Author: Emma Yasinski

Emma Yasinski

I am a freelance science and medical journalist, fascinated by how the scientific process leads to incredible discoveries, but also can lead to publication bias leaning toward positive findings and minimizing negatives. With a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Lafayette College and a Master’s in Science and Medical Journalism from Boston University, I’ve written about clinical trial transparency, organ donation, and basic molecular biology for publications like The Scientist, The Atlantic, Undark.org, Kaiser Health News, and more. At MedShadow, I research and write about the sometimes unexpected ways that medicines can affect us, and what we can do if and when it does.

FDA

In 2018, two young men were found dead in their respective bathrooms in Texas after using a concentrated powder form of tianeptine.  Tianeptine is an antidepressant prescribed in Europe, Asia and South America. It’s banned in the US, but it’s found its way here. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the drug’s risks in 2018. Then in February 2022, the agency put out a new warning after scientists found a large increase in calls to poison control centers related to tianeptine poisoning. What is Tianeptine? Tianeptine, sold under the brand names of Coaxil and Stablon, is…

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FDA

If you watch television, you’ve likely seen the commercials for the JAK (Janus kinase) inhibitors Xeljanz and Rinvoq that make bold claims. Those ads depict men and women ziplining, moving large amounts of heavy soil, hauling furniture and riding ATVs. “The [misleading] message is that you don’t have to be limited in any way,” explains Terry Graedon, PhD, a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy. “I would say that the likelihood [is pretty slim] that this is a realistic goal for most people, much less women with rheumatoid arthritis,  especially if they are people whose condition has not…

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Corticosteroids, also known as glucocorticoids or steroids, aren’t the same as the anabolic steroids athletes misuse. Corticosteroids are used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases like asthma, allergies, rashes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as many other conditions. Because corticosteroids are so strong, most of them are only available by prescription. While they can be extremely beneficial, steroids can also have serious side effects. It’s a good idea to understand the benefits and risks of corticosteroids and discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Common Names Corticosteroids come in several forms, including: Oral: Capsules, tablets, or…

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If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, losing weight, exercising and changes in diet could be enough to keep your blood sugar in check. A combination of diet and exercise has the ability to reverse diabetes in many diabetics and pre-diabetics who are not insulin dependent — meaning if your pancreas is still producing any insulin. Since most diabetic medicines are taken for the rest of your life, it makes sense to delay taking them as long as healthfully possible. All medicines have side effects that might impair your life and taking drugs regularly adds a strain on your…

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There are no drugs that cure Alzheimer’s disease, but there are some that help delay the onset. Sadly, these drugs have been called “high risk, low benefit” by some experts. Common Names Aricept (donepezil), Razadyne (galantamine), Exelon (rivastigmine), Namenda (memantine), Namzaric (memantine and donepezil) Side Effects and What to Do About Them Aricept is a medication to reduce symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Some side effects of Aricept include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, fatigue, and weight loss. An individual should stop using Aricept if he or she experiences black, bloody, or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that…

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MedShadow is introducing a weekly news feature called Quick Hits: brief summaries of recent news items related to our mission. Light therapy is under investigation as a way to ease the fatigue and depression that people with cancer often suffer from. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City conducted a series of clinical trials examining whether regular exposure to bright white light from a light box could improve their symptoms. In the latest trial, cancer patients exposed to the bright white light saw their depression symptoms subside much more than a control group…

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