What We're Reading: CDC Investigates Vaping-Caused Illnesses; Steroid Inhaler Usage; Johnson & Johnson Opioid Case

CDC continues to investigate growing cases of lung illnesses for possible correlations to vape usage; a study suggests steroid inhaler use in patients with mild asthma may be ineffective; Oklahoma judge set to decide opioid lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson today.

CDC Flags 1 Death and Nearly 200 Cases of Lung Illnesses Possibly Tied to Vaping

Last Friday, the CDC identified 193 potential cases and 1 fatal case of severe lung illness linked to vaping in 22 states. Reuters reported that the CDC was investigating a “cluster” of lung illnesses believed to be caused by e-cigarette usage, but it has yet to find substantial evidence. Health agencies are continuing to examine potential cases of vaping-caused lung illnesses which have more than doubled over the past week. The president of the American Vaping Association, Gregory Conley, attributed growing lung illnesses toward the use of cannabis or other synthetic drugs contained in devices and denied that nicotine was the cause.

Study Questions Mainstay Treatment for Mild Asthma

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined the common use of steroid inhalers to prevent asthma attacks in patients. NPR reported that for many people with mild asthma, the target demographic for this treatment could be minimal as these steroid inhalers were found to not work any better than a placebo. In more than half of the cases in patients aged 12 and older, they exhibited just as well, or even better, on a placebo compared with steroid inhalers. Researchers stressed the need to reevaluate steroid inhaler use for patients with mild asthma as it may prove ineffective.

Oklahoma Judge to Deliver Judgment in State’s Opioid Lawsuit

Oklahoma judge Thad Balkman is scheduled to rule today on the first state case to go to trial accusing Johnson & Johnson of responsibility for severe consequences occurring due to an addiction to painkillers, according to The Associated Press. Before the 6-week trial began in late May, Oklahoma reached a $270 million settlement from OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and an $85 million deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. This case leads similar lawsuits by states, cities, counties, and Indian tribes that have sued drug companies for their role in the national opioid crisis.