Healthcare Roundup—FDA expands use of HPV vaccine; Marijuana legalization gaining popularity, poll finds

Syringe injection vaccine needle
The FDA has said that a vaccine for HPV can be used in patients up to age 45, plus more healthcare headlines. (Pixabay)

FDA approves HPV vaccine for use up to age 45

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a vaccine aimed at protecting against cervical cancer for use in patients up to age 45.

Gardasil, which prevents human papillomavirus, or HPV, has traditionally been aimed at younger patients. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact and is often without symptoms.

Gardasil protects against nine strains of HPV. (The Associated Press)

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Pew poll: About 60% of Americans think marijuana should be legalized

About 6 in 10 Americans believe that marijuana should be legalized, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center.

Sixty-two percent of the 1,754 adults polled by Pew said they support legalization, which doubles the number of people who said the same in 2001.

The idea has greater traction among Democrats, according to the poll, with 69% in favor. Republicans were more split, with 45% saying marijuana should be legal and 51% saying it should remain illegal. (Pew Research Center)

Lack of access to opioid treatment creating a black market for suboxone

Though more experts—including the Department of Health and Human Services—are emphasizing medication-assisted treatment for opioid use, a lack of access to professional addiction care may lead patients to seek those drugs on the black market.

Patients who can’t access treatment locally will often seek alternative methods, said Michelle Lofwall, M.D., an addiction specialist and researcher at the University of Kentucky. Health policy experts have called for expanding access to drugs like buprenorphine for people recovering from opioid addiction.

“These people want help, and they tried and didn’t succeed,” Lofwall said. “So now they’re going to go get it if it’s available.” (National Public Radio)

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