Head Lice in 25 States Are Now Resistant to Treatment

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Here’s some lousy news: Lice in half of America—at least 25 states—are now resistant to over-the-counter treatments. That’s according to new research presented at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting.

Study author Kyong S. Yoon, PhD, assistant professor in the Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences Program at Southern Illinois University, has been researching lice since 2000. (“My PhD entirely focused on head lice,” he says with a laugh.) Using the services of professional nitpickers across the country, Yoon decided to take an American lice census by collecting pest populations from every state.

His research is still ongoing, but what he’s found so far in 109 samples from 30 states is startling: the vast majority of lice now carry genes that are super-resistant to the over-the-counter treatment used against them.

Lice is commonly treated by a group of insecticides called pyrethroids, used for mosquito control. One of those, permethrin, is the active ingredient in some anti-lice treatments—but lice populations can develop a trio of mutations that make it resistant to pyrethroids.

MORE: Experts Claim Selfies Are Giving Teens Head Lice

In 25 of the states, lice samples had all three of these genetic mutations, making them the most resistant to treatment. Lice populations from four other states had one, two or three mutations, and in just one state—Michigan—were the pests not resistant at all to the insecticide.

“It’s a really, really serious problem right now in the U.S.,” Yoon says. Though head lice aren’t known to transmit any diseases, they can be an itchy nuisance—and now, they’re harder to kill. Yoon suggests prescription-based products, like ivermectin or spinosad, if pyrethroid-based treatments don’t work.

MORE: Head Lice Is No Reason To Keep Kids Out Of School

This article originally appeared on Time.com.


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Psoriasis Tied to Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The chronic skin disease psoriasis may be linked to excess weight and type 2 diabetes, results of a new study suggest.

Danish researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes had more than 50 percent greater odds of having psoriasis compared to people without diabetes.

The study also found that the rate of psoriasis went up with increasing weight. For example, obese people with a body mass index (BMI) over 35 had almost double the odds of psoriasis than normal weight people did. BMI is a body fat measurement based on height and weight. A BMI of 30 or over is considered obese.

Exactly how these conditions might be connected isn’t clear, but the study authors suggested that genetics, smoking, drinking alcohol, or inflammation might play a role.

“Psoriasis is a complex disorder,” said lead researcher Dr. Ann Sophie Lonnberg, of the University of Copenhagen. “The genetic background for the disease and its many comorbidities [co-existing conditions] have not yet been fully uncovered,” she said.

This study can’t prove that psoriasis causes type 2 diabetes or obesity or vice versa, Lonnberg added. However, the study suggests the association between psoriasis and obesity could partly be tied to a common genetic cause, she explained.

“The reason psoriasis and obesity are associated is not only due to a common lifestyle, but they are also associated due to common genes,” Lonnberg said. “It is important to treat psoriasis and obesity and diabetes, since they are risk factors for heart disease and could have serious effects on overall health.”

For the study, Lonnberg and her colleagues collected data on nearly 34,000 twins, aged 20 to 71. Just over 4 percent had psoriasis, slightly more than 1 percent had type 2 diabetes and over 6 percent were obese, the findings showed.

Among the nearly 460 individuals with type 2 diabetes, about 8 percent also had psoriasis. Among people without type 2 diabetes, just 4 percent had psoriasis, the investigators found.

People with psoriasis tended to weigh more than those without the skin condition, the researchers said. The risk for obesity was also greater among those with psoriasis — 11 percent of people with psoriasis were obese, but only 8 percent of non-obese study participants had psoriasis, the findings showed.

The researchers also looked at 720 twin pairs in which one twin had psoriasis and the other didn’t. The twins with psoriasis weighed more than the twins without psoriasis, and were also more likely to be obese, the study found. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes, however, was the same in twins with and without psoriasis, according to the report.

The study was published in the April 27 online edition of the journal JAMA Dermatology.

“Psoriasis is not just a disease of the skin — patients and health care professionals need to be aware of systemic health issues associated with psoriasis,” said Dr. Joel Gelfand. He’s an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and author of an accompanying journal editorial.

Other studies have suggested that people with psoriasis are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes even if they don’t have major risk factors for the blood sugar disease, and that this risk increases with the severity of the psoriasis, Gelfand said.

“Some of this risk may be due to shared genetics between psoriasis and diabetes. It is also thought that chronic inflammation in psoriasis may predispose patients to diabetes,” Gelfand explained.

