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Health Care Notebook

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State posts rise in

drug-linked babies

Rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome have more than tripled in Arkansas between 2010 and 2017, but were still lower than the national average, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is when a baby is born showing signs of drug withdrawal, especially withdrawal from opioids.

The rate of such births grew from 1.3 per 1,000 to 4.2 per 1,000 in 2017 in Arkansas, according to a data table published with the research. The national rate was 7.3 per 1,000 births.

Compared with surrounding states, Arkansas’ rate was higher than in Texas and Mississippi but lower than in Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Tennessee had the highest rate of the syndrome among those states in 2017, with about 16.2 of every 1,000 babies having the condition.


recall is expanded

A drug manufacturer has expanded a recall of a common diabetes medication because it contains a compound that could cause cancer.

Nostrum Laboratories has voluntarily recalled its 750-milligram metformin extended-release tablets. The medication is a generic for the brand-name drug Glucophage and is an off-white tablet debossed with “NM7.”

The tablets are thought to contain higher-than-permitted levels of nitrosamine, or NDMA, which is classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the Food and Drug Administration.

The manufacturer hasn’t received reports of adverse reactions to the medication.

Details about affected medication lot numbers, expiration dates and details of what to do if a patient received the tablets are online: fda.gov.

Arkansas has more people with Type 2 diabetes than most other states, public health experts say.

Fall spike seen in

some virus cases

Arkansas saw its highest weekly average of new coronavirus infections in long-term-care facilities in the fall, one of just four states that saw such peaks at that time, according to a new analysis from health policy nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Natural State joined Wisconsin, South Dakota and Montana in seeing its highest weekly averages of new cases of covid-19 in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and other sites in September, October or November.

The majority of states studied — 24 — saw spikes in their long-term-care cases in December. Not all states reported data.

Rising cases in facilities in the last part of 2020 coincided with sustained community spread across the country in that time period, the researchers wrote.

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