Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 02/26/2018 (Plain Text Version)
In this issue:
Notes from the American Medical Association
A few notes, with links to longer articles, from the AMA's Morning Rounds publication.
FDA: Clarithromycin may increase risk of heart events in certain people
NBC News (2/22, Fox) reports on its website the FDA has issued a safety communication saying it is “advising caution before prescribing the antibiotic clarithromycin (Biaxin) to patients with heart disease because of a potential increased risk of heart problems or death that can occur years later.”
Medscape (2/22, Brooks) reports that this “recommendation is based on 10-year follow-up results of the CLARICOR study, which found an ‘unexpected’ increase in deaths among patients with coronary heart disease who received a 2-week course of clarithromycin that became apparent after patients had been followed for at least 1 year, the agency said.”
How to talk with your patients about nutrition
This week’s top articles from The JAMA Network®
· Findings do not support suggestion that certain diets may be better for adults with certain genetic makeup: Study
· Association of risk of death and cigar, pipe and cigarette use: Study
Is spending for infused chemotherapy by commercial insurers lower at physician offices? Study
House panel to focus on advancing opioid bills by Memorial Day
The Washington Times (2/22, Howell) reports the House Energy and Commerce Committee will prioritize opioid legislation, with Republican leaders “urging the chamber to pass legislation by Memorial Day that allows Medicaid and Medicare to cover a range of addiction treatments and empowers agencies to prioritize the fight.” The Times reports the panel next week will begin “with a bill that makes it easier for the Drug Enforcement Administration to classify the latest forms of deadly fentanyl.” The panel will also take up legislation that “ensures hospice-care workers are disposing of opioid medications properly,” and by mid-March “will explore ways to spark the development of non-addictive pain relievers and allow the National Institutes of Health to shift pots of money to the fight.”
The Hill (2/22, Roubein) reports Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) hopes for legislation to pass the House by Memorial Day weekend. The article says lawmakers will examine “expanding access to behavioral health telemedicine in rural areas” and a number of other measures.
Congressional Quarterly (2/22, Raman, Subscription Publication) reports the hearings also will evaluate “possible changes to the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion,” as current policy “generally prohibits Medicaid from paying for mental health or substance-abuse services at centers that have more than 16 beds.”
For more information about how to help reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic, visit the AMA’s microsite, End the Opioid Epidemic.
The Wall Street Journal (2/22, Tergesen, Subscription Publication) reports that beginning in 2019, Medicare beneficiaries with high incomes must pay a larger share of their medicals costs. The article says this is another attempt to transfer more Medicare costs to the wealthiest seniors. The piece adds that as of next year, beneficiaries who have incomes of $500,000 or more, and couples with incomes of $750,000 or more, will be placed into a new category and asked to pay 85 percent of what their parts B and D benefits cost. At present, they are paying 80 percent of those costs.
Program emphasizing social interaction may reduce agitation in nursing home patients with dementia, study suggests
Reuters (2/23, Gillis) reports a recent trial found that nursing home care which emphasizes “fosters interest and social interaction among patients and staff” could help “reduce agitation and other neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia sufferers and improve their quality of life.” Researchers, who published their findings in PLoS Medicine, determined that the intervention program produced “meaningful decreases in agitation and neuropsychiatric symptoms and increased quality of life” among participants.