HEALTH

Wisconsin becomes 15th state to restrict DXM sales

BY Michael Johnsen

Wisconsin on Wednesday became the 15th state to restrict the sale of cough/cold products containing DXM (dextromethorphan), a cough medicine that has the potential to be abused, especially among teenagers.

Teenagers younger than 18 would need a prescription to purchase a product containing DXM, the new law states.

Authored by Wis. Sen.Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and Wis. Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law Wednesday.

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their cough symptoms, according to the 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.

“The Consumer Healthcare Products Association thanks Gov. Walker for signing this important bill into law as well as Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Kremer for their leadership and commitment to passing legislation aimed at addressing the issue of teen OTC cough medicine abuse,” Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, said.

In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit sales to minors. Since then, governors from Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, and now Wisconsin, have all signed similar laws.

“The two most important tools in combating teen OTC cough medicine abuse are public policy efforts and education,” said Melville. “We are confident that this new law will help raise awareness about the issue with parents, while ensuring access for the millions of families who responsibly use products containing DXM to treat common cough symptoms.”

CHPA has long supported state efforts to limit teen access to DXM and has worked to increase parental and community awareness of OTC cough medicine abuse through its StopMedicineAbuse.org campaign. As part of the campaign, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative in 2017, providing educational materials to retailers in states with age-restriction laws to improve retail employees’ understanding of the new law and how to enforce it.

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Study: Supplementing with NR may improve heart health

BY Michael Johnsen

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder on Thursday associated the supplement nicotinomide riboside with improved heart health, suggesting that supplementing with NR mimics the health benefits of caloric restriction.

Scientists have long known that restricting calories can fend off physiological signs of aging, with studies in fruit flies, roundworms, rodents and even people showing that chronically slashing intake by about a third can reap myriad health benefits and, in some cases, extend lifespan. But from a public health perspective, that advice is impractical for many and dangerous for some.

But new research indicates that when people consume NR daily, it mimics caloric restriction, kick-starting the same key chemical pathways responsible for the health benefits associated with that. Supplementation also tends to improve blood pressure and heart health, particularly in those with mild hypertension, the study found.

“This was the first-ever study to give this novel compound to humans over a period of time,” said senior author Doug Seals, a professor and researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology. “We found that it is well tolerated and appears to activate some of the same key biological pathways that calorie restriction does.”

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, Seals and lead author Chris Martens, then a postdoctoral fellow at CU Boulder, included 24 lean and healthy men and women ages 55 to 79 from the Boulder area.

Half were given a placebo for six weeks, then took a 500 mg twice-daily dose of nicotinamide riboside chloride (Niagen). The other half took NR for the first six weeks, followed by placebo.

The researchers found that 1,000 mg daily of NR boosted levels of another compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) by 60%. NAD+ is required for activation of enzymes called sirtuins, which have been credited with the beneficial effects of calorie restriction. It’s involved in a host of metabolic actions throughout the body, but it tends to decline with age.

Research suggests that as an evolutionary survival mechanism, the body conserves NAD+ when subjected to calorie restriction. But only recently have scientists begun to explore the idea of supplementing with so-called “NAD+-precursors” like NR to promote healthy aging.

“The idea is that by supplementing older adults with NR, we are not only restoring something that is lost with aging (NAD+), but we could potentially be ramping up the activity of enzymes responsible for helping protect our bodies from stress,” Martens said.

The new study also found that in 13 participants with elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension (120-139/80-89 mmHg), systolic blood pressure was about 10 points lower after supplementation. A drop of that magnitude could translate to a 25% reduction in heart attack risk.

“If this magnitude of systolic blood pressure reduction with NR supplementation is confirmed in a larger clinical trial, such an effect could have broad biomedical implications,” the authors noted.

Ultimately, the authors say, such CR-mimicking compounds could provide an additional option–alongside the dietary changes and exercise currently recommended–for people whose blood pressure is not yet high enough to warrant medication but who are still at risk for a heart attack.

They stress that the study was small and “pilot in nature.”

“We are not able to make any definitive claims that this compound is safe or going to be effective for specific segments of the population,” said Martens, now an assistant professor at the University of Delaware. “What this paper provides us with is a really good stepping stone for future work.”

Martens and Seals have applied for a grant to conduct a larger clinical trial looking specifically at the impact of NR supplementation on blood pressure and heart health. Martens is also launching a separate trial looking at the impact NR has on older adults with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

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IRI and AnalyticsIQ help marketers better connect to influencers

BY Michael Johnsen

IRI and AnalyticsIQ on Wednesday announced a partnership that empowers CPG digital marketers to more effectively target the most active and influential users of major social media platforms.

“Instagram and other platforms are the go-to place for many shoppers, who connect with influencers on a personal level,” Nishat Mehta, president of IRI’s Media Center of Excellence, said. “Consumers are looking for advice from those they trust. The advent of social media creates a circle of connections that can influence the consumer far better than other forms of advertising. We are excited to partner with AnalyticsIQ and help marketers broaden their reach by talking to consumers that are open to trying products and sharing their authentic experience with others.”

“It’s clear that the worlds of CPG shopping and social media are converging, and there has never been a more opportune time for marketers to tap into the power of these platforms and influencers,” Anna Brantley, chief revenue officer for AnalyticsIQ, said. “We are thrilled to collaborate with IRI and provide advertisers with actionable audiences that allow them to target individuals likely to see and appreciate their message.”

Combining IRI’s predictive audiences and shopper data and AnalyticsIQ’s social media intelligence, the partnership offers advertisers the tools they need to ensure that the creative they are running on social platforms reaches the highest value users both from an engagement and purchase propensity perspective.

More than 95 new audience segments from IRI and AnalyticsIQ are available now through Acxiom company, LiveRamp’s Data Innovators program. Marketers now can download more audience information and access unique and in-demand audiences via the LiveRamp Data Store.

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