Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs a Common Cause of Emergency Room Visits

CDR Andrew Geller, MDMedical Officer, Medication Safety ProgramDivision of Healthcare Quality Promotion,CDCAtlanta GA 30329

Dr. Geller

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
CDR Andrew Geller, MD
Medical Officer, Medication Safety Program
Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion,
CDC
Atlanta GA 30329

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There has been a lot of recent attention on drug overdoses in the United States, particularly fatal overdoses which involve opioids. But the overall frequency with which patients end up in the emergency department (ED) due to nonmedical use of medications across the US is unknown.

  • Nonmedical use refers to a spectrum of circumstances, including intentionally using more medication than is recommended in an attempt to treat a health condition (therapeutic misuse) to using medication to attain euphoria or get “high” (abuse).

With this analysis, we wanted to focus on the acute harms to individual patients from nonmedical use of all medications, in order to help target prevention efforts.

  • Specifically, we used data from a nationally-representative sample of hospital EDs to identify the medications with the highest numbers of emergency visits for harms following nonmedical use of medications and to identify the patient groups with the highest risks. 

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Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea Linked to Resistant Hypertension in African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dayna A. Johnson PhD Department of Epidemiology Emory University Atlanta, GA

Dr. Johnson

Dayna A. Johnson PhD
Department of Epidemiology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are several studies that have determined that African Americans have the highest prevalence of hypertension and are the most likely to have uncontrolled hypertension compared to other racial/ethnic groups. We were interested in studying whether sleep apnea contributed to hypertension control among African Americans.

We found that participants with sleep apnea were more likely to have resistant hypertension than those without sleep apnea. In particular, individuals with severe sleep apnea had the highest risk of resistant hypertension. Most of the participants with measured sleep apnea were undiagnosed (96%).  Continue reading

Medicare Spends Hundreds of Millions Annually to Treat Precancerous Skin Lesions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Actinic Keratosis” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Howa Yeung, MD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA 30322 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by actinic keratoses?

Response: Actinic keratoses are common precancerous skin lesions caused by sun exposure. Because actinic keratoses may develop into skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, they are often treated by various destructive methods. We used Medicare Part B billing claims to estimate the number and cost of treated actinic keratoses from 2007 to 2015.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: While the number of Medicare Part B beneficiaries increased only moderately, the number of actinic keratoses treated by destruction rose from 29.7 million in 2007 to 35.6 million in 2015. Medicare paid an average annual amount of $413.1 million for actinic keratosis destruction from 2007 to 2015. Independently billing non-physician clinicians, including advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, are treating an increasing proportion of actinic keratosis, peaking at 13.5% in 2015.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Readers should understand that the burden of actinic keratosis treatment is increasing in the Medicare population. There is also an increasing proportion of actinic keratoses being treated by advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.  Continue reading