Apr 22, 2019

Varying opioid dosage increases overdose risk

While tapering patients taking prescription opioids off of the medication is associated with a lower risk of overdose if the patient stops taking the drug, it can also lead to increased risks of overdose if it leads to the patient switching up dosages, according to a new JAMA study.

Why it matters: This is yet another obstacle to solving the opioid epidemic, and shows how the best intentions can be dangerous: Even trying to get patients to quit taking legal opioids can backfire and lead to overdose.

  • The study found that changing a patient's opioid dosage increased the risk of overdose. But it also found that discontinuation of opioids reduced the risk.
  • Patients often take decreasing dosages of a drug as a way of weaning themselves off of it. But sometimes, if they begin to go through withdrawal or their pain increases, the patient could then ask for a dose increase or seek opioids elsewhere.

Go deeper: Lowering prescription opioid misuse won't stop the opioid crisis

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This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World