He suggested that people with psoriasis — particularly those aged 40 to 70 with more extensive skin disease — should receive medical screenings for diabetes.

“Patients with psoriasis who are overweight or obese may lower their risk of diabetes while making the skin disease less active if they are able to achieve and maintain a more healthy body weight,” Gelfand said.

Another doctor thinks genetics may help explain what she has seen in her own practice.

“I have seen that psoriasis is linked with diabetes, which suggests that a genetic link may help explain why it’s a lot harder to control diabetes in patients with psoriasis,” said Dr. Doris Day. She is a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“We are understanding more about psoriasis and coming up with better treatments for it,” she said. “If you have psoriasis, you need to see a dermatologist, a cardiologist and an endocrinologist to make sure you have other conditions under control,” Day advised.

More information

For more on psoriasis, visit the American Academy of Dermatology.

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MA reveals final conference keynote

Alejandra Naftal is the director of a museum that remembers the victims of Argentina’s former military regime
Simon Stephens, 12.10.2017

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E-Cigarettes a Gateway to Smoking for Teens: Study

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Teens in the United States who use electronic cigarettes are six times more likely to move on to traditional cigarettes compared to kids who never use the devices, a new study reports.

A survey of about 300 high school students found a troubling pattern, although some experts disagree with the conclusions.

“Adolescents who had never smoked, but who had used e-cigarettes, were substantially more likely to begin smoking combustible cigarettes over the next year,” said study lead author Jessica Barrington-Trimis. She is a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Southern California’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science.

“The increase in e-cigarette use, which may be followed by increases in cigarette use, could result in an erosion of the progress that has been made over the last several decades in tobacco control,” Barrington-Trimis said.

In recent years, scientists have debated whether e-cigarettes help smokers quit, or act as a gateway to tobacco smoking. Because of these concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors starting mid-summer.

According to new survey results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year just 11 percent of high school students said they’d smoked cigarettes in the previous 30 days — a significant decline since the 1990s. However, 24 percent said they’d used vape products, such as electronic cigarettes, within the last month.

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that vaporize a fluid that often includes nicotine and flavorings.

For the new study, researchers surveyed 11th and 12th graders, average age 17, about use of e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs. Of those, 146 used e-cigarettes and 152 had never tried them. None had smoked cigarettes.

But 16 months later, the researchers found that 40 percent of e-cigarette users had begun smoking traditional cigarettes. This compared to 11 percent of those who’d never “vaped” — the term for using electronic cigarettes. The study authors determined the vapers were just over six times more likely to have tried smoking compared to teens who weren’t using e-cigarettes.

The difference held even after the investigators adjusted their statistics for factors such as gender, parents’ education level (which hints at family income) and ethnicity.

“We can’t definitively conclude the e-cigarettes cause kids to smoke cigarettes,” Barrington-Trimis said. However, “those who had used e-cigarettes at baseline were substantially more likely to begin smoking cigarettes.”

The fact that many who tried regular cigarettes had vowed not to do so at the start of the study suggested that e-cigarette use wasn’t simply an indicator of kids who would have smoked anyway, the researchers said.

E-cigarette users were also more likely to try hookahs, pipes or cigars, the survey found.

The study results drew mixed reviews.

Peter Hajek, director of tobacco research with the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary, University of London, criticized the work.

“The authors misinterpret their findings,” Hajek said. “Like several previous studies of this type, this one just shows that people who try things, try things.”

Other research shows that overall smoking by adolescents is declining even as e-cigarette use rises, Hajek said.

“In fact, the decline in youth smoking over the past few years has been faster than ever before. This does not necessarily mean that e-cigarette experimentation prevents the uptake of smoking, although this is possible,” he added. “But there is clear and strong evidence that such experimentation does not contribute to smoking uptake.”

Barrington-Trimis questioned this contention, saying it’s not proven by research.

Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said there’s nothing new or “particularly helpful” about showing that some young adults try e-cigarettes and then experiment with smoking.

“The bottom line is that as more teens have experimented with vapor products, youth smoking has experienced massive and unprecedented declines that no one predicted just five years ago,” Conley said.

However, the study elicited praise from Thomas Wills, interim director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. It “adds a lot of support” to the idea that e-cigarettes can cause cigarette smoking, Wills said.

