Health :: New policies on childhood anaphylaxis, emergency contraception and human/veterinary medicine

The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest physician group, voted at its Annual Meeting to adopt the following new policies.

Treatment of childhood allergic (anaphylactic) reactions: The AMA voted to adopt new policy calling on all states to enact laws permitting students to carry prescribed epinephrine or other medications for asthma or anaphylaxis. The policy also urges schools ranging from preschool through grade 12 to have greater communication and preparedness for life-threatening medical emergencies.

“Life-threatening allergic reactions to foods can easily happen at school or away from home, and an epinephrine injection at the first sign of a reaction is critical,” said AMA Board Member Rebecca J. Patchin, MD. “All states should have laws that allow children to protect themselves by carrying lifesaving tools like epinephrine or other prescribed medication.”

Access to emergency contraception: The AMA voted to adopt new policy requesting that pharmacies use their website or other means to let patients know whether or not they stock and dispense emergency contraception and if a prescription is required. If a pharmacy doesn’t dispense emergency contraception, pharmacies should indicate where emergency contraception can be obtained in their region.

“FDA-approved Plan B emergency contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancies,” said AMA Board Member Rebecca J. Patchin, MD. “Even if women are aware of emergency contraception as a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy, they may not know where or how to access it. It’s important that pharmacies let patients know whether they can access emergency contraception at their store and, if not, where they can go to get it.”

Human and veterinary medicine collaboration: The AMA voted to adopt new policy supporting more educational and research collaborations between the medical and veterinary professions to help with the assessment, treatment and prevention of cross-species disease transmission. Benefits of current collaborative efforts include rabies control efforts and foodborne illness evaluations.

“Many infectious diseases can infect both humans and animals,” said AMA Board Member Duane M. Cady, MD. “New infections continue to emerge and with threats of cross-species disease transmission and pandemic in our global health environment, the time has come for the human and veterinary medical professions to work closer together for the greater protection of the public health in the 21st Century.”

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