Health Highlights: Oct. 11, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Caution Urged When Taking Patients Off Opioid Painkillers

Doctors should be more cautious when taking chronic pain patients off opioid painkillers, according to a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidance released Thursday.

The recommendation comes in response to concerns that many doctors have been halting opioid prescriptions too quickly, and even dismissing patients from their practice in some cases, according to The New York Times.

In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines that urged primary care doctors to be more cautious when prescribing opioids.

The latest guidance tackles the other side of that equation, including outlining the potential harms to patients who abruptly stop taking opioids and explaining factors to consider and measures to take before starting to ease patients off the drugs, The Times reported.


Royal Couples Add Voices to Mental Health PSA

A new mental health PSA in England is voiced by royal couples Prince Harry/Meghan Markle and Prince William/Kate Middleton and features celebrities such as Glenn Close and Gillian Anderson.

The PSA is called #EveryMindMatters and aims to “help people take simple steps to look after their mental health,” according to a tweet from Kensington Palace, CNN reported.

The campaign was launched by Public Health England, in partnership with the UK’s health service.

Prince Harry is also working with Oprah Winfrey on a documentary series about mental health, CNN reported.


Washington State Bans Flavored Vaping Products

An emergency rule banning the sale of flavored vaping products in Washington state takes effect Thursday and lasts 120 days.

“This is a critical part of our response to the youth vaping epidemic and the outbreak of vaping associated lung injury in Washington and throughout the country,” said Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman, who is also a member of the Washington State Board of Health, CNN reported.

There have been at least 1,080 lung injury cases reported in 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week, including 18 deaths.

The specific cause of vaping related lung injury is unknown, but there are indications that the majority of patients vaped THC products, CNN reported.