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Latest News Around the Web

FDA Cracks Down On Websites Illegally Selling Medications

The Washington Post (9/25, McGinley) reports that the Food and Drug Administration “targeted more than 500 websites it said were illegally selling unapproved versions of prescription medications, including opioids, antibiotics and injectable epinephrine products.” The agency’s crackdown was a part of “a global operation called Pangea X, led by the international police organization Interpol.” The effort “involved police, customs and regulatory officials from 123 countries and resulted in the seizure of millions of doses of dietary supplements, pain reduction [drugs], epilepsy medication, erectile dysfunction [drugs] and antipsychotic medication, Interpol said.” In a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “The ease with which consumers can purchase opioid products online is especially concerning to me, given the immense public health crisis of addiction facing our country.”

Reuters (9/25, Clarke) reports that the FDA issued warning letters and seized “nearly 100 website domain names, including buyhydrocodoneonline.com and buyklonopin.com.” Gottlieb “said the agency has tripled its international mail inspectors and doubled its cybercrime and port of entry agents” as “part of a broader plan the FDA is developing to intercept illegal drugs.”

Additional coverage is provided by MedPage Today (9/25, Fiore).

Related Links:

— “FDA targets hundreds of ‘rogue’ websites illegally selling opioids and other prescription drugs,” Laurie McGinley, Washington Post, September 25, 2017.

Depression May Be Common, But Overlooked, In Patients With Cancer

HealthDay (9/25, Preidt) reports that research suggests “depression is common, though often overlooked, in people with cancer.” Investigators “assessed depression in 400 patients treated for cancer between 2013 and 2016.” The study indicated that “depression was found in 40 percent of the patients, and 3 out of 4 of those patients were never diagnosed or treated for it.” The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Related Links:

— “Cancer Patients May Have Undiagnosed Depression,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, September 25, 2017.

Lack Of Paid Sick Leave May Cause Mental Distress For Ill Workers

HealthDay (9/22, Preidt) reported, “Lack of paid sick leave can cause mental distress for workers when they’re ill because they’re afraid of losing wages or their jobs,” researchers concluded after studying “nearly 18,000 workers, ages 18-64,” 40 percent of which had no paid sick leave. The findings were published online in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Related Links:

— “Workers Without Paid Sick Leave Suffer Ill Effects,” Robert Preidt, , September 22, 2017.

Asthma Medication Montelukast May Be Associated With Adverse Psychiatric Effects

HealthDay (9/21, Gordon) reports, “The asthma medication Singulair (montelukast) appears linked to neuropsychiatric side effects, such as depression, aggression, nightmares and headaches,” researchers concluded after analyzing data from the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Center Lareb database and the World Health Organization’s VigiBase. The findings were published online Sept. 20 in Pharmacology Research and Perspectives. Medscape(9/20, Hackethal) also covers the study.

Related Links:

— “Asthma Drug Tied to Nightmares, Depression,” Serena Gordon, HalthDay, September 21, 2017.

Women With History Of PTSD May Have Increased Risk Of Developing SLE

MedPage Today (9/20, Walsh) reports, “Women with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have an increased risk of developing systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE],” researchers found. What’s more, “a history of any trauma exposure, regardless of PTSD-specific symptoms, was associated with a significantly higher risk of incident lupus,” the study of some 50,242 women revealed. The findings were published online in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Related Links:

— “PTSD Tied to New-Onset Lupus in Women,” Nancy Walsh,, MedPage Today, September 20, 2017.

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