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Quick Hits: Payments from Drug Industry to Docs, Sleeping Pills Boost Fracture Risk & More


By Alanna McCatty

May 4, 2017

Quick Hits: New Breast Cancer Drugs Have Fewer Side Effects, Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy and Autism & More

About half of US doctors have received payments of some type from pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies amounting to $2.4 billion in 2015. The results is that it encourages doctors to prescribe expensive drugs and medical devices peddled by sales representatives. Researchers analyzed data from Open Payments, a federal program that collects information on payments that biomedical companies make to physicians and hospitals. In 2015, almost 450,000 out of more than 933,000 doctors received some kind of payment, such as free meals or travel, speaking fees and other gifts. The Journal of the American Medical Association focused this week’s issue on conflicts of interests. Posted May 2, 2017. Via JAMA.

Older people who are prescribed sleeping pills like benzodiazepines and Ambien (zolpidem) have more than double the odds of a hip fracture in the first two weeks compared with non-users. Researchers assessed people over the age of 65 and found that new users of these medications experienced nearly 2.5 times the fracture rate, when compared with older people not taking them. An approximately 53% increase in fracture risk was identified in medium-term users (15 to 30 days), and a 20% increased risk of hip fracture in long-term users (30 days or more). Posted April 26, 2017. Via PLOS ONE.

The FDA approved Rydapt (midostaurin) for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Rydapt is for patients that have a specific genetic mutation and will be used in combination with chemotherapy. Some common side effects of Rydapt in include low levels of white blood cells, fever, nausea and inflammation of the mucous membranes. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take the medication because it may cause fetal harm. Patients who experience signs or symptoms of lung damage should stop taking the drug. Posted April 28, 2017. Via FDA.


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Alanna McCatty

Alanna McCatty

Alanna McCatty is a recent graduate of Pace University with a degree in communications. At MedShadow, she reports on new findings and research on the side effects of prescription drugs.

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Last updated: May 4, 2017