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Of Opioids and Overprescribing

Houston Medication Safety Symposium Draws Nearly 200 to Share Latest at Crossroads of Pain Management, Prescription Burden 

Drawing an audience of nearly 200 researchers, students and practitioners across multiple disciplines, the 2018 Houston Medication Safety Symposium on April 13 explored the roots and current status of prescription burden in older adults and the U.S. opioid crisis as well as changes in practices and other needed to reverse the dangerous trends.

The symposium was co-hosted by UH College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy and McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and sponsored by the UTHealth Consortium on Aging and the Phyllis Gough Huffington Endowed Lectureship. 

The featured speakers were Mellar Davis, MD, FCCP, FAAHPM, Palliative Care Department and section head, Geisinger Medical Center System; Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, professor & executive director, Advanced Post-Graduate Education in Palliative Care, University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy; Jerry Gurwitz, MD, chief of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School; and Paula Rochon, MD, MPH, FRCPC, vice president, research, Women’s College Hospital, professor & RTO/ERO chair in Geriatric Medicine, University of Toronto.

The symposium also featured nearly 30 research poster and podium presentations by medical, dental, pharmacy and nursing practitioners, academicians, students, postdoctoral fellows and residents spanning a range of subject matter related to medication safety. All of the accepted abstracts are due to be published in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy (Elsevier). 

The first- and second-place award recipients and their projects were: 

  • 1st Place Podium – Victor Liaw of The University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences, "Change in Opioid Prescribing Patterns Among Disabled Adults Following Hydrocodone Rescheduling";
  • 2nd Place Podium – Manvi Sharma of UHCOP-PHOP, "Concomitant Use of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors & Proton Pump Inhibitors in Older Adults with Cancer";
  • 1st Place Poster – Chandni Patel of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, "The Effects of Missed Doses of Antibiotics on Hospitalized Patient Outcomes"; and
  • 2nd Place Poster – Monica Cheng of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, "Medication Adherence and Personal Determinants of Health among Self-Neglecting Older Adults."
In addition to engaging presentations and discussions, attendees were eligible for free medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and risk management continuing education credits.