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Coronavirus test available at Randox

News       About Us        Randox Biosciences

25 January 2020

 

Introducing the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus Test from Randox

Scientists at Randox Laboratories will have developed within two weeks, a rapid test for 2019-nCoV, the new strain of coronavirus.

The new test will utilise Randox Biochip Technology, with results available from the Randox Vivalytic within 2-3 hours, and within 5 hours on the Evidence Investigator, a high throughput analyser that is capable of processing 54 different samples simultaneously.

As a coronavirus, 2019-nCoV results in a range of respiratory symptoms similar to those of other respiratory infections, including the common cold.

Randox Health’s Cold, Cough and Flu test, available also as a Respiratory Tract Infection Array from Randox Biosciences, can test for 22 viral and bacterial respiratory infections simultaneously. The test therefore determines the exact cause of your symptoms and differentiates between mild and serious infections, such as coronavirus.

For further information please visit www.randox.com/coronavirus-randox

For enquiries email marketing@randox.com or to book your Randox Health Cough, Cold and Flu test please ring 0800 2545 130.

Randox is committed to saving and improving lives on a global scale, and will bring you updates on developments on our test for 2019-nCoV as and when they happen.

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The 2019 World Drug Report from Randox Toxicology

News       About Us        Randox Toxicology

24 January 2019

 

2019 World Drug Report

In the turn of the new year, Randox Toxicology have compiled a 2019 report of trends in drug abuse throughout the world and what the key figures say about drug use in the world.

Opioids

An easy way of seeing how prevalent opioid use is, is the number of opioid overdose deaths. While surveys show an overall decline in the non-medical use of opioids, opioid related deaths continue to increase. The United States recorded the highest number of opioid overdose deaths at over 28,000. Europe is not as heavily affected by opioid use, an example being Sweden. Sweden has the highest number of opioid overdose deaths in Europe, at 590.

Cocaine

Global seizures rose to 1,275 tons, the largest quantity ever reported. This figure highlights the increase in cocaine trafficking. With an estimated 4.2 million people (1.3 per cent of the population) using cocaine, usage of the drug was highest in Western and Central Europe, which accounted for some 90 per cent of all the cocaine use in Europe as a whole.

In Australia, 2.5 per cent of the population aged 14 and older were estimated to have used cocaine in the previous year. The highest estimated prevalence of cocaine was among young adults aged 20-29 also.

Cocaine use was not popular in both Africa in Asia. For Africa, the use of cocaine was estimated to be between 0.02 per cent and 0.40 per cent of the population, while in Asia the cocaine use was estimated to be between 0.04 and 0.07 per cent.

Methamphetamine

The information available globally on methamphetamine, although limited, indicates that there has been a market expansion. The data available shows that this market has been expanding and that the two largest ‘demand regions’ are South-East Asia and North America.

In terms of methamphetamine that has been seized, North American and South-East Asia, respectively account for 49 per cent and 42 per cent of global quantities seized. Despite the overall expansion of methamphetamine markets worldwide, most of the trafficking continues to be intraregional, for example, trafficking within North America or within South-East Asia.

Our testing solution

Randox Toxicology are first to market when it comes to testing for the latest drugs of abuse and new psychoactive substances in the market.  Our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology provides state-of-the-art drug detection, utilizing simultaneous drug detection from a single sample across multiple matrices.

Our ELISA kits provide a comprehensive test menu, covering a broad range of drugs of abuse, stimulants, analgesics and sedatives. Randox Toxicology develop the highest quality 96-well microtitre plates available to the market, with results providing excellent correlation with confirmatory methods.

To find out more email us at: info@randoxtoxicology.com or visit our website: www.randoxtoxicology.com

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Randox Testing Services announce attendance at HRD Summit 2020

16 January 2020

Randox Testing Services to attend HRD Summit 2020

 

RTS are pleased to announce we will be attending the HRD Summit 2020. The two-day event is taking place on 4-5 February at the ICC, Birmingham.

The HRD Summit plays host to the most senior HR and business leaders on the globe. The 2020 Summit will welcome over 1,500 attendees, over 150 speakers across 8 content streams, over 80 Exhibitors, over 250 Match Meetings and 11+ hours of networking spread across 2 days.