“Some people have previously suggested that since e-cigarettes are available, this will prevent teenagers from smoking,” Wills said. This study and others debunk that idea, he added.

The study was published online June 13 in the journal Pediatrics.

More information

To learn about new regulations of e-cigarettes, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Updated Investor Bulletin: The ABCs of Credit Ratings

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and Office of Credit Ratings are issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about credit ratings.

If you invest in bonds, you have probably come across credit ratings.  Credit ratings usually appear in the form of alphabetical letter grades (for example, ‘AAA’ and ‘BBB’) and are an estimate of the relative level of credit risk of a bond or a company or government.  Credit ratings are issued by third parties and are not an assessment by the issuer or the SEC.

Credit ratings can be useful when evaluating an investment.  But when considering credit ratings, you should understand their limitations.  You should not base your investment decision solely on a credit rating or treat a credit rating as if it were investment advice.

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is an assessment of an entity’s ability to pay its financial obligations.  The ability to pay financial obligations is referred to as creditworthiness.  Credit ratings apply to debt securities like bonds, notes, and other debt instruments (for example, some asset-backed securities).  Credit ratings also are assigned to companies and governments.  They do not apply to equity securities like common stock. 

A credit rating agency assesses the creditworthiness of an entity that is usually called an obligor or issuer.  Obligors include entities such as corporations, financial institutions, insurance companies, or municipalities.

Credit ratings generally reflect a relative ranking of credit risk.  For example, an obligor or debt security with a high credit rating is assessed by the credit rating agency to have a lower likelihood of default (that is, not paying back its debt) than an issuer or debt security with a lower credit rating.

Credit rating agencies use rating scales, symbols, and definitions to express credit risk.  Most use a scale of letters and/or numbers, and these symbols are defined by the particular credit rating agency issuing those ratings.  A typical credit rating scale, as shown in the table below, has a top rating of ‘AAA’ and may have a lowest rating of ‘D’ (indicating default).  Some credit rating agencies’ scales distinguish between investment grade and non-investment grade (i.e., “speculative” or “high yield”) ratings and they draw this distinction between the ‘BBB’ and ‘BB’ rating categories (in other words, a rating that is ‘BBB-’ or higher is investment grade and a rating that is lower than ‘BBB-’ is non-investment grade).

Typical credit rating scale

What a credit rating is not

A credit rating does not reflect other types of risk, such as market or liquidity risks, which may also affect the value of a security.  Nor does a credit rating consider the price at which the security is offered or sold.  You should not interpret a credit rating as investment advice and should not view it as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold securities.

A credit rating is not a guarantee that a financial obligation will be repaid.  For example, an ‘AAA’ credit rating on a debt instrument does not mean the investor will always be paid—instruments rated at this level sometimes default. 

Important considerations

A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a debt instrument or obligor, based on a credit rating agency’s analytical models, assumptions, and expectations.  A credit rating may reflect a credit rating agency’s subjective judgment of an issuer’s business and management.  While historical financial and operating experience and collateral performance may factor into the analysis, credit ratings are simply a prediction of the likelihood that an obligor will repay the obligation in the future.  The predictions are based on the views of the credit rating agency, which may differ from your view and those of other industry participants.

Credit rating changes can happen at any time, without warning, and at any rating level.  Some credit rating agencies provide rating “outlooks” and rating “watches” to formally alert investors about potential revisions to those ratings.  Even still, these alerts may not precede every rating action.

You should understand the information that credit ratings are intended to convey and any limitations to the ratings.  You should also evaluate the bond’s prospectus or other documents that provide financial information, industry news and reports, and non-credit-related factors to determine whether an investment is suitable for you.  Consider seeking professional advice, particularly if you have questions about analyzing the information.

About Credit Rating Agencies

Some credit rating agencies are registered with the SEC.  Credit rating agencies registered with the SEC are referred to as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (“NRSROs”).  Generally speaking, the larger credit rating agencies issue credit ratings across industry sectors and around the world, while some smaller credit rating agencies focus on specific types of ratings.  You can find out whether a credit rating agency is registered with the SEC by visiting the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov/ocr.  Importantly, SEC registration is not an endorsement of a credit rating agency nor any credit rating issued.

The SEC oversees and examines NRSROs.  By law, however, the SEC is not permitted to regulate the substance of credit ratings or the procedures and methodologies the NRSROs use to determine credit ratings.  Methodologies include, among other things, the quantitative and qualitative models used to determine credit ratings.

