Quick Hits: Medical Treatment Adverse Event Death Drop and Antidepressant Tapering With Psychotherapy

Quick Hits: Transvaginal Mesh Pulled, New Weight Loss Drug & More

Deaths related to the adverse events of medical treatments fell between 1990 and 2016. Researchers examined the causes of death listed on death certificates as well as data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factor tool. Overall, the mortality rate due to adverse events declined by 21.4% from 1.46 per 100,000 people to 1.15 over the time period. However, researchers noted that age was a significant factor in mortality. The mortality rate for those aged 70 and over was nearly 20 times higher than for those between 15 and 49. Location also influenced the rate, with California having the lowest and Mississippi the highest. The most common reason for an adverse event from medical treatment was surgery and post-operative complications. Posted January 18, 2019. Via JAMA Network Open.

Tapering off antidepressants is more successful and a person has a lower risk for relapse if it is done along with psychotherapy. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 15 studies and found that after two years, the risk for relapse was between 15% and 25% for cognitive behavioral therapy and tapering compared to 35% to 80% with just regular clinical visits and tapering. The study’s authors note that in western countries, antidepressant prescriptions have doubled over the last decade. In addition, the average length of time on an antidepressant in the US is five years, and the medications are often prescribed by a primary care physician, not a psychiatrist. Posted January 22, 2019. Via Annals of Family Medicine.

Areas of the country where drugmakers spent more money marketing to doctors are linked to higher rates of opioid use, according to a new study. Researchers say that counties that had the most opioid marketing from pharmaceutical companies to healthcare providers subsequently had the highest rates of opioid prescribing and opioid overdose deaths. Between August 2013 and December 2015, drug companies spent about $40 million on opioid marketing to more than 67,000 physicians. The Northeast US had the highest marketing and the Midwest the lowest, the study found. Also, for every three additional payments made to doctors per 100,000 people in a county, opioid deaths increased 18%. Posted January 18, 2019. Via JAMA Network Open.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


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