Pioneering Addiction Psychiatrist Mitchell Rosenthal Dead at 87

Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal Mitchell Rosenthal, MD, the founder and long-time president and CEO of Phoenix House, a nonprofit substance use disorder treatment organization, died on November 17 at the age of 87. The psychiatrist died at a Manhattan hospital from complications of pneumonia, The New York Times reports. Rosenthal was a dedicated advocate of ensuring … Read more

Primary Care Moves Patients With Addiction to Self-Advocacy

Samuel Werner, DO, a family medicine physician in West Hartford, Connecticut, vividly remembers one patient who was struggling with a drug addiction. The man was having trouble holding down a steady job because of his dependence, but with Werner’s guidance, he started on buprenorphine. Werner also connected him with a social worker to address housing … Read more

Naloxone May Fail for Overdoses Tainted With ‘Tranq,’ FDA Warns

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting healthcare professionals about the special management required for opioid overdoses tainted with xylazine, an animal tranquilizer known on the street as tranq, tranq dope, sleep-cut, Philly dope, and zombie drug. The tranquilizer is often combined with fentanyl or heroin, or occasionally with a stimulant, said the … Read more

New CDC Guidance on Prescribing Opioids for Pain

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated and expanded recommendations for prescribing opioids for adults with acute and chronic pain not related to cancer, sickle cell disease, or palliative/end-of-life care. The 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline provides guidance on determining whether to initiate opioids for pain; selecting opioids and determining opioid … Read more

CVS, Walgreens Announce Opioid Settlements Totaling $10B

Two of the largest US pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co., announced agreements in principle Wednesday to pay about $5 billion each to settle lawsuits nationwide over the toll of opioids, and a lawyer said Walmart is in discussions for a deal. Together, the developments amount to what could be the last round of … Read more

Four Commonly Abused Drugs Linked With Atrial Fibrillation

Cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, and cannabis may independently increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), based on data from almost 24 million people. While more work is needed to uncover causal links, physicians should be aware that these commonly abused substances could be driving new cases of AFib, reported investigators from the University of California, San … Read more

Taking Prescribed Opioids Tied to Low Rates of Illicit Drug Use

Less than 5% of people whose opioid therapy is managed in a pain management setting test positive for illicit drugs, a new study found. An analysis of urine drug tests (UDTs) from 600,000 pain clinic patients also shows that those who test positive for their prescribed opioids are significantly less likely to test positive for … Read more

Doctors Less Open to New Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

Family physicians are almost three times less likely to offer a new patient appointment to a patient with opioid use disorder (OUD), compared with a patient with diabetes, new data from Ontario, Canada suggest. In a randomized clinical trial that included almost 400 family physicians, those with more than 20 years’ experience were almost 13 … Read more

Is Medical Cannabis the Answer to the Opioid Crisis?

Medical cannabis may be an important alternative to opioids for pain management, new research suggests. In a large survey, patients with a variety of ailments, including pain and mental health problems, reported less pain and better functioning, after using medical cannabis — and most were able to stop or cut back on their opioid use. … Read more

First Known Opiate Biomarker Shows Fentanyl’s Effect on Brain

Fentanyl depresses breathing about 4 minutes before symptoms of distress are evident at a dose that is 1700 times lower than that needed for sedation, new research shows. This new information comes after researchers identified a unique EEG signature produced by fentanyl, the first known biomarker of an opiate’s effect on the brain. By monitoring … Read more