For RTS it will be the first time attending the event and UK Sales Manager Michelle Fenn is anticipating a busy and productive two days. She said,

“RTS are delighted to be attending the HRD Summit in Birmingham. It is an event that we have identified that would be ideally suited to promote the message of safer workplaces through minimising the impacts of drug & alcohol misuse. In workplaces, employers are becoming more mindful and aligned to their well-being of their employees. One part of this is ensuring a health and safety policy is in place.

A key role within this is ensuring an accurate and concise drug and alcohol policy that is effectively communicated to all employees. RTS are proud of the assistance we provide in helping companies to reduce the impact of substance misuse, so we look forward to engaging with the companies and delegates who will be attending the HRD Summit over the two days.”

As well as exhibiting in the dedicated Partner Zone at the event where delegates can engage with us directly and find out more about our services relating to drug & alcohol testing, we will also be taking part in one of the roundtable discussions that will be happening during the event, so keep an eye on our website and social media in the run up to the event for more information!

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services is a specialist in the drug & alcohol testing industry. We aim to educate and inform companies about the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace, and the impact it can have on an organisation.

If you are attending HRD Summit and would like to speak with us about drug & alcohol testing, visit us in the Partner Zone where one of our colleagues will be happy to speak with you.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more about workplace drug & alcohol testing and how we can help your business, contact us using any of the below details.

Email: testingservices@randox.com

Phone: 028 9445 1011

 

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Lyme Disease – Acusera Infectious Disease (Serology) Controls

 

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borreliella (Borrelia) burgdorferi and is transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. It’s the most common vector-borne illness in the United States and Europe [1].

People suffering from Lyme disease may react to it differently, and the symptoms can vary in severity. While Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages — early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated — symptoms are known to overlap.

Lyme Disease Stages & Symptoms [2]

• Stage I: Early localized disease (days to weeks) – migrating redness, generally accompanied with flu-like symptoms.

• Stage II: Early disseminated disease (weeks to months) – multiple erythema multiforme (EM) lesions, disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis, neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis.

• Stage III: Late persistent disease (months to years) – arthritis of one or more large joints, brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations and sleep disturbance, numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash [3]. Initially, the diagnosis will begin with a review of a patient’s health history, including reports of tick bites within local proximity. Serologic testing is the mainstay of diagnosis. Blood tests are usually most reliable a few weeks after the initial infection, when antibodies are present. The lack of sensitive, relatively easy, fast, direct tests for the presence of B. burgdorferi is one of the main challenges in the laboratory diagnosis of Lyme disease [4]. It is important that diagnosis is made clinically using and interpreting all test results carefully with reference to the clinical presentation. Lyme Disease testing is mainly performed using serology tests with antibodies against B.burgdoferi. [5]

Preventing Lyme Disease

The most effective way to prevent Lyme disease involves decreasing your risk of experiencing a bite. Some simple precautions to help reduce the risk are:

• Covering Up – When in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into socks, as well as a long-sleeved shirt/jacket.
• Avoid long grass – Ticks are known to be more common in areas of long grass therefore it is recommended to stick to trails when in woodlands.
• Use insect repellent – Using insect repellent should help prevent tick bites.
• Be cautious – Following time spent in woodlands or grassy areas, be sure to check yourself, children, clothing and pets for any potential ticks.
• Remove a tick immediately – If you find yourself, or anyone else, has a tick attached be sure to remove as soon as possible.

How Randox Can Help

Randox offer laboratories a human-based, liquid ready-to-use control for the analysis of this infectious disease. Designed to detect Borrelia burgdoferi (Lyme) IgG and Borrelia burgdoferi (Lyme) IgM, the Randox Acusera Lyme Disease control is suitable for use on a wide range of immunoanalysers.

 

Want to know more?

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  • References

    [1] Marques, A. (2018). Revisiting the Lyme Disease Serodiagnostic Algorithm: the Momentum Gathers. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, [online] 56(8). Available at: https://jcm.asm.org/content/56/8/e00749-18 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].

    [2] Healthline. (2019). Everything You Need to Know About Lyme Disease. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease#prevention [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].

    [3] nhs.uk. (2019). Lyme disease. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/ [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].

    [4] Marques, A. (2016). Laboratory Diagnosis of Lyme Disease – Advances and Challenges. Molecular Biotechnology, 3(1), pp.75-75.

