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NEWS
May 3, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
Many people have no idea what’s in their over-the-counter pain medication, if we’re to believe the results of a new study based on only 32 participants. And we’d just as well. Our own friends' and family members' confusion suggests they don't know either. Researchers from Northwestern University asked 32 adults in Atlanta and Chicago to match name-brand medicine boxes with the main active ingredient. Although 75% of participants knew that Bayer’s main ingredient was aspirin, fewer than half knew what was in Tylenol, Aleve and Advil.
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SCIENCE
April 3, 2014 | By Melissa Healy and Lisa Girion
Federal officials said Thursday they hoped a new "rescue pen" would help reduce the death toll from overdoses involving prescription painkillers. The Food and Drug Administration approved the sale, by prescription, of the prefilled auto-injector of the drug naloxone that caregivers or family members can use to reverse the effects of prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, and heroin. Available until now only by syringe, naloxone has been a workhorse drug in emergency departments battling the relentless rise in painkiller overdoses over the last decade.
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HEALTH
February 14, 2011 | By Emily Sohn, Special to the Los Angeles Times
People usually have good reasons for swallowing over-the-counter painkillers: They're hurting. But though the drugs often help, new research suggests that they sometimes do the opposite of what their users intended. That's especially true for serious athletes, for whom pain ? and painkillers ? are regular companions. In recent years, scientists have been studying runners competing in the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile race through California's Sierra Nevada mountains that involves more than 18,000 total feet of uphill climbing, more than 21,000 feet of downhill running and an average of 26 hours to complete.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | David Lazarus
In his 30 years as a pharmacist, including three at a CVS Caremark store in Northern California, Wayne Wilson said it was all too common for drugstore employees to steal prescription drugs, which would often make their way to the black market. "It happens far more often than people realize," he told me. "I used to be shocked. I'm not shocked any more. " Wilson said he personally intervened after a CVS pharmacy worker in Eureka was caught slipping painkillers into his pocket. That worker was arrested and fired, he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2010 | By Scott Glover
When Dr. Daniel J. Healy wasn't busy treating patients, he apparently dreamed of writing books. Among the prospective titles: "A Doctor Should Be Wealthy," "Physician Entrepreneur" and "The Million Dollar Practice." It's not hard to imagine why Healy might have considered himself an authority on such topics. By at least one measure, the small-town doctor from Duarte surpassed every other physician in the U.S., and he was getting rich in the process. Healy ordered more than 1 million tablets of hydrocodone in 2008: more than any other doctor and 10 times more than the average American pharmacy, according to government records.
NEWS
November 1, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Overdose deaths from abuse of prescription painkillers in the U.S. now outnumber deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. In 2008, drug overdoses caused 36,450 deaths in the U.S. One or more prescription drugs were involved in 20,044 of these deaths, CDC researchers wrote in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Opioid pain relievers, including oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone, were involved in 14,800.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2013 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
An Encino physician was charged Thursday with prescribing narcotic painkillers and other potent drugs to patients who had no legitimate need for the medications, prosecutors said. Yahya Hedvat, 68, was arrested at his Ventura Boulevard clinic, Encino Medical Urgent Care, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Hedvat, who specializes in internal medicine, faces eight felony counts of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance, including hydrocodone, clonazepam and suboxone, according to a felony complaint for arrest warrant.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2014 | David Lazarus
CVS Caremark Corp. could face as much as $29 million in fines for allegedly losing track of prescription painkillers at four of its California stores, from which authorities said thousands of pills may have been sold on the black market. Officials at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the California Board of Pharmacy told me Monday that more than 37,000 pills were apparently taken from CVS stores in Modesto, Fairfield, Dixon and Turlock. Meanwhile, CVS pharmacists in Southern California said they've been instructed by the drugstore chain to get their paperwork in order so that no other prescription meds are found to be missing.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | David Lazarus
In his 30 years as a pharmacist, including three at a CVS Caremark store in Northern California, Wayne Wilson said it was all too common for drugstore employees to steal prescription drugs, which would often make their way to the black market. "It happens far more often than people realize," he told me. "I used to be shocked. I'm not shocked any more. " Wilson said he personally intervened after a CVS pharmacy worker in Eureka was caught slipping painkillers into his pocket. That worker was arrested and fired, he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 26, 2013 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times
A top DEA official is calling on federal regulators to impose tougher rules on the way pharmaceutical companies market narcotic painkillers to physicians, noting that such drugs are involved in more than twice as many deaths as heroin and cocaine combined. Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who heads the Drug Enforcement Administration's Office of Diversion Control, urged the Food and Drug Administration in a letter to adopt stricter limits on OxyContin, Vicodin and similar medications to "safeguard the American public.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2014 | David Lazarus
CVS Caremark Corp. could face as much as $29 million in fines for allegedly losing track of prescription painkillers at four of its California stores, from which authorities said thousands of pills may have been sold on the black market. Officials at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the California Board of Pharmacy told me Monday that more than 37,000 pills were apparently taken from CVS stores in Modesto, Fairfield, Dixon and Turlock. Meanwhile, CVS pharmacists in Southern California said they've been instructed by the drugstore chain to get their paperwork in order so that no other prescription meds are found to be missing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2014 | By Scott Glover
A Burbank pharmacy that dispensed painkillers and other narcotics to five young patients who later died of overdoses had its license revoked Monday after the state pharmacy board found that its employees failed to properly scrutinize prescriptions that contributed to patient deaths. The pharmacy, Jay Scott Drugs on Glenoaks Boulevard, catered to patients of doctors Bernard Bass and Massoud Bamdad, both of whom were later convicted of crimes in connection with their prescribing. Pharmacists are required by law to scrutinize prescriptions, size up customers and refuse to dispense a drug if they suspect a patient does not have a legitimate medical need for it. Many of Bass' patients were in their 20s and traveled more than 40 miles from their homes in Ventura County to see Bass in North Hollywood, and then another five miles to Jay Scott Drugs where they typically paid cash for a combination of prescription drugs favored by addicts.
