Short Takes

AFM cases continue to rise

Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) are on the rise, with 210 confirmed cases of AFM in 40 states in 2018, up from 35 confirmed cases in 2017. AFM is a rare but serious condition that usually affects children, causing polio-like symptoms – focal extremity weakness, hyporeflexia, and sometimes cranial nerve dysfunction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage all health care providers to contact their local health departments with any suspected cases of AFM.

Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AFM Investigation. 2019 Jan.

HHS recommends prescribing naloxone to patients at high risk for opioid overdose

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends clinicians strongly consider prescribing or coprescribing naloxone to patients at high risk of opioid overdose. This includes patients who are on relatively high doses of opioids, take other medications which enhance opioid complications, or have underlying health conditions. Clinicians are also advised to educate patients and those likely to respond to an overdose on when and how to use naloxone in its variety of forms.

Citation: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. HHS recommends prescribing or co-prescribing naloxone to patients at high risk for an opioid overdose. 2018 Dec 18.

Fentanyl tops the list of opioid overdose drugs

The total number of drug overdose deaths per year in the United States increased 54%, from 41,340 deaths in 2011 to 63,632 deaths in 2016. Among opioids, mention of fentanyl increased during 2011-2016; that drug took the lead in 2016 with 29% of all drug overdose deaths. Among the drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl, 69% also involved one or more other drugs.

Citation: Hedegaard H et al. Drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths: United States, 2011–2016. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2018 Dec;67(9):1-14.

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