you plan to make a New Year's resolution about improving your health, the American Medical Association (AMA) has some good suggestions.

"With too many holiday sweets and not enough exercise likely in the rearview mirror, now is the perfect time to consider your personal goals and how you can make positive health choices in the coming year," AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris said in ...

A drug used to fight chronic myeloid leukemia might also relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease, a new study finds.

In a phase 2 clinical trial, researchers found that the drug nilotinib (brand name: Tasigna) increased production of dopamine and halted decline in motor function. It was well-tolerated by most participants.

"We found that nilotinib is reasonably safe using d...

Three drugs used to treat severe seizures in epilepsy patients are equally effective, a new study finds.

The three medications -- levetiracetam (Keppra and Roweepra), fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) and valproate -- are commonly used to treat patients with "refractory status epilepticus." In these patients, severe seizures continue after treatment with benzodiazepine medications.

The...

There are fewer problem "potheads" today than before the wave of marijuana legalization that's swept the United States, a new analysis of federal survey data shows.

Researchers found an across-the-board decline in daily or near-daily pot users who could be diagnosed with cannabis use disorder, according to results published in the Dec. 1 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Millions of Americans think they're allergic to penicillin, but they're not, a new study reveals.

This erroneous belief adds millions of dollars to health care costs and results in unnecessary side effects from more powerful antibiotics, researchers say. It also adds to the danger of creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they warn.

Christopher Bland, a clinical associa...

An ingredient in the psychedelic brew ayahuasca causes "waking dreams" by significantly changing brain activity, a new study says.

Ayahuasca is a tea or brew made from vines and leaves of the Amazon rainforest. DMT (or dimethyltryptamine) is one of its main psychoactive components. Typically prepared as part of a shamanic ceremony, the drink can cause unusual and vivid visions.

...

Smoking pot doesn't do your heart or your brain any favors, a pair of new studies shows.

Frequent pot smokers are more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke compared with those who don't partake, the first study found.

They're also more likely to be hospitalized for a dangerously erratic heart rhythm, according to the second study.

Both studies are to be presente...

A commonly prescribed muscle relaxant known as baclofen can leave older kidney patients so disoriented that they land in the hospital, a new study warns.

"It can present with acute stroke-like symptoms, even though it's not a stroke," said senior researcher Dr. Amit Garg, a professor of nephrology at Western University in Ontario, Canada. "It can present wi...

Every other Thursday, Kathryn McNary watches out the window of her apartment in St. Louis for the mail truck to arrive.

As soon as she spots it, she goes to the lobby with her shopping bag to pick up her produce from The Link Market, an innovative program begun in 2017 to supply St. Louis residents with healthy, affordable food. The nonprofit uses a retrofitted former mail truck for ...

Hard-hat jobs are tough and demanding, often entailing intense physical labor performed in dangerous situations.

But a new study finds construction work also comes with another danger: An increased risk of drug abuse.

Construction workers and miners are much more likely than people in other professions to misuse opioids, cocaine and marijuana, the research showed

C...

Some widely used drugs alter the population of microbes in the gut, and a number raise the risk of antibiotic resistance, a new Dutch study shows.

The gut microbiome includes at least 1,000 species of bacteria and is influenced by a number of different factors, including medication. Research suggests that changes in the gut microbiome are associated with obesity, diabetes, liver disea...

Men who use marijuana at least once a week are twice as likely to see their partner's pregnancy end in miscarriage, compared to those who use no pot, new research suggests.

Miscarriages related to frequent male pot use tended to occur within eight weeks of conception, which bolsters suspicions that marijuana use damages sperm in some essential way, said le...

Taking opioids after a vasectomy doesn't improve pain control and is associated with increased risk of persistent use of the addictive painkillers months later, a new study says.

It included 228 men who had vasectomies performed by eight different urologists. Two of the urologists routinely prescribed opioids for pain after the surgery. The other six used other methods to control pain...

Methadone is often used in the fight against opioid addiction, but long travel times in rural areas may be hampering efforts to get more people treated, a new study finds.

If methadone for opioid addiction was available in primary care clinics, more people would have better access to treatment, researchers suggest.

In the United States, methadone is only available at clinic...

More Americans use marijuana to help them cope with an illness than just to get high, a new study finds.