SCIENCE
January 2, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
When it comes to treating pain, a new study suggests traditional Chinese medicine has been getting it right for thousands of years. A chemical compound found in the underground tubers of the Corydalis plant can effectively alleviate three different types of pain in mice, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. The study also shows that mice do not build up a resistance to the naturally occurring compound, which means it could one day be used for managing chronic pain in humans.
SCIENCE
October 24, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
The Food and Drug Administration has laid out a roadmap for greater strictures on the prescribing and dispensing of hydrocodone and analgesics that contain it. The move is the latest in a chain of actions taken by the FDA and other agencies to address a burgeoning U.S. crisis of addiction to opioid painkillers. Under a plan announced by the FDA on Thursday afternoon, products containing the opioid painkiller hydrocodone, including combination analgesics such as Vicodin (which mixes hydrocodone with acetaminophen)
SCIENCE
September 10, 2013 | By Lisa Girion and Melissa Healy
Responding to calls to stem a growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction and overdose deaths, federal officials are urging doctors to reserve the most powerful pain drugs for patients who need long-term, around-the-clock treatment that can't be managed by other means. Leaders of the Food and Drug Administration said they hoped new drug labeling guidelines unveiled Tuesday would prompt doctors to be more cautious in prescribing long-acting and extended-release forms of oxycodone, morphine and other narcotic painkillers, known as opioids.
OPINION
August 17, 2013
Re "A closely guarded list," Aug. 11 It is unnecessary to require Purdue Pharma to disclose the names of California physicians who overprescribe the painkiller OxyContin, because the state already has that information. As The Times has previously reported, every pharmacy in California is required to report to the state database known as CURES all controlled substance it dispenses as well as the identity of the prescribing physicians and the patients. Pharmacists and physicians are encouraged to access CURES.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 11, 1986 | THOMAS OMESTAD, Times Staff Writer
A physician at a Sun Valley clinic pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to 13 counts of distributing prescription painkillers and sleeping pills to patients without a medical need. Kanu Devshandra Sharma, 31, of Sepulveda, wrote prescriptions that were "outside the usual course of medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose," Assistant U.S. Atty. Joyce A. Karlin said.
HEALTH
February 14, 2011 | By Emily Sohn, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When something hurts, most Americans open their medicine cabinets and pop a few capsules, tablets or gel-caps. Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen: More than 80% of us report using these four main over-the-counter analgesics, according to the market research firm Mintel. Two-thirds of us keep stashes on hand, not just at home but also at work, in our handbags or in the car. And about half of us have multiple bottles available, just in case. All that pill popping certainly affects our health ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 16, 2013 | By Scott Glover
A state senator from Nevada has joined a California lawmaker in requesting that drug maker Purdue Pharma turn over the names of doctors the company suspects recklessly prescribed its pills to drug dealers and addicts. Sen. Richard "Tick" Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) sent a letter to Purdue on Friday requesting that the company immediately provide Nevada's medical board with the names of Nevada physicians contained in a database of suspect doctors maintained by the company. Segerblom, chairman of Nevada's Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believes Purdue "has an ethical, if not legal duty" to inform state authorities of doctors who appear to be irresponsible prescribers of OxyContin, a potent painkiller that was highly prone to abuse before its reformulation in August 2010.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 2013 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
An Encino physician was charged Thursday with prescribing narcotic painkillers and other potent drugs to patients who had no legitimate need for the medications, prosecutors said. Yahya Hedvat, 68, was arrested at his Ventura Boulevard clinic, Encino Medical Urgent Care, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Hedvat, who specializes in internal medicine, faces eight felony counts of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance, including hydrocodone, clonazepam and suboxone, according to a felony complaint for arrest warrant.
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