By Kim Witczak WoodyMatters On February 12, a joint meeting of the FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee endorsed Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ — a division of Johnson & Johnson — experimental nasal spray for depression despite a mixed bag of clinical trial results. The panel voted 14-2 to approve esketamine for major depression in patients who had not benefited despite trying two or more antidepressants. I serve as the consumer representative on the first committee and I was one of the two no votes. This fast-acting nasal spray, esketamine, is a chemical mirror image…

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Young users of ADHD drugs who have a parent with a history of mental illness have a greater risk of psychotic side effects, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics. Nearly 2/3 of the 141 study subjects prescribed stimulant medications had a psychotic side effect. These side effects included hallucinations, delusions, hearing voices, and/or perceptual disturbances. Of those who had not taken a stimulant drug, only 1/4 were affected. Via HealthDay.com. Posted December 31, 2015. –Medshadow Staff

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By Jamie Zimmerman, MD Doctors. When you think of them, what comes to mind? Stethoscopes, white coats, pills?  What if there were a new kind of doctor? One who prescribes meditation, yoga, and other contemplative practices, rather than (or in addition to) doling out medication? More and more doctors are taking an integrative approach in their practices, offering patients alternative therapies to address a multitude of health problems. Here’s how meditation has helped my patients and suggestions on how it might help you. The words meditation and medication sound suspiciously similar, and this is no coincidence.  These words, along with…

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This study abstract indicates that using epileptic drugs during pregnancy lowers the 6 month olds fine motor skills, an indicator of healthy development. Most pregnant women with epilepsy don’t have much option with drug use, it’s life saving. More useful is the information that breastfeeding while using anti-epileptic drugs seems to not have any harm for the baby. JAMASept. 23, 2013

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A study of patient records in the military health care system over a 9-year period has found a correlation between statin use and cataracts. This does not prove that statins caused cataracts. However, those on statins were 27% more likely to develop cataracts. JAMA Opthamology via Philly.com In a completely different study from the Mayo Clinic, it seems that statins lower the risk of dementia, especially if used for more than a year. The list of statin side effects grows ever longer. via FirstWordPharma

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A new study shows that it is safe to use up to 300mg of corticosteroid creams for psoriasis during pregnancy. Never use any topical creams near the nipple area when breastfeeding. Also, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive avoid the topical retinoid tazarotene. Via Healthline.com – MedShadow Staff

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The article is generally interesting about CVS’s data-collection on consumers, in a big-brother kind of way. It mentions a side effect of antidepressants that was useful: “With antidepressants pharmacists warn that sleep and stomach issues are common 2 to 4 weeks in, and the patient should keep on going.” (Source: New York Times, Stage-managing Paths to the Prescription Counter)

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