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Last Updated
March 18, 2015
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March 18, 2015
FDA Updates Label for Stop Smoking Drug Chantix to Include Potential Alcohol Interaction
FDA is warning that the prescription smoking cessation medicine Chantix (varenicline) can change
the way people react to alcohol. In addition, rare accounts of seizures in patients treated with
Chantix have been reported.  The Agency reviewed the case series submitted by Pfizer, the
manufacturer of Chantix, as well as the cases in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS)
database describing patients who drank alcohol during treatment with Chantix and experienced
adverse reactions. Some patients experienced decreased tolerance to alcohol, including increased
drunkenness, unusual or aggressive behavior, or they had no memory of things that happened.  FDA
has approved changes to the Chantix label to warn about these risks.  Until patients know how
Chantix affects their ability to tolerate alcohol, they should decrease the amount of alcohol they
drink.  Patients who have a seizure while taking Chantix should stop the medicine and seek medical
attention immediately.

March 12, 2015
5 Tips for Medication Safety in the Home Health Environment
5 Tips for Medication Safety in the Home Health Environment

In recognition of  National Patient
Safety Awareness Week (March 8 – 14), the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) and the National
Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), are pleased to share some tips for healthcare
professionals (e.g., home healthcare workers and family caregivers) regarding medication safety in
the home environment.

Create a “Medication Safety Zone” in your home – a dedicated area where medications are prepared,
administered or consumed. To promote safety, your Medication Safety Zone should feature:

1.	Adequate Lighting
2.	Minimal Distractions and/or Interruptions
3.	A Tidy & Organized Workspace 
4.	Prescription Labels That are Easy to Read & Understand 
5.	A “System” That Works for the Patient and Promotes Adherence.

Do you provide home healthcare services to a friend, family member, or client?  You can share some
of your challenges or experiences with USP. Click

March 11, 2015
Study Finds 17 Percent of College Students Misuse ADHD Drugs
An estimated 17 percent of college students misuse drugs designed to treat attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new analysis of previous studies. Past studies have
differed widely in their estimate of how many college students misuse ADHD drugs, ranging from 2
percent to 43 percent, MedicalXpress reports. 

The researchers of the new review looked at 30 past studies, and calculated that overall, one in
six college students misuse ADHD drugs. Misuse can mean taking more of the drug than has been
prescribed, or using the medication without a prescription, the article notes. Researcher Kate
Flory of the University of South Carolina said many college students who misuse the drugs do so in
an attempt to improve their academic performance. The new review suggests stimulant misuse is
associated with poorer academic performance, she said. 

Risk factors for students who abuse the drugs include having symptoms of ADHD, problems associated
with alcohol use, and marijuana use, the review found. Greek organization membership was also
associated with misuse. The most common source of ADHD drugs was friends with prescriptions, the
review found. The findings appear in  Clinical
Child and Family Psychology Review.

A survey released last November found almost
one-fifth of college students say they abuse prescription stimulants. The most commonly abused
stimulants are medications used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse. One in seven
young adults ages 18 to 25 who aren’t in
college also said they abuse stimulant medications. The survey, sponsored by the Partnership for
Drug-Free Kids, included more than 1,600 young adults who answered questions online. The
researchers found young adults say they use prescription stimulants to help them stay awake, study
or improve their performance at work or school.

March 4, 2015
Roadside Survey Reveals Increase in Drugged Driving
Decades-long efforts to combat drunk driving continue to be effective at keeping alcohol-impaired
drivers off America’s roadways, but the number of drivers who test positive for drugs has risen in
recent years, according to results of a recent survey.  The latest version of the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA’s) Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers found
that the percentage of weekend nighttime drivers with breath alcohol content of 0.08 grams per 210
liters of breath or above—at or in excess of the legal limit—had declined by nearly one-third since
2007 and by 80 percent since the first Roadside Survey in 1973. However, the study also found
evidence of increased drugged driving. In the 2014 survey, about one-in-four each of weekend
nighttime drivers and weekday daytime drivers tested positive for at least one drug (illicit or
medication) that could affect highway safety.
To read the Research Note, click here.

March 1, 2015
Pharmacists can promote safe use of meds for rheumatoid arthritis
NCPIE serves as co-editor for a monthly column in Pharmacy Today (American
Pharmacists Association) The column is entitled “One-to-One” and is intended to help develop
pharmacists’ medication communication and counseling skills to promote safe and appropriate
medicine use.