If you’ve watched drug commercials (and they’re impossible to avoid!), chances are you’ve heard the word “biologic,” and wondered what that means. Biologics are products made from substances or components of living things (including humans, animals, and microorganisms). These can be blood products, tissues, or vaccines — but the ones you’re likely hearing more about are those used as medicines and treatments for a variety of health conditions. “Drugs are typically manufactured through chemical synthesis and generally have well defined structures. Generic drugs are approved following the brand drug, having the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, route of administration, and…

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Think you’re allergic to a drug? Think again — it may be a side effect. Many people may self-diagnose an allergy to a medication when they have experienced an undesirable reaction to it. But what is it that makes people think that’s the case — why don’t more of us suspect a side effect? How do you know if it’s an allergy or a side effect? It can be hard to tease out the differences, but it’s important to know. If it’s a side effect you might be able to manage or minimize the side effects and benefit from the…

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How to safely take prescriptions and reduce interactions with food, alcohol and OTC drugs. Many of us are getting better at asking questions about how the drugs we are prescribed work or what their side-effects might be. And yet we often remain uninformed, or at least unsure, of how the drugs we take interact with the food we eat, over-the-counter drugs we also take, or the alcohol we (may) drink. Nearly half of US residents took at least one prescription drug within a 30-day period in 2012, according to the CDC. Americans also rely heavily on over-the-counter products, as the…

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