News in Brief: Week of May 6-10

May 08, 2013 05:15 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief w/stack of papers]

FDA Says Valproate Sodium Contraindicated During Pregnancy

The FDA has issued an announcement( advising physicians, other health care professionals and women that the antiseizure medication valproate sodium and related products valproic acid and divalproex sodium are contraindicated and should not be taken by pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches.

"Based on information from a recent study, there is evidence that these medications can cause decreased IQ scores in children whose mothers took them while pregnant," the statement said. "Stronger warnings about use during pregnancy will be added to the drug labels, and valproate's pregnancy category for migraine use will be changed from 'D' to 'X.'"

Pregnant women with epilepsy or bipolar disorder should be prescribed valproate products only if other medications are not an option, according to the FDA. Valproate products used for these indications will remain in pregnancy category D.

For women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, valproate should not be taken for any condition unless the drug is essential to the management of a woman's medical condition. All nonpregnant women of childbearing age taking valproate products should use effective birth control.

FPM Scores Gold Award for Best Original Research From ASHPE

The AAFP's practice management journal, Family Practice Management, has received the Gold Award( in the Best Original Research category for the article "The 2012 EHR User Satisfaction Survey: Responses From 3,088 Family Physicians" in the journal's November/December 2012 issue.

The award was bestowed by the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE), which "recognizes editorial excellence and achievement in the field of health care publishing," according to the May 1 award notification letter.

The ASHPE( website states that the organization is committed to

  • fostering the highest ethical standards in management;
  • rewarding excellence in publications development and editorial performance; and
  • serving as an authority on evolving trends in the health care publishing sector.

Type 1 Diabetes Trial Seeking Volunteers Online

An NIH-funded trial( -- Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet -- is looking for volunteers to help discover ways to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes.

According to an NIH release(, relatives of patients with type 1 diabetes no longer need to visit a study site or attend a screening event. Instead, volunteers can answer a few questions online to see if they are eligible. Those selected will receive a kit and be directed to a local lab for screening at no cost to the volunteer.

TrialNet must screen more than 20,000 relatives of people with type 1 diabetes each year to perform studies to reach its research goals.

"People who have antibodies associated with the development of type 1 diabetes will be contacted by a TrialNet center to review the results," said the release. "They may be invited to have more blood tests at a study center, and may be invited to join a study aimed at preventing or delaying the disease.

"Children under 18 years old who do not have the antibodies can be retested annually to see if their risk has changed. Of every 100 people tested, typically only 3 or 4 will have antibodies showing an increased risk for type 1 diabetes."

CMS Schedules Call on Open Payments Rule

CMS will hold a national provider call on May 22 to provide an overview and explanation of a law requiring pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report payments or gifts of $10 or more made to physicians, hospitals and other providers on a yearly basis.

The call, scheduled from 2:30-4 p.m. EDT on May 22, will review key program dates associated with the law, as well as available resources to help physicians and other providers adhere to the law itself. Registration( is required. The presentation for the call will be posted on the CMS National Provider Calls Web page( after the call. CMS also will e-mail a slide presentation to all registrants on the day of the call.

The National Physician Payment Transparency Program, also known as Open Payments, was enacted to create greater transparency around the financial arrangements among pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, GPOs, physicians and other providers. CMS issued a final rule earlier this year to implement the measure.

New Survey Data Reveal Perceptions About Teen Health Care

Many parents do not believe teenagers should have annual medical checkups despite medical recommendations to the contrary, according to new polling data( released by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

Eighty-five percent of parents polled said annual checkups are very important for children between birth and age five. But that percentage drops by 24 percent when parents were asked if teenagers needed annual checkups.

About one in four parents said a teenager's lifestyle choices will not affect their health in the future, a statement that one in five teenagers agreed with, according to a press release( issued by the NFID.