    [5] Lymediseaseaction.org.uk. (2019). Tests | Lyme Disease Action. [online] Available at: https://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/about-lyme/tests/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2019].


Take control of your liver health with a Randox Health Check

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09 January 2020

Understanding your liver health

Take control of your liver health with a Randox Health Check

Are you taking part in Dry January? Giving up alcohol can do your insides a lot of good, and it’s great news for your liver in particular. It may be that after the festive period our liver needs a little bit of rest!

Did you know that alcohol consumption across the UK increases by a staggering 41 percent more than the annual monthly average in December? That’s more than anywhere else in the world.

The effects of alcohol on your health really depend on how much you drink and how often, but as the statistics show, more of us increase our uptake of alcohol over the festive period.

So how does this impact our body and our liver?

The results of over indulging vary from a hangover, a poor night’s sleep, to causing an irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver damage. This can be a very serious condition, given the liver’s vital role in the body.

The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes. In fat metabolism, it breaks down fats and produces energy. When we intake alcohol or drugs, it metabolizes the drug and detoxifies chemicals.  And it also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.

Following these processes, the liver also secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines and helps the digestion of fats and oils, otherwise known as lipids.

The liver can develop new cells, but abuse over a prolonged period reduces its ability to regenerate, causing serious damage.

It is not just heavy drinking over years that can cause liver disease – binge drinking is also a culprit and can lead to a build up of fat and subsequent inflammation. The best advice is to drink in moderation. Simple tips like taking a glass of water in-between alcoholic drinks are key to staying hydrated.

Know your units;

  • According to drinkaware.co.uk, unit guidelines are now the same for men and women.
  • Both are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • This equates to 6 pints of 4% beer / 6 glasses of 13% wine / 14 glasses (25ml) of 40% spirits
  • But don’t save up your 14 units, it’s best to spread evenly across the week.
  • If you want to cut down the amount you’re drinking, a good way is to have several drink-free days each week.
  • If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

What does one unit of alcohol look like?

One unit of alcohol is the amount of alcohol an average adult can process within one hour so that so that there’s no alcohol left in their bloodstream.

One unit of alcohol equates to:

  • 218ml of standard 4.5% cider
  • 76ml of standard 13% wine
  • 25ml of standard 40% whiskey
  • 250ml of standard 4% beer
  • 250ml of a standard 4% alcopop

How many units are in my drink?

  • Small glass white / rosé / red wine (125ml 12%) = 1.5 units
  • Standard glass white / rosé / red wine (175 ml 12%) = 2.1 units
  • Large glass white / red / rosé wine (250ml 12%) = 3 units
  • Pint of lager / beer / cider (5.2%) = 3 units
  • Bottle of lager / beer / cider (330ml 5%) = 1.7 units
  • Single small shot of spirits (25ml 40%) = 1 unit*

*taken from NHS Live Well Guidelines

Having your liver health checked after Christmas is a great way of tracking any changes that you may need to make to your lifestyle, for better or for worse – essential for helping you prevent disease and allowing you to take early action if it is diagnosed.

At Randox we offer a comprehensive menu of liver function tests to determine its health.  Provided by Randox to a wealth of hospitals, laboratories and research facilities across the globe, these tests are also directly available to you, the consumer, via our Randox Health clinics.

They include:

  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) – an enzyme mainly found in the liver. Liver injury or disease will release ALT into the bloodstream, thus elevating serum ALT levels.  Moderately high or mildly elevated ALT levels can be associated with chronic diseases, such as cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver.
  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) – an enzyme found predominantly in the heart, liver and skeletal muscles. Cell injury or disease will release AST into the bloodstream, thus elevating blood AST levels. Increased AST levels may be associated with hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis, or drug-induced liver injury.
  • Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT) – an enzyme found mainly in the liver. Increased levels of GGT in the blood may indicate bile duct injury, hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver necrosis (death of tissue), tumours or the use of drugs that are toxic to the liver.  A high GGT level is frequently associated with increased alcohol consumption, as this enzyme is involved in the breakdown and removal of alcohol from the body.
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase (GLDH) – an enzyme located within the mitochondria (energy-producing machinery) of cells, particularly within liver tissue. Significant liver cell damage may cause release of GLDH into the bloodstream.  Toxic liver damage, liver cell necrosis or hypoxic liver disease (where liver cells are deprived of oxygen) may cause an increase in GLDH. Measurement of GLDH in combination with other liver markers may help distinguish between different causes of liver dysfunction.
  • Bilirubin – a yellowish-brown pigment found in bile. Increased levels may be associated with liver or bile duct blockage (eg due to gallstones), hepatitis, cirrhosis, trauma to the liver, a drug reaction, long-term alcohol abuse or rare inherited disorders (eg Dubin-Johnson syndrome which is characterised by mild jaundice).
  • Albumin – produced by the liver, albumin is the most abundant protein in the blood. Albumin plays in important role in maintaining blood pressure and transporting a wide variety of small molecules, such as hormones, vitamins and drugs, throughout the body. Various conditions are associated with decreased albumin levels, including kidney and liver diseases.
  • Copper – an essential mineral that plays a part in many enzyme systems within the body. Excess or deficiency of copper is very rare, however raised copper levels may be caused by chronic liver disease or acute hepatitis.

And when used in conjunction with the wide variety of other tests available within the world’s most comprehensive and personalised health testing menu, you can obtain an understanding of your full body health like never before.

That’s why we don’t test in isolation, which can give a patchy representation of your health and can fail to pick up on related symptoms elsewhere in the body. We test up to 350 tests across 25 areas of your health – giving you the power to take your health into your own hands.

Contact the Randox Health team today to determine the health of your liver, and of your body.

Call 0800 2545 130 or click here.

To find out more and purchase the most thoughtful of Christmas presents – a gift card for the ‘gift of health’ – click here.

 

 

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We Are Randox | Staff Newsletter July-December 2019 Edition

Staff Newsletter January - March 2019 Edition

We are delighted to be able to share with you the Q3/4 2019 edition of our We Are Randox staff newsletter!

Click here for a range of company and staff news from July to December 2019 – including events, business updates, a range of staff news including weddings and engagements, and of course our annual Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas Raffle – at which we raised a fantastic £3396.

** Please note that this newsletter works most efficiently in your Google Chrome browser**

 

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The Drug Epidemic in The Seychelles Islands

News       About Us        Randox Toxicology

24 December 2019

 

The Drug Epidemic in The Seychelles Islands

The Seychelles is suffering from a drug epidemic. Nearly 10% of its 94000 population are addicted to heroin, according to the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation (APDAR) in the Seychelles.

Per capita, the Seychelles suffers from the highest rate of heroin abuse in the world. Heroin makes the long journey from Central Asia, especially Afghanistan, before being smuggled to the islands via East Africa. Made up of 115 islands, the Seychelles has many porous borders, which makes them hard to monitor and easy for the drugs to come into the country. Rather than attempting a “war on drugs”, which would criminalise the large proportion of heroin users in the Seychelles, the head of the anti-drug agency has introduced a Portuguese-style drug policy – considering drug addiction as a chronic diseased to be treated.

Heroin users in the Seychelles have two options:

  • Join a high threshold Methadone Maintenance Programme (MMP), which includes a period of in-patient treatment where they must commit to detoxification
  • Or the low threshold programme, which focuses on harm reduction

Individuals have access to medical and psychosocial support under both programmes.

Patrick Herminie, who had previously attended one of the programmes, has stated “currently, we have over 2000 people registered in one of our programmes and 68% of those are now gainfully employed”.  Each morning he visits one of the country’s mobile methadone clinics, white vans that are manned by drug counsellors and qualified nurses to give the correct dose of methadone to recovering addicts. People line up outside the open windows of the van, ready to show their ID. Their name, the date and time are logged into a spreadsheet on receipt of the information and the correct dose of methadone is distributed to them.

Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, our DoA ULTRA panel, available for the Evidence Investigator, offers the most comprehensive drugs of abuse screen across multiple forensic matrices. Detecting up to 20 targets drugs including heroin and other opioids, it has the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes. Our excellent assay precision and performance eliminates false reporting, offering CVs of typically <10%. Randox Toxicology produce an accurate drug profile to ensure confidence in results.