Each NRSRO is registered with the SEC in up to five possible credit rating classes.  These credit rating classes are:  (1) financial institutions; (2) insurance companies; (3) corporate issuers; (4) asset-backed securities; and (5) government securities. 

Potential conflicts of interest in credit ratings

Many credit rating agencies—including the largest agencies—are paid by the obligors they rate or by the issuers of the securities they rate.  This creates a potential conflict of interest in that the credit rating agency may be influenced to determine more favorable (i.e., higher) ratings than warranted to retain the obligors or issuers as clients and to obtain new obligor or issuer clients. 

Alternatively, some credit rating agencies are paid by subscribers to their ratings services, which are usually investors.  Investors’ desire for low or high credit ratings, depending on their holdings and trading positions, may also present a conflict of interest. 

NRSROs are required by law to disclose these potential conflicts of interest.  NRSROs are also required to establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures to address and manage these potential conflicts of interest.

Where can you find credit ratings and related information?

Many credit rating agencies make their ratings available to the public on their websites and with market data providers.  Others require subscriptions to access their credit ratings.  Your financial adviser may also have access to this information. 

All NRSROs are required to provide on their public websites a description of their credit rating scales and definitions and the methodologies they use to determine their ratings.  Credit rating agencies may require subscriptions or fees to obtain narrative reports containing credit analysis, although some credit rating agencies make these reports available for free.

Why do investors use credit ratings?

When making investment decisions, credit ratings and any related rating and industry trend reports can be helpful tools, provided you use them appropriately.  Credit ratings may offer an alternative point of view to your own financial analysis or that of your financial adviser.

Credit ratings may enable you to compare risks among investments in your portfolio.  Considering the credit ratings of multiple credit rating agencies may be useful because they may offer diverse views on the creditworthiness of an investment.

In general, if you use credit ratings, they should be in addition to, and not a replacement for, your own research, analysis, and judgment to determine whether an investment best satisfies your needs.  Remember that credit ratings address credit risk only.  They do not address other risks such as liquidity risk, interest rate or market risk, or prepayment risk.  The bottom line is that you should know what you are buying and only invest in what you understand.

Credit ratings are subjective

There are no standard or agreed-upon methods to measure the accuracy of credit ratings.  This is partly because of the subjective nature of credit ratings.  Also, the performance of credit ratings may not be comparable across different industry sectors, meaning that defaults and rating changes (or “transitions” of an issuer’s or debt instrument’s rating from one rating to another) may not be consistent for each rating category across the sectors.  For example, default rates for corporate bonds historically have been greater than default rates for municipal bonds with the same credit ratings.

Even within an industry sector, transition and default rates may differ over time and in different geographic regions.  Inconsistencies in performance can be attributable to changes in business cycles and economic environments that do not impact all obligors equally and at the same time.

In terms of comparing credit ratings performance across credit rating agencies, you should know that definitions for what their credit ratings mean differ among credit rating agencies.  Credit rating agencies also use different analytical approaches and levels of subjectivity when determining credit ratings.

Credit rating agencies may differ in the time horizon that their ratings address.  For example, some credit rating agencies aim for stability in ratings so they assume a longer term horizon in their analysis.  Other credit rating agencies prefer to address short-term risks and events, which can lead to more variability in their ratings.  Additionally, some credit rating agencies’ ratings only reflect the likelihood that an obligor will default, while others’ ratings also consider the expected loss that may result from a default.

Credit rating agencies registered with the SEC are required each year to post on their websites performance statistics and the history of their credit ratings for their registered rating classes.  The performance statistics show transition and default rates for the classes of ratings.  Investors can also use these statistics to assess the stability, or volatility, of credit ratings within and among fixed income sectors.

Additional Information

SEC Office of Credit Ratings

SEC Investor Bulletin:  Municipal Bonds:  Understanding Credit Risk

SEC Investor Bulletin:  What Are Corporate Bonds?

SEC Investor Bulletin:  What Are High-yield Corporate Bonds?

