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Last Updated
September 23, 2016
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September 23, 2016
Falls are Leading Cause of Injury & Death in Older Americans
Falls are the No. 1 cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans.  In 2014, a total of 29 million falls 
among older Americans caused 7 million injuries and cost an estimated $31 billion, CDC reports. "Older adult falls are 
increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.   To help 
reduce falls among older adults, CDC has developed the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) initiative to help health care providers 
make fall prevention routine. The program includes information on how to screen for falls; online training for 
providers; videos on how to conduct functional assessments; and informational brochures for providers, patients, and 
There are several simple steps older individuals can take to help prevent a fall, including talking to their health care 
provider about falls and fall prevention, talking to their provider or pharmacist about medications that make them 
more likely to fall, having their eyes checked every year, participating in evidence-based programs that can improve 
balance and strengthen the legs, and getting rid of fall hazards in the home.

September 19, 2016
Dosing Errors Common With Children's Liquid Medicine
Parents may give their child too much or too little medicine when dispensing medication, particularly dosing cups, 
according to a study in Pediatrics. Researchers asked 2,110 parents of children age 8 or younger to measure nine 
doses of liquid medication in random order, and parents doled out the wrong dose 43% of the time using a dosing cup, 
compared to 16% of the time when using an oral syringe.  
(Source: Pediatrics, September 2016)

September 15, 2016
New Survey: Barriers to Accessing Pain Meds: 47% have Contemplated Suicide
The survey, conducted by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA), received responses from 1001 individuals. 
Topline results showed that: 
·       56% have had issues/difficulty obtaining a prescription for their pain medications, while 39% cite their physician 
no longer prescribes pain medication, and 38% say their physician is not prescribing their specific medication;
·       63% said their pharmacy carries only a limited supply of medication, and 28% said the pharmacy does not carry 
their medication at all;  
·       30% have gone to the emergency room seeking relief for their pain; and
·       70% cite that they are not concerned about the potential for their medications to be diverted for illicit use by 
family or friends.   
“The FDA Opioid Action Plan identifies the importance of balancing the societal risk of opioid misuse and abuse with 
access to effective medications for patients living with chronic pain,” said Donna Kalauokalani, MD, MPH, Pain 
Management and ACPA board member. “We believe abuse-deterrent formulations of opioids can help provide 
individuals with pain access to treatment options while deterring potential misuse or abuse. We must not lose sight of 
the importance of treatment options for those individuals who legitimately need them.”   (Support for the survey was 
provided by an unrestricted grant from Egalet to ACPA.)

September 13, 2016
Five Million Older Americans Are Not Taking BP Meds As Directed
Some 5 million Medicare Part D enrollees aged 65 and older do not take their blood pressure medications properly, 
according to a Vital Signs report from the CDC. This improper use increases their risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney 
disease and death. "A simple action can avoid potentially deadly consequences: take your blood pressure medicine as 
prescribed," said CDC Director Tom Frieden. Healthcare systems — including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, community 
health workers, practices, hospitals, and insurers — can play a key role in improving blood pressure control 
nationwide.  Other findings of note: 
•	The percentage of Medicare Part D enrollees not taking their blood pressure medicine is higher among certain 
racial/ethnic groups (American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic). This contributes to these groups’ higher risk of 
heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and death.
•	There are also geographic differences. Southern U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have the 
highest overall rates of not taking blood-pressure medicines as directed. North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have 
the highest rates of people who do take their medicine as directed.

September 9, 2016
Widespread Use of Psychotherapeutic Drugs Provides Ample Supply for Abuse
Almost half of all Americans take prescription painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants or sedatives, according to results of 
a federal survey released recently. The prevalent use of these drugs could help explain why millions of Americans end 
up misusing or abusing them.   Last year, for the first time, the government's National Survey on Drug Use decided to 
ask the people it interviewed about all uses of prescription medicines, not just inappropriate use. The survey found 
that 119 million Americans age 12 and over took prescription psychotherapeutic drugs. That's 45 percent of the 
population.  Sixteen percent  (16%) of all prescription drug use was actually misuse, according to the report. (Source: