Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Dec. 19, 2022–Dec. 23, 2022.

The AP (12/21, Seitz) reports that on Wednesday, the Biden Administration “ will release doses of prescription flu medicine from the Strategic National Stockpile to states as...patients continue to flock to hospitals and doctors’ offices around the country.” States “will be able to request doses of the prescription flu medication” oseltamivir (Tamiflu) “kept in the Strategic National Stockpile from HHS.” Furthermore, HHS last week “also announced it would allow states to dip into statewide stockpiles for Tamiflu, making millions of treatment courses available.”

CNN (12/21, Goodman) reports HHS “said...this should help ease access to the medication—one of several types of medicines patients have sometimes struggled to find amid a surge of respiratory viruses, including flu, RSV, COVID-19 and others.”

The New York Times (12/20, Tumin) reports that “as a ‘tripledemic’ of respiratory illnesses takes hold, some pharmacies in the United States have placed limits on the number of some over-the-counter medicines customers can purchase to soothe their symptoms.” Increases “in cases of the flu, respiratory syncytial virus, or R.S.V., and COVID-19 led to a 65% increase in the sales of pediatric pain and fever relievers in November compared with last November, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.” Now, “CVS has imposed a two-product limit on all purchases of children’s pain relievers at stores and through its website in an effort ‘to ensure equitable access for all of our customers,’ the pharmacy said.” Meanwhile, “Walgreens limited online purchases to six fever-reducing products per order but is not limiting in-store purchases.”

Reuters (12/20, Sophia) reports Kroger “said on Tuesday it had put in place limits on purchases of children’s pain relievers and cold medicine products, as retailers in the United States grapple with supply constraints amid surging demand.” Kroger “has asked customers to limit their purchase to two pediatric pain medications and four cold and flu items, a company spokesperson said.”

The Wall Street Journal (12/20, Stamm, Subscription Publication) reports caregivers and parents are facing difficulties while trying to find fever reducers such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and amoxicillin, an antibiotic used to treat typical childhood ailments.

The Wall Street Journal (12/19, Mosbergen, Subscription Publication) reports an analysis of data from children’s hospitals found that the incidence of firearm injuries in the U.S. among children rose sharply between April 2020 and December 2021. A separate study found that homicides for children trended upward between 2013 to 2020. Both studies were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The New York Times (12/19, Rabin) reports the rate of homicide for children in the U.S. “rose by about 28% in 2020,” researchers found in the second study. The findings also revealed “a majority of the homicides were among Black children, and almost half were among children in the southern United States,” and “older children and boys of all ages were more likely to be victims of gun violence than younger children and girls.”

HealthDay (12/16, Solomon) reported, “Consuming artificially sweetened beverages may increase a women’s risk for urinary incontinence, according to a study.” Investigators “found that the unadjusted odds of reporting urinary incontinence were higher in women consuming one to six servings per week...or greater than or equal to one serving per day...versus never to less than one serving per week.” The findings were published online in Menopause.

The New York Times (12/16, Mueller) reported “updated booster shots have bolstered Americans’ defenses against serious” COVID-19, “reducing the risk of hospitalization by roughly 50% compared with certain groups inoculated with the original vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a pair of studies published on Friday.” One “study released on Friday examined how the updated shots protected people from COVID-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in seven health systems.” The “second study reported on the benefits of updated boosters for older Americans in 22 hospitals from early September to late November.” The studies were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

NBC News (12/16, Edwards) reported one of the studies “estimated that the boosters are more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalizations in adults ages 65 and up.” The other study, “which included data on 93,830 adults 18 and older, found the booster shots to be at least 56% effective against COVID-related visits to emergency departments or urgent care centers and hospitalizations, compared with unvaccinated people.”

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