SEC Investor Bulletin:  Focus on Municipal Bonds


The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors. It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy. If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

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Burrell Collection lands £15m HLF grant

Refurbishment project has raised more than 90% of £66m target
Jonathan Knott, 11.10.2017

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Tate St Ives to reopen this weekend

Cornwall gallery completes £20m redevelopment
Simon Stephens, 11.10.2017

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The Yoga-Inspired Workout Moves Every Runner Needs to Try

When it comes to reaching your running goals, it’s not enough to just log multiple miles daily. You also need to implement a recovery plan that can help your body rest, while readying it for the next time you lace up those sneakers. The type of recovery we are talking about doesn’t involve vegging out on the couch with a pint of Häagen-Dazs, though (sorry!); it is more of an active approach that gets you moving through mobility and flexibility exercises, but isn’t super intense or taxing on the body. Luckily, Nike has just what you need.

This week, the athletic brand launched “Reach and Recharge,” its latest N+TC workout. Available for free on their handy Nike Training Club app and created by Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland, this 30-minute dynamic series is designed to help runners improve their strength and balance while offering an active way to recover. (Not a runner? No problem. Copeland says any active person can benefit from these moves.)

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“It involves a lot of functional movements, so you are getting similar movements that you might get in a HIIT class, but it’s not as hard or intense,” says Copeland who suggests cycling through the series twice a week. “This is not your slower restorative practice, though. It’s active so that your body can recover faster and be ready for that next run.”

What to expect: a lot of lunging, squatting, twisting and core work, says Copeland. The result: opening up the body for better posture, helping to restore your range of motion for a better stride and giving you a tighter mind-body connection.

“I work with a lot of runners, and whether they are running 5 miles or 14, they all come in with the same body issues, including weakness in the core and tight hamstrings,” says Copeland. “In this workout, I make sure your core is covered, you work on lengthening the hamstrings as well as opening up muscles like the calves, soleus and hip flexors more.”

And she shared with Health five go-to active recovery moves a that are essential for pavement-pounders.

RELATED: What’s Your Workout Personality?

IT Band Straddle Forward Fold

After a long run, your hammies can get pretty tight and this move works to stretch them out. “Folding forward with toes slightly inward activates more of the inner hamstring, rather than a regular forward fold which just hits the biceps femoris, which is the muscle directly underneath your glute,” explains Copeland.

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High Plank

Planks are good for upper body and core strength. Try holding one for 30 seconds to activate your core, suggests Copeland who notes that a lot of runners fail to activate theirs which can wreck havoc on running. “If your core isn’t activated, the hip flexors take over when you run, and that puts a lot of strain with every step you take,” she says.

Chaturanga Pushups

In addition to being a great core move, when you push down, you are working your triceps, ” which helps with arm drive and efficiency,” notes Copeland. Start in high plank, and lower your body into a push-up, keeping your elbows close to your torso.

RELATED: 10 Minute Workout: Get Toned From Head to Toe

Core Plank Twist Sequence

With this exercise, you’ll hit your external obliques, which hits the core even deeper,” explains Copeland. Plus it gets you moving laterally, which is a plane runners often ignore. Start in downward dog, with weight grounded into your heels. Move into downward dog split by raising right leg to the sky. Then move forward onto your hands bringing right knee to your right shoulder. Return to downward dog split, and then bring right knee to left shoulder. Repeat on the other side.

Chair Pose on Toes

This move is a great way to turn on the calf and soleus muscles. Plus your feet get in on the action, too. “Any time you are flexing your foot, you are stretching the fascia (soft tissue) underneath your foot,” says Copeland who reminds us that foot dorsiflexion is key for runners. Sit hips back and rise up into Chair Pose with arms up alongside ears, hold for 30 seconds. Rise onto toes.

Reclining Pigeon

This is great for hip mobility. “Runners tend to have tight hips, so this helps open them up without putting too much strain on body like a regular pigeon pose where you are forcing yourself down,” says Copeland. “When you are lying down, gravity is naturally opening up your hips.” Be sure to do stretch both sides.

To get the full workout, download the N+TC Nike Training Club App (free, iTunes and Google Play) and then search for “Reach and Recharge.” Your body will definitely be #betterforit!

RELATED: Calorie-Torching Yoga Moves

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Vitamin D Boosts Heart Function in Study

MONDAY, April 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Regular doses of vitamin D3 may improve heart function in heart failure patients, a new British study suggests.

“These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients,” said study leader Dr. Klaus Witte, from the University of Leeds School of Medicine. “It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness — known as heart failure.”

The study included more than 160 patients who had pacemakers and/or were receiving blood pressure drugs known as ACE inhibitors or beta blockers.

