Quick Hits: Pain Reliever Linked to CV Events, More Kids With ADHD & More

A pain reliever that is available both over-the-counter and via prescription is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events compared to other analgesics. Researchers looked at 252 studies covering more than 6.3 million Danish people. They examined the cardiovascular risks of starting Voltaren (diclofenac) compared with starting Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen). Diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen are all considered NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). People who started diclofenac were 50% more likely to experience an adverse cardiovascular event within 30 days compared to those who didn’t take any of the drugs. Cardiovascular event risk was 30% higher in those starting diclofenac compared to naproxen, and 30% compared to those beginning on ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Diclofenac was also associated with a 2.5 times greater risk of experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding compared with the other 3 drugs. Posted September 4, 2018. Via BMJ.

The number of children diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) has jumped dramatically over the last 2 decades. In 1996, an estimated 6.1% of children and adolescents were diagnosed with ADHD. In 2016, that figure reached 10.2%. Boys were much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to girls – 14% vs. 6.3%. By race, 12.8% of black youth, 12% of white youth and 6.1% of Hispanic youth have been diagnosed with ADHD. The study was based on data from the National Health Interview Survey. The authors said the increase was due to several factors, including new parameters for diagnosis, a boost in health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act and greater recognition and understanding of ADHD by healthcare professionals and the public. Posted August 31, 2018. Via JAMA Network Open.

An experimental medication may be able to provide powerful pain relief without the addictive nature of opioids. Researchers said that their painkiller, known as AT-121, produced morphine-like analgesic effects but was found not to be addictive when it was given to primates. In addition, a much smaller amount of medication was needed to achieve this effect, according to the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. While opioid medications on the market today target the mu-opioid receptors – which provide pain relief – in the brain, AT-121 targets both those receptors and nociception receptors. The latter receptors block some of the addictive effects of opioids. Researchers said they need to conduct more preclinical studies to gather safety data, and then potentially ask the FDA for approval to start clinical trials in humans. Posted August 29, 2018. Via Science Daily.

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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