Specialty Topics

 

In April, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first home-use naloxone auto-injector, Evzio (Figure 1), for people who accidentally overdose on an opioid (narcotic). The lifesaving auto-injector allows you or a family member to quickly inject the medicine to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose until emergency medical assistance is available. The medicine can be given to an adult or a child.

Many breastfeeding mothers who return to work utilize daycare providers to care for their breastfed babies. Those who want to exclusively breastfeed their babies will need to plan for the transition ahead. In some circumstances the mother can come into the daycare facility to breastfeed at arranged times. But many mothers do not have this option and will need to provide pumped breast milk to the daycare facility to feed the baby.

For many of us, the holidays will include joyous family gatherings. However, your holiday cheer will quickly fade if a child at your family gathering gets into unsecured medicines and requires a trip to the emergency department (ED). Don’t let your guard down—it can happen to a child you love. In the US, every 10 minutes a child younger than 6 years is taken to an ED to be treated for a medicine poisoning.1 Tragically, about 40 children younger than 5 years die from accidental poisonings each year—three-quarters due to medicine.2 In recent years, childhood poisonings have grown at an alarming rate.

After high school, many young adults, ages 18 through 24, look forward to new and exciting opportunities. Many of them leave home for college, work, or military service. They feel extremely independent and able to handle most situations. With the use of technology, they can usually find the help and answers they need within minutes when problems arise. But, this can also be a very stressful time in life. If your child needs to take medicine to treat a medical condition, mistakes can happen. This can lead to a life-threatening situation. The question is, should they turn to the Internet for answers?

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is a national leader in vaccine education for both healthcare professionals and the public. Recently, IAC announced a new and improved website to help the public get the information they need about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit www.vaccineinformation.org for reliable information on vaccines and their importance.

One of the medication errors reported recently to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) through this website involved a patient who dropped off her doctor's prescription for Prilosec (omeprazole), a drug for acid reflux, at a local pharmacy. After she picked up the prescription and got home, she opened the bottle.

Many people have lost weight using weight-loss medicines such as orlistat. Orlistat is the main ingredient in prescription strength Xenical (120 mg). It is also the main ingredient in the over-the-counter drug Alli (60 mg). Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed a number of reports of liver failure in people who take these medicines.

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in your blood and cells. Your body makes about 75% of the cholesterol it needs. You get the other 25% from the food you eat. However, too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. Everyone 20 years of age and older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years.

Are you using eye drops to help relieve your sore eyes? If you overuse eye drops that contain decongestants (ingredients that shrink swollen blood vessels) such as naphazoline, tetrahydrozoline, or phenylephrine, it could lead to conjunctivitis--swollen, red, sore eyes with a liquid discharge. It could take weeks for this condition to clear up. Use your eye drops as directed on the label, or your red eyes may actually worsen.

Regulators are investigating children’s charm bracelets and pendants imported from China that have been shown to contain cadmium. As a heavy metal, cadmium ranks seventh on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s toxic substances priority list right behind arsenic, lead, mercury and PCBs.

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