Survey: Vapers don't understand risks products pose | FDA issues warning against combined use of gabapentinoids, opioids | CDC reports at least 3.7M flu cases this season
December 23, 2019
Family Medicine SmartBrief
Top Story
The AAFP commissioned a survey of 1,000 people ages 16 to 30, which found 93% were aware of the e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury outbreak, and 65% were closely monitoring news about it. Survey data showed 86% of people were confident they understood the risks of vaping, but more than half said that only those who vaped cannabis products were at risk for illnesses and death, and 60% said second-hand aerosol from vape products wasn't harmful.
Full Story: AAFP News (12/20) 
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Clinical News
The FDA is cautioning patients -- especially the elderly and those with underlying respiratory conditions -- against using opioid painkillers with gabapentinoids, as the combination can lead to life-threatening breathing trouble. The agency also ordered drugmakers to study the risks of gabapentinoids and update product labels.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (12/19),  HealthDay News (12/19) 
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The CDC estimates that there have been at least 3.7 million flu cases, 32,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 1,800 flu-related fatalities, including 19 pediatric deaths, so far this season, and the majority of laboratory-confirmed flu cases were caused by influenza B/Victoria viruses. As of the week ending Dec. 14, high flu activity was reported in New York City, Puerto Rico and 19 states, while widespread flu activity was reported in 30 states.
Full Story: United Press International (12/20),  Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control (12/20) 
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High body mass index at baseline, as well as a later age of onset of obesity, are associated with high diabetes risk among women, according to a study published in Diabetologia. Researchers analyzed data from more than 11,000 women ages 18 to 23 in 1996 and discovered that those who developed obesity after a follow-up period of about 16 years had a 2.18-fold increased risk of diabetes with less than 10 obese-years, and diabetes risk rose in line with longer durations of cumulative obesity.
Full Story: News Medical (12/22) 
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Practice Management
Family physicians can register to attend an upcoming meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, scheduled for Jan. 23 to 24 in Houston, either in person or via webcast. Only people attending the meeting in person can provide oral comments, but participants who attend the meeting via webcast can send comments online or through the mail.
Full Story: AAFP News (12/20) 
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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a report outlining the factors that should be accounted for in opioid-prescribing plans, including scientific support for use of opioids or alternatives for a given condition, possible consequences of a prescription, and the wider implications, including health benefits as well as possible harms. The report makes no specific prescribing recommendations itself, but it does suggest that prescribing guidelines should be flexible enough to allow for clinical decision-making.
Full Story: STAT (tiered subscription model) (12/19) 
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Health Policy & Legislation
President Donald Trump signed a $1.4 trillion appropriations package on Friday that will keep the government open through Sept. 30, averting a government shutdown. The legislative package raises the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21 and repeals some Affordable Care Act taxes, including the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans.
Full Story: CNBC (12/21) 
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Professional Issues & Trends
Deleted decimal points in prescribed dosages, improper vaccine codes, inaccurate medication codes and missing lab results are among the errors in EHRs affecting patient safety that were detailed in a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers who examined 350 reports of EHR problems thought to violate the federal standards found that nearly 4% of certified EHRs have some kind of glitch that could result in patient harm.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (12/19) 
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Inside the AAFP
NEW! Rural Health livestream course
Join the Rural Health livestream, May 14-16, from the comfort of your home. Earn up to 18 AAFP Prescribed live CME credits and access real-time features from any device. Available in half-day increments, this course dives deep into topics unique to rural health docs. Register today.
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In business -- including health care -- someone has to pay
A group of physicians recently spoke out about their institution's aggressive collections tactics. Allison Edwards, M.D., asks in this Fresh Perspectives blog post whether anyone will follow their lead in standing up for patients regarding skyrocketing costs in the U.S. health care system.
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Editor's Note
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AAFP CareerLink - Connecting Family Physicians and Employers
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We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.
H.G. Wells,
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About AAFP
This news roundup is provided as a timely update to AAFP members and other health care professionals about family medicine topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of family physicians who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in Family Medicine SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the AAFP and its policies, positions or relationships. For clarification on AAFP positions and policies, we refer you to
External Resources are not a part of the AAFP website. AAFP is not responsible for the content of sites that are external to the AAFP. Linking to a website does not constitute an endorsement by AAFP of the sponsors of the site or the information presented on the site.

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