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Roger Collier | CMAJ | March 9, 2018

  • Buprenorphine-naloxone should be the “preferred first-line treatment” for opioid use disorders, recommends a national clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ. The guideline recommends against using withdrawal management alone because it is associated with increased risks, relapses and overdose deaths.
  • Health Canada should review regulations around high-sugar alcoholic drinks, according to Quebec’s public health minister. The drinks are dangerous to young people because the sweetness masks the taste of alcohol and youth “don’t realize how quickly they are becoming intoxicated,” said the minister.
  • British Columbia plans to open its first dementia care village. The village will allow a small number of seniors with dementia to live in independent accommodations in a secure environment with support from specially trained staff.
  • The Quebec government opened the province’s 28th super clinic, a designation for clinics that can handle high patient volume and relieve pressure on hospital emergency departments. Some government critics, however, say emergency departments are still overcrowded and there is no evidence that super clinics are helping lessen the problem.
  • There was a spike in opioid-related deaths in Ontario last year. There were 1053 opioid-related deaths in the province between January and October of 2017, compared to 694 during the same period the previous year.
  • Dr. Sandy Buchman was elected by Ontario Medical Association members to be the 2019 nominee for president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association. Buchman is a family physician and past president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
  • The number of doctors in Quebec has increased over the past decade; their incomes have also increased but they work fewer hours and see fewer patients, according to a study commissioned by the province’s commissioner of health and well-being. The payroll for physicians increased annually by an average of 8.1%, but the workloads of family doctors and other specialists decreased overall by 3.1%-4.5%, according to the study.
  • There have been a “significant number of cases and outbreaks” of influenza in Alberta, according to Alberta Health services. The province has seen 2664 hospital admissions for influenza and 78 influenza-related deaths this flu season.
  • Women who use the birth control products Alysena 21 or Alysena 28 should check for chipped or broken pills, warned Health Canada. Damaged pills contain less of the active ingredient and may be less effective in preventing pregnancy.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is warning Canadians travelling to Europe that the number of countries with outbreaks of measles is increasing. Last year, there were more than 21 000 cases of measles in Europe, four times the number recorded the previous year, and 35 deaths.

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