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Last Updated
April 27, 2016
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April 26, 2016
National Drug Take Back Day APRIL 30, 2016: Dispose of Prescription Medications Cluttering Your Cabinets
Medicines no longer being used may pose grave and unnecessary dangers to families and the people visiting their 
homes. In addition to reducing potential harm from use of expired or use of these medicines in the wrong hands, an 
important effect of National Take Back Day is that it helps to divert medicines from entering the environment and 
the potential environmental impact of disposing unused medicines in household trash, or by flushing. FDA, other 
Federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are studying medicine in the 
environment to better understand the human health and ecological risks from medicines in our water and have a 
shared overall goal of reducing medicine levels in our water. For sites near you, see: National Take Back Initiative Collection(s) Sites

April 22, 2016
Maine’s Governor mandates E-prescribing for Controlled Substances
Maine is the second state to require e-prescribing for controlled substances. Such a mandate took effect in New 
York March 27. “An Act To Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription 
Monitoring Program,” requires Maine prescriber participation in the Prescription Monitoring Program and sets limits 
for the strength and duration of opioid prescriptions, beginning January 2017. The law also calls for prescribers to 
undergo addiction training every two years.

April 21, 2016
Consumers Not NSAID Savvy / Unaware of Associated Risks
Consumers who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are unaware of the risks related to using these 
pain medications, according to a new survey. About 58% of those surveyed recognize that there are risks 
associated with taking NSAIDs, but only 27% of people surveyed are aware of Food and Drug Administration’s 
(FDA’s) recommendation to use the lowest effective NSAID dose for the shortest duration possible. The survey also 
found that 62% of people experienced at least one side effect.
 
Further, almost half of the respondents (47%) said they do not know what NSAIDs are. Of those who said they are 
aware of NSAIDs, 42% believe ibuprofen does not belong to the NSAID class of medicine. More than 1,000 adults in 
the United States participated in the “Understanding America’s Pain: Identifying How Americans Experience and 
Manage Pain” survey.

April 20, 2016
Opioid Abuse: Costing Employers as Much as $8 Billion Annually
Opioid abuse could be costing U.S. employers up to $8 billion annually, according to “The Opioid Crisis in America’s 
Workforce,” a report by the benefits firm Castlight Health. Employees who abuse opioids cost employers 
almost twice as much in healthcare expenses on average, compared with workers who don’t abuse opioids, the 
report found. The average healthcare cost for employees who abuse opioids is $19,450, compared with $10,853 for 
employees who do not abuse opioids.

Castlight recommends employers, especially those with large and diverse workforces, analyze where lower back 
pain and depression—two conditions closely associated with opioid abuse—are most prevalent in their company. The 
company notes that employers may want to guide some employees away from unnecessary back surgery, which 
comes with opioid prescriptions.   The report notes that “targeted educational content could help inform employees 
suffering from lower back pain that an opioid may not be the wisest option for them, or that physical therapy 
benefits are available.” Companies should also guide employees to benefit programs to make better health decisions 
related to opioid use, the report recommends. Castlight says employers may want to consider offering programs 
that provide access to opioid abuse treatment.
 
The findings are based on data covering almost one million workers who used Castlight’s benefit platform between 
2011 and 2015.
According to CNBC, the report found that almost one-third of opioid painkiller prescriptions funded by employer 
plans are being abused. Castlight found 4.5 percent of workers who have received an opioid prescription have 
demonstrated a pattern of drug abuse. Among baby boomers, the rate was almost 7.5 percent.

April 18, 2016
Study: PPIs May Lead to Kidney Damage
A new study offers further evidence that using proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to alleviate conditions such as 
heartburn and acid reflux may seriously damage the kidneys. Tapping into Department of Veterans Affairs national 
databases, researchers identified 170,000 new users of PPIs and tracked them for 5 years. By the end of the study 
period, 15% of the PPI users had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. By comparison, the condition was 
confirmed in only 11% of 20,000 first-time users of histamine H2 receptor blockers—another class of drugs used to 
suppress gastric acid. After controlling for age, comorbidities, and other factors, the PPI users had a 28% greater 
risk for kidney disease.
 
While only a tiny fraction of study participants developed end-stage kidney failure, the risk was 96% higher for the 
PPI cohort. Despite the low overall risk, study author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, of VA Saint Louis Health Care System says 
the finding suggests that PPI use should be limited. "[Patients should] use PPIs only when it is medically necessary, 
and should limit duration of exposure to the minimum necessary to treat the underlying medical condition," said Al-
Aly, who reported the results in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. (Source: APhA Pharmacy Today, 
4/15/16)