To find out more about our Biochip Array Technology and our Evidence Series range of analysers, visit www.randoxtoxicology.com or email info@randoxtoxicology.com

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Randox in Top 10 2019 European Food and Beverage Technology Providers

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20 December 2019

Randox in Top 10 Food and Beverage Technology Providers in Europe 2019

Randox in Top 10 Food and Beverage Technology Providers in Europe 2019

Randox Food Diagnostics have been selected as one of the Top 10 Food and Beverage Technology solution providers in Europe for 2019.

The news was announced in an article in the Food and Beverage Technology Review magazine, which highlighted companies at the forefront of technological developments in the food and beverage industry.

The magazine’s editorial board assessed and shortlisted some of the most prominent organisations in the industry that solve challenges by implementing the current technological trends in the space, and nominated Randox in the top 10 in an article entitled; “Randox: Bringing Diagnostics to the Food Industry.”

The article highlights the history of Randox, which was established by our Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982. We traditionally focused on placing our diagnostics technologies in the likes of hospitals, laboratories and veterinary clinics, however in recent years have utilised our expertise in diagnostic technology to diversify into another key area of healthcare – food safety.

Our Randox Food Diagnostics division offers the latest and most comprehensive diagnostic technologies to food producers across a range of industries including meat, seafood, dairy, honey and cereals, to ensure food safety and satisfy customer demand.

Our patented Randox Biochip Array Technology can provide screening of up to 54 food samples providing results for drug residues and toxins within 3 hours, saving both time and money for clients. The Randox Biochip facilitates simultaneous detection of multiple drug residues or pathogens including antibiotic, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, growth promoter, and mycotoxin diagnostics.

“With faster, simpler and more efficient testing, Randox Biochip increases efficiency within producer processes and, within the market place, increases consumer confidence, a reason why leading food producers, as well as hospitals, laboratories, toxicology centres, and health clinics, utilise Randox products,” says Dr Peter FitzGerald.

Most recently we unveiled the Randox Infiniplex; a biochip for milk testing which allows milk testing laboratories to carry out multiple tests simultaneously on a single milk sample.

“Our Infiniplex array greatly differs from other milk residue tests as it uses multiplexing technology that reduces our customers’ testing time to four hours and requires a small sample volume (25μl),” says Kerrie McAuley, VP of Marketing, Randox Food Diagnostics.

Randox Food is also working on pesticides arrays for milk and honey, and additionally a Bovine Pathogen Array to branch out into animal health and wellbeing screening in milk for viruses such as bovine diarrhoea.

To find out more about what we offer at Randox Food Diagnostics click here or email enquiries@randoxfooddiagnostics.com.

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Metabolic Syndrome Array from Randox Biosciences

News       About Us        Randox Biosciences

20 December 2019

 

Metabolic Syndrome Array from Randox Biosciences

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

According to the NHS, it occurs when a person has three or more of the following measurements1:

  • Abdominal obesity (Waist circumference of greater than 40 inches in men, and greater than 35 inches in women)
  • Triglyceride level of 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or greater
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 85 mm Hg or greater
  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater

Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that affects about 23 percent of adults and places them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and diseases related to atherosclerosis in arterial walls.The underlying causes include obesity, physical inactivity, genetic factors and aging. 3

Randox offers 10 metabolic syndrome biomarkers over 2 panels enabling multiplex testing to be performed on Randox Biochip Technology. One patient sample is required per test enabling multiple results. Biochip Technology powers the Randox Investigator, a semi-automated benchtop immunoassay analyser.

Metabolic Syndrome Array I

  • Ferritin
  • Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)
  • Resistin
  • Tumour Necrosis Factor α (TNFα)

Metabolic Syndrome Array II

  • Adiponectin
  • C-reactive Protein (CRP)
  • Cystatin C

Key Benefits of the Metabolic Syndrome Array

 Biochip Array Technology allows multiplex testing from one patient sample

  • Applicable to fully automated and semi-automated Evidence analysers
  • Biochips are ready to use, thus saving time, labour and resources
  • Rapid turnaround time
  • Validated for both serum and plasma samples – suitable for clinical research studies
  • Small sample volume – 100μl to measure all analytes on each array
  • Excellent analytical performance
  • Multi-analyte controls and calibrators
  • Highly efficient use of valuable patient sample banks
  • No non-specific aggregation, which is associated with multi-analyte bead assays
  • Can be used in the investigation of insulin resistance, pro‑thrombotic state, abnormal body fat distribution, pro‑inflammatory state and atherogenic dyslipidaemia

Randox Biochip Technology is an intelligent chemically activated 9x9mm ceramic biochip which acts as a solid phase reaction vessel. The biochip is spotted with multiple antibodies offering multiplex testing.

