Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of March 27, 2023


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of March 27, 2023–March 31, 2023.

CNN (3/30, Russell) reports, “Emergency department visits for firearm injuries in the United States dropped slightly since 2020, but the rate in 2022 was still above pre-pandemic levels.”

MedPage Today (3/30, Henderson) reports, “Compared with 2019, the average number of weekly ED visits for firearm injury was 37% higher in 2020, 36% higher in 2021, and 20% higher in 2022.” The data indicated that “among both males and females, average weekly ED visits for firearm injuries were consistently highest among people ages 15 to 24 from 2019 to 2022.” But, “the biggest increases in the proportion of firearm injury ED visits were among kids younger than 14 during the three pandemic years compared with 2019.” The findings were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The New York Times (3/29, Hoffman) reports Narcan (naloxone), “a prescription nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, can now be sold over the counter, the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.” And “by late summer, over-the-counter Narcan is expected to be for sale in big-box chains, vending machines, supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and online retailers.”

The Washington Post (3/29, Ovalle) reports that Narcan’s “long-term impact remains unclear: It will depend on the price set for the spray by its manufacturer, Emergent BioSolutions, and also retailers’ willingness to stock it on store shelves in easy view of consumers.” Meanwhile, “medical and public health experts urged health insurance plans to cover over-the counter Narcan.” The American Medical Association (AMA) “said it hopes the drug is covered at little or no cost to consumers.” In a statement, Bobby Mukkamala, MD, Chair of the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, said, “There are many over-the-counter preventive health medications that are covered by insurance, such as aspirin, vitamin D, and fluoride. Naloxone should be added to that list.”

NBC News (3/28, Carroll) reports, “Losing weight—even if some pounds are gained back—may help” the “heart over the long term,” researchers concluded in findings published online ahead of print in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. In the study, investigators “analyzed data from 124 clinical trials with a total of more than 50,000 participants,” finding not only that “risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes decreased for people who lost weight through intensive behavioral programs,” but also that “the diminished risk persisted for years after they were done with the programs, even if some, but not all, of the weight came back.”

Healio (3/27, Schaffer) reports, “An analysis of five U.S. medical claims databases” published online in the journal Clinical Cardiology “suggests as many as 23% of 5.6 million to 6.6 million presumptive atrial fibrillation cases are undiagnosed, with many undiagnosed patients likely eligible for oral anticoagulant treatment.” In coming to this conclusion, the study team “analyzed patient information from five U.S. medical claims data sets from 2012 to 2017,” then “estimated undiagnosed AF based on the observed incidence of ischemic stroke, systemic embolism and AF incidence after a stroke or systemic embolism.”

Reuters (3/24, Sunny) reported that the FDA on Friday “said it was proposing a rule to allow the use of salt substitutes in everyday foods including cheese, frozen peas and canned tuna, in a bid to cut Americans’ salt consumption.” The agency “in 2021 set a new voluntary goal for manufacturers and chain restaurants to cut salt levels by an average of 12% in packaged foods, because excessive salt consumption has been linked to high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.”

AMA Morning Rounds news coverage is developed in affiliation with Bulletin Healthcare LLC. Subscribe to Morning Rounds Daily.