Top News of 2020 on Drug Topics


The Drug Topics® team rounded up some of our top-read articles from the last year.

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has dominated headlines and remained a centerpiece of much of our coverage this year. However, there were plenty of other news topics that resonated with readers––from product recalls and FDA approvals to new and exciting medical research.

As we look back at 2020 and ahead to 2021, the Drug Topics® team rounded up some of our top-read articles from the last year.

10. New Diabetes Medications, Technologies You Should Know

With new drugs and technologies available, pharmacists are at the forefront of the effort to educate patients and health care professionals about diabetes treatments, monitoring options, and pipeline drugs.

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9. USPSTF Issues Draft Recommendation on Vitamin D Screening in Adults

The US Preventive Services Task Force concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to make a recommendation for or against vitamin D deficiency screening in asymptomatic adults.

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8. Psychedelic Medicines for Pain Go Mainstream

This article, published in July, provides an overview of certain illicit drugs being researched as potential alternatives to opioids in pain management. Substances including cannabis, psilocybin, and kratom are discussed.

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7. All Pharmacists Now Authorized to Administer Childhood Vaccines

In August, the Department of Health and Human Services authorized all state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer childhood vaccinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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6. Premature Testing More Likely to Result in False Negative for COVID-19

In June, a Johns Hopkins research team of investigators suggested that testing infected individuals too early for COVID-19 may result in a false negative, even though they may test positive for the virus later.

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5. Study Suggests Digestive Symptoms May Be Associated with COVID-19

Early on in the pandemic, a study from China reported that approximately half of patients in the Wuhan outbreak presented with digestive symptoms as their chief complaint. The findings suggested that digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, could be a presenting feature of COVID-19.

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4. 8 Things to Know About the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919

As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic this year, our 2018 article on the Spanish flu pandemic resurfaced among readers. Take a look back at one of the worst pandemics in global history with this article.

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3. FDA Approves Oliceridine for Pain Management in Hospitals, Controlled Settings

In August, the FDA approved olicieridine (Olinvyk; Trevena Inc), an opioid agonist for the management of pain that is severe enough to require an intravenous opioid and when alternative treatments were ineffective.

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2. First Big Metformin Product Recalled, More on the Way

In more big news from the year, an FDA investigation identified elevated levels of the carcinogenic ingredient N-nitrosodimethylamine in certain extended-release (ER) metformin products, spurring a number of product recalls. 

In May, Apotex Corp and Amneal Pharmaceuticals both issued voluntary recalls of their metformin hydrochloride ER tablets.

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1. COVID-19 and Herpes Zoster

COVID-19–related news dominated headlines for many reasons, but this article on the virus’ effect on shingles was the top-read piece on the Drug Topics® website in 2020.

The article discusses the effect of coronavirus-related stress on the human body and the potential triggering effects for individuals with underlying health conditions.

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