MDNN: NAS in Medicaid Patients, Synthetic Opioids, Drug Use Disorder Mortality Grows

MARCH 31, 2018
MD Magazine Staff


Hi, I’m Matt Hoffman, I’m Cecilia Pessoa-Gingerich, and this is MD Magazine News Network - it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

The annual rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome among infants in the US worsened by 433% from 2004 to 2014, according to a recently released study. The rate, which plays out to an infant being born with withdrawal symptoms of pre-birth exposure to opioids once every 15 minutes, is markedly worse for infants born under Medicaid health care coverage. According to researchers, Medicaid was a primary payer for nearly 75% of the births in 2014 that resulted in NAS diagnoses. Speaking to MD Magazine, the study’s first author attributed the correlation to a greater rate of opioid abuse being reported by lower-income individuals.

The CDC has released reports this week which state that more than 63,000 people in the US were killed by drug overdoses in 2016. Of those deaths, two-thirds involved a prescription or illicit opioid. The analysis indicates that recent increases in overdose deaths have been driven by growth in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Among age and gender groups, men between 25 and 44 years old reported the greatest increase in drug overdose death rates involving synthetic opioids since 2015, more than doubling their mortality rate.

In related news, another report on mortality rates and trends in the United States found that death from drug use disorders have been increasing since 1980, and while rates due to alcohol use disorders and self-harm have decreased, they are on an upward trend since 2000. These rates, including those due to interpersonal violence, also vary drastically in terms of geography, down to the county level. In 2015, substance abuse disorders, including those with drugs and alcohol, accounted for nearly 4% of all deaths in the country.

For our weekly segment FDA Roundup, let’s go to Kevin Kunzmann, reporting live from in front of a green screen. Kevin?

Thanks Cecilia. Here’s your FDA headlines from this past week.

The FDA approved another HIV triple drug combination from Mylan Pharmaceuticals. The therapy, Symfi Lo, will be hitting the market as a tablet drug later this year. The indication comes shortly after the approval of 2 other Mylan antiretroviral therapies.

Dexcom G6, the first interoperable continuous glucose monitoring system for monitoring blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes aged 2 years and older, was designated by the FDA as a class 2 device. The designation subjects the device to special controls that will allow future developers to bring products more easily to the market through new FDA criteria.

While we’re on diabetes, the FDA also approved the Toujeo Max SoloStar insulin injection pen from Sanofi, making the 900 units per milliliter device the largest pen carrier of insulin on the market. Sanofi anticipates the larger pen will allow patients with diabetes to require fewer insulin refills and related copays.

With the only good news from this entire week, I’m Kevin Kunzmann with FDA Roundup. Back to you guys.

For these stories and more, visit us at mdmag.com. I’m Matt Hoffman, and I’m Cecilia Pessoa-Gingerich. Thank you for watching MDNN.

Copyright© MD Magazine 2006-2019 Intellisphere, LLC. All Rights Reserved.