The study participants took either vitamin D or inactive placebo pills once a day for a year.

The researchers explained that they avoided using a calcium-based vitamin D supplement, because calcium can cause other problems for heart failure patients.

Heart pumping function improved from 26 percent to 34 percent in patients who took vitamin D, while there was no change among those who took the placebo pills, the investigators found.

The study was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Chicago. Research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The researchers suggested that the improvement seen in some of the patients who took vitamin D might reduce their need for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is a device that detects dangerous heart rhythm problems and delivers a shock to restore a normal heartbeat.

“ICDs are expensive and involve an operation. If we can avoid an ICD implant in just a few patients, then that is a boost to patients and [health systems] as a whole,” Witte said in a university news release.

Heart failure affects about 23 million people worldwide, the study authors said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about heart failure.

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Buying Pet Medicines Online: Ensuring Products are Safe

Red envelope icon for GovdeliverySubscribe: FDA Consumer Health Information

If you’re purchasing medications for your pet online to save money or for convenience, there are Internet sites that represent legitimate pharmacies.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that there are others that sell unapproved pet drugs and counterfeit pet products, make fraudulent claims, dispense prescription drugs without requiring a prescription, and sell expired drugs. Any of these practices could mean that the products you are buying could be unsafe or ineffective for your pet.

In general, FDA regulates the manufacture and distribution of animal drugs, while individual state pharmacy boards regulate the dispensing of prescription veterinary products.

If you are ordering pet medications online, you should look closely to ensure that you’re ordering from a reputable pharmacy, says Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., deputy director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

Protecting yourself and your pet requires awareness of the importance of involving a veterinarian even when ordering online. If an online pharmacy does not require a prescription from a veterinarian before filling any order for prescription drugs, that’s a red flag.

Here are some other things to consider when looking at sites offering pet medications.

How to Recognize Legitimate Online Pharmacies

Look for pharmacy websites ending in “.Pharmacy.” You may be used to looking for the Vet-VIPPS seal on your pharmacy’s website. But as of late August, 2017, that no longer holds true. Instead, you should look for pharmacy websites ending in “.Pharmacy.” Under the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) new Pharmacy Verified Websites Program, pharmacies must meet strict standards for enrollment. Once accepted, they are given “.Pharmacy” website addresses to help you quickly identify trustworthy, worldwide online pharmacies and pharmacy-related websites, so you can safely make purchases.

Order from an outsourced prescription management service that your veterinarian uses. These state-licensed Internet pharmacy services work directly with the veterinarian, require that a prescription be written by the veterinarian, and support the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Ask your veterinary hospital if it uses an Internet pharmacy service.

But First, Consult Your Veterinarian

An online foreign or domestic pharmacy may claim that one of its veterinarians on staff will “evaluate” the pet after looking over a form filled out by the pet owner, and then prescribe the drug. But that could be a sign that the pharmacy isn’t legitimate. Written information—without a physical examination of your animal—may omit important clues to your animal’s condition, and is no substitute for a vet physically examining your animal.

CVM is especially concerned that pet owners are going online to buy two types of commonly used veterinary drugs that require a prescription: heartworm preventives, such as Heartgard, Trifexis and Interceptor; and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Rimadyl or Metacam.

“Both types of drugs can be dangerous if your vet doesn’t get involved,” says Hartogensis. “It’s not generally a concern if you use a legitimate online pharmacy and mail in a prescription from your veterinarian, who is monitoring your pet. But if there is no veterinarian–client–patient relationship, it’s a dangerous practice.”

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition transmitted by the bite of a mosquito that is carrying larvae of the heartworm parasite. Dogs, cats, and ferrets can get heartworm disease. Heartworm preventives, given daily, monthly, or semiannually, depending on the product, kill the larvae before they become adult worms.

The American Heartworm Society recommends that you get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and give your pet heartworm preventive 12 months a year.

Veterinarians often prescribe NSAIDs to relieve pain in pets. You should not buy NSAIDS on the Internet without a veterinarian’s involvement because

  • your pet should undergo blood testing and a thorough physical examination before starting NSAIDs,
  • your pet should be monitored by a veterinarian while taking NSAIDs,
  • your veterinarian should discuss possible side effects of NSAIDs with you, and
  • the prescription should be accompanied by a Client Information Sheet that explains important safety information to you.

This article appears on the FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Updated: October 11, 2017

Published: February 20, 2009

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