Nearly 46% of those who use pot say they do so because of a medical condition, compared with 22% who say they use marijuana for recreation.

And only 36% of those with a medical problem say they use pot to get high, compared with 58% of other users, resear...

Driving while high on marijuana can be as dangerous and illegal as driving drunk, but unlike alcohol, there's no way to detect pot on your breath.

That could change, however, as University of Pittsburgh scientists are working hard to develop a breathalyzer that can measure the psychoactive ingredient in pot. Although the technology may work, many questions must be answered before poli...

Drinking and driving an electric scooter doesn't mix, according to a new study.

Researchers reported serious injuries like brain bleeding or fractures that have happened while riding an electric scooter (e-scooter). Alcohol and drugs were a factor in many of these crashes.

"E-scooters may look like fun and games, but it's a vehicle. It's a motor attached to wheels, and you n...

The good news is overdose deaths from opioids in the United States have dropped slightly in 25 states, but here's the bad news: Deaths from fentanyl are still increasing, federal health officials reported Thursday.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths from fentanyl increased, especially when mixed with other opioids, benzodiazepines, ...

Using "synthetic pot" is rolling the dice with your health, experts warn, pointing to a healthy 26-year-old woman who ended up in the ER after smoking a batch laced with rat poison.

Synthetic pot is created in a lab. It's supposed to safely mimic marijuana by targeting the same cannabinoid receptors as the real thing.

But the unregulated chemical composition of fake weed can...

Wax. Honey oil. Budder. Shatter. Dabs. Black glass.

These are some of the names given to extremely potent marijuana concentrates, and don't be surprised if you overhear your teens mentioning them.

A startling number of teenagers are using these marijuana concentrates, a new study reports.

About one in four Arizona teens have tried a marijuana concentrate at least o...

A quirk in quality testing could mean that pot-laced chocolates are more potent than their label indicates, researchers report.

Many states that allow the sale of marijuana-infused edibles -- gummy bears, cookies and chocolates -- require package labeling that shows the products' level of THC, the compound that gets you high.

But potency testing o...

Pot-related poisoning calls involving kids and teens more than doubled in Massachusetts after the state legalized medical marijuana, a new study reports.

Calls related to cannabis exposure increased 140% in the years after Massachusetts voted to legalize medical pot in 2012, according to data from the state's regional poison control center.

This happened even though Mass...

As the CBD craze sweeps the nation, some users may wonder whether the cannabis extract can make them fail a drug test. A preliminary study suggests the answer is "no" -- at least if the CBD is pure.

Researchers found that CBD, or cannabidiol, did not react with either of two commercially available tests used to screen for marijuana use. However, another cannabis compound -- cannabinol...

Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose, but far too little of the lifesaving drug is used where it is needed the most, a new U.S. government report shows.

"Too many people in our country and in our communities are still dying from opioid-related overdoses," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We must and can do a ...

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014, and a new study shows that the state's teens have since started to move away from smoking pot to other forms of consumption.

Among Coloradan teens who use pot, about 87% said they smoked the drug in a 2015 survey, but that number had fallen to about 78% when the same survey was taken in 2017, the researchers said.

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No one would argue that antibiotics are an amazing 20th-century innovation, promising a quick cure for bacterial illnesses that might otherwise cause serious harm or death.

But they are not without risk, especially when taken without a doctor's supervision.

Yet a new study review suggests that's exactly what many Americans are doing: misusing "under-the-counter" or old lefto...

Pot use and pregnancy hardly go hand-in-hand for health reasons, but more American women are using marijuana just before and right after they become pregnant, new research warns.

"These findings should alert women's health clinicians to be aware of potential increases in daily and weekly cannabis use among their patients," said lead study author Kelly Young-Wolff. She is a research sc...

Some proponents of medical marijuana have claimed that its use against pain might help curb the ongoing crisis of opioid abuse.

But a new study refutes that notion, finding that state laws legalizing medical marijuana have had little impact on the issue.

"When comparing the overall effect of use after versus before medical marijuana laws were passed, we found small increases...

Teens who use Spice, K2 or other synthetic marijuana products may risk medical harm, including coma and seizures, researchers report.

A review of emergency department records in the United States also found that those who mixed the manmade "marijuana" with other drugs, such as stimulants, could become dangerously agitated.

"These findings suggest that teens are particularl...

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