Diabetes symptoms can be so mild that many people don’t even know they have it. Those who are diagnosed may stop taking their pills, because they find the side effects worse than disease’s limited symptoms. But it’s important to take this disease seriously because over time untreated or poorly treated diabetes can cause severe and irreversible complications like kidney, eye, and nerve damage or infections that lead to amputations. This article focuses on the pros and cons of the oral type 2 diabetes drugs. Almost all people with type 2 diabetes are candidates for one or more of these medicines…

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Roughly four percent of Americans are taking a sleep aid. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are among the most widely used medicines. Their popularity has been spurred by aggressive marketing over the last decade, but also by changes in our culture that have disrupted good sleep habits (TVs, computers, smartphones, the Internet, etc.) and exacerbated matters for people prone to clinical insomnia (work and life stress, economic displacement). Much has been written about this issue and the drugs themselves, with lots of hand-wringing and popular advice. But for the past two decades, physicians and public health officials mostly went…

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The problem with muscle relaxants — and it’s a big problem — is this: Although the drugs are effective and have been in use for decades, most of them work through the central nervous system,  causing general sedation and not by targeting muscle tissue. You might say: “who cares as long as they work.” That’s a legitimate perspective — the precise mechanism of action of many drugs is not known. And muscle pulls and spasms — especially in the neck and/or back — can be painful, limiting range of motion and disrupting sleep and normal activities for days. I’ve had…

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cvd

Statin drugs that lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes are among the most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. About 28% of people aged 40 and over take one. That number rises to 50% of people aged 75 and over. The evidence is overwhelming that statins work: They lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by an average of around 30%. And statins are credited — along with lifestyle and diet changes — with reducing the premature death rate from cardiovascular disease by 45% between 2000 and 2013. That translates into millions of lives…

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Claim: Build Stronger Bones Supplements: Calcium and Vitamin D Taking daily calcium pills can increase bone density in people over 50 years old by 1 to 2 percent. But that’s not enough to prevent fractures, according to recent research. And contrary to popular belief, vitamin D alone doesn’t build bone. See Also: • The (Many) Problems With Supplements• 15 Supplement Ingredients to Always Avoid • What’s In My Supplement What to do instead: Eat a balanced diet that includes foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, including milk and yogurt, mushrooms, eggs, fortified milk, soy beverages and salmon. Weight-bearing aerobic…

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Do you take 4 pills a day? If so, you’re like most Americans. Yet what are we taking all these pills for, and are they improving our lives? The overuse of prescription drugs has become a serious problem in the US. We hear about this most in the context of opioids — narcotic painkillers whose widespread use and abuse has become a national crisis. The overuse of antibiotics has also become the focus of an intensive campaign to steer doctors and patients to more judicious use. The soaring use of prescription drugs has been driven by several factors: A plethora…

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FDA

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw a number of prescription drugs come to market that ended up causing grave harm. Most famous among these was the arthritis and pain drug Vioxx (rofecoxib). Approved by the FDA in May 1999, Vioxx soon became a multibillion-dollar drug, with peak sales of $2.5 billion a year, and was prescribed to millions of people. By 2001, initial studies indicated that the drug might be putting people at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. Alarm bells went off and a high-profile, wide-scale probe followed. The problem was confirmed and in September 2004, Merck…

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Back pain is the most common kind of chronic pain. It’s also a near-ubiquitous form of acute, short-lived pain after a minor injury, a bit too much exercise, lifting something the wrong way, a stressful day at the computer or an encounter with a bad bed. In one survey, a quarter of adults reported having low back pain lasting at least one day in the past 3 months. But over the long term, we all fall victim. For decades, the prevalent response to a bout of back pain — acute or chronic — was to reach for the pill bottle.…

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