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News in Brief: Week of Aug. 20-24
By News Staff
Latest Information on NIH's Website for Seniors Targets Older Drivers
Seniors who visit NIHSeniorHealth.gov's Older Drivers section can expect to learn about how age-related declines in vision, hearing and other abilities, as well as certain health conditions and medications, can affect driving skills. The site also provides specific tips for safe driving, including
- limiting driving to daytime hours for older adults who have trouble seeing in the dark;
- scheduling vision checks every one to two years and hearing assessments every three years;
- avoiding high-traffic areas and times, such as the freeway at rush hour; and
- reading all medication labels carefully and adhering to cautions against driving while using certain drugs.
FDA Says OTC 'Supplements' Cause Dangerous Drug Interactions
The FDA issued its first warning on June 1, indicating that the products, which are marketed as a treatment for arthritis, muscle pain, osteoporosis, bone cancer and other conditions, contain several potentially harmful active pharmaceutical ingredients that are not listed on the labels.
In addition to fatality and stroke alerts, the FDA said it also has received reports of liver injury, severe bleeding, sudden worsening of glucose control, weight gain, swelling, leg cramps, withdrawal syndrome and adrenal suppression associated with use of the Reumofan products.
FDA laboratory analyses of Reumofan Plus found that it contains dexamethasone, diclofenac sodium and methocarbamol; a separate FDA lab analysis of Reumofan Plus Premium indicated the product only contained two of the ingredients -- diclofenac sodium and methocarbamol.
Physicians and other health care professionals are urged to ask patients that present with unexplained symptoms that suggest NSAID toxicity, psychiatric changes, or the use or abrupt discontinuation of corticosteroids about use of these and other, similar products marketed as dietary supplements. The FDA also is asking physicians and other health care professionals to evaluate patients who've used the supplements for drug and disease interactions involving diclofenac, methocarbamol and corticosteroids and consider whether a corticosteroid taper regimen may be appropriate.
Physicians and other health care professionals can report adverse events or side effects related to the use of the supplements or other agents to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program online or by phone at (800) 332-1088.
Employers Planning to Ask Employees to Pay More Toward Health Insurance, Survey Finds
The survey, based on responses from 83 of the nation's largest corporations, found that 53 percent of respondents plan to increase the amount that employees contribute to premiums, 39 percent are looking at increasing in-network deductible amounts, and 22 percent said they plan to increase out-of-pocket maximums next year.
Nearly half of the surveyed employers said they use incentives to encourage participation in wellness programs, and more than four in 10 provide an incentive to encourage people to stop using tobacco products. Three in 10, meanwhile, base incentive amounts on the achievement of certain goals, such as lowering cholesterol levels.
News in Brief: Week of Aug. 20-24