The good news is that if you discover that your metabolic health is sub-optimal you can improve it through a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle adjustments from 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise 5-7 times a week to quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake.

Randox can assist your metabolic research by providing innovative diagnostic technology and tests that will continue to revolutionise the healthcare landscape and assist in academic research. This technology includes our Evidence Investigator and our Metabolic Syndrome Array I and Array II which can be used to assist you in the discovery and research of Metabolic diseases.

For more information visit Randox Biosciences or email info@randoxbiosciences.com

 References

1 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/metabolic-syndrome/

2http://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome/about-metabolic-syndrome

3 https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/conditions/cardiovascular/metabolic-syndrome

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New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

10 December 2019

New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

 

A new report has highlighted the scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in the UK. In 2017, the minister for public health and primary care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to identify the scale, distribution and causes of prescription drug dependence, and what might be done to address it.

The review covered adults (aged 18 and over) and 5 classes of medicines:

  • benzodiazepines (mostly prescribed for anxiety)
  • z-drugs (sleeping tablets with effects similar to benzodiazepines)
  • gabapentin and pregabalin (together called gabapentinoids and used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain and, in the case of pregabalin, anxiety)
  • opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
  • antidepressants

PHE’s analysis shows that, in 2017 to 2018, 11.5 million adults in England (26% of the adult population) received, and had dispensed, one or more prescriptions for any of the medicines within the scope of the review. The totals for each medicine were:

  • z-drugs – 1.0 million (2%)
  • benzodiazepines – 4 million (3%)
  • gabapentinoids – 5 million (3%)
  • antidepressants – 3 million people (17% of the adult population)
  • opioid pain medicines – 6 million (13%)

Trends

Between 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018 the rate of prescribing for antidepressants increased from 15.8% of the adult population to 16.6% and for gabapentinoids from 2.9% to 3.3%. There was a small decrease in prescribing rates for the other 3 medicine classes. Rates of prescribing were higher for women (1.5 times those of men), and the rates generally increased with age. After a long increasing trend, the annual number of prescriptions for opioid pain medicines has slightly decreased since 2016. There is a continuing longer-term fall in prescription numbers for benzodiazepines. A longer-term increase in annual prescription numbers for z-drugs started to reverse in 2014.

Officials said long-term use on such a scale could not be justified and was a sign of patients dependence.

PHE medical director Prof Paul Cosford said he was worried.

“These medicines have many vital clinical uses and can make a big difference to people’s quality of life.”

But he added there were too many cases where patients were using them for longer than “clinically” appropriate – where the drugs would have simply stopped working effectively or where the risks could outweigh the benefits.

Conclusions

One in 4 adults in England were prescribed benzodiazepines, z-drugs, gabapentinoids, opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, or antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants and gabapentinoids are increasing, but prescriptions for opioid pain medicines are decreasing. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines continue to fall, and those for z-drugs have more recently started to fall.

Peter Burkinshaw at PHE, one of the authors said: “The long-term prescribing of opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepines is not supported by guidelines and is not effective.”

Fellow author Rosanna O’Connor, said: “We know that GPs in some of the more deprived areas are under great pressure but, as this review highlights, more needs to be done to educate and support patients, as well as looking closely at prescribing practice and what alternative treatments are available locally.

References

Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines (PHE)

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/10/addictive-medication-nhs-opioid-crisis-government-study-england

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we are at the forefront of alcohol and drug testing. We aim to spread the message of alcohol and drug misuse and the effects substance abuse can have on individuals and businesses. Prescription & OTC medication if taken incorrectly can have a devastating impact. It’s important to communicate with employers if you are taking prescription medication for any reason. If your organisation undertakes workplace testing, our chain of custody process provides clarity on the steps needed to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

For more information on drug & alcohol testing, including the wide range of substances we can test for, please visit www.randoxtestingservices.com or email testingservices@randox.com

 

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