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Used medications causing serious harm to the environment: how you can help

Medications are causing serious harm to the environment.

It’s well known that improperly discarded medications are seeping into our water system, but research shows that medications are also entering the water supply from our feces and urine. In fact, up to 90 percent of certain drugs will end up in the water system.

“When we talk about pharmaceutical waste, we don’t usually talk about the leftover medications that are not used,” Lowell Anderson, Dsc, professor in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, said. “We don’t talk about the medications that we ingest and are excreted in some form.”

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UMN Expert: Antidepressant use later in pregnancy linked to autism

A recent Star Tribune article highlighted a study published in JAMA Pediatrics that found, “Women who took a class of widely used antidepressants during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy were roughly twice as likely as those who did not to have a child who would later receive a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, says a new study.”

Health Talk spoke with Jean Moon, associate professor in the College of Pharmacy, to find out what this means for pregnant women who are taking antidepressants, specifically SSRIs that include medications like Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro.

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It takes a village: volunteers teach future healthcare professionals how to connect with patients

It’s a common occurrence: Patients leave the doctor’s office more confused than when they arrived. Healthcare practitioners are good at their jobs, but often lack the communication skills needed to work with patients and explain their decisions.

That’s why the University of Minnesota has partnered with the community to teach pharmacy, medical and nursing students how to connect with their patients through affective communication.

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Pharmacy and Dentistry students come together to solve common problem

At first glance, dentists and pharmacists seem quite different. One works with the mouth, the other focuses on medications. But look again, and they face a common challenge.

“Dentists and pharmacists work in specialized health fields and they aren’t often thought of as part of someone’s primary care team,” said Amy Pittenger, Pharm.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Pharmacy.

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U of M pharmacist helps prevent heroin addictions and deaths in northern Minnesota

Heroin addictions have been rapidly increasing over the past decade. This has been especially problematic in northern Minnesota, where the number of people admitted for treatment and the number of deaths associated with heroin and opioids are higher than in any other part of the state.

According to College of Pharmacy assistant professor, Laura Palombi, Pharm.D., drug abuse deaths now surpass traffic deaths in Minnesota.

Palombi is on the front lines in northern Minnesota, working directly with the community to address heroin and opioid abuse in ways that make sense for specific communities.

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In the news: Study shows processed meats may increase cancer risk

It might be time to rethink the typical American backyard barbecue with hot dogs and bacon cheeseburgers. Recent research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found more evidence that red meats and processed meats should be eaten in moderation. The study revealed consumption of hot dogs, ham and other processed meats is linked to colorectal cancer. The University of Minnesota collaborated on the study.

The IARC classifies processed meat as a carcinogen and the associated risk of developing colorectal cancer is small, but increases with consumption. Experts determined 50 grams or 1.75 ounces of meat per day (about two strips of bacon or six thin slices of ham) can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

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