If you have a lot of pain in your leg or arm, you might be expecting (and hoping!) that your doctor will give you a powerful pain reliever like codeine or oxycodone. That would likely be a mistake. A new study published today in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) shows that opioids don’t work any better than a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and opioids create significantly higher concern in the medical community. Just over 400 patients who arrived in the ER complaining of bad pain in a leg or arm were randomly given acetaminophen and either ibuprofen, oxycodone,…

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Concerns that labeling changes on anesthesia might discourage pregnant women from getting medical procedures are unwarranted. Flash advice from the FDA! Avoid putting your infant under sedation for 3 hours or more. But if medically necessary, go right ahead. Question: Who is going to put a child younger than 3 years old under a lengthy surgical procedure without medical necessity? Answer: Doctors everyone should avoid. The FDA is alerting parents and doctors that more than 3 hours of anesthesia can “cause widespread loss of nerve cells in the developing brain; and studies in young animals suggested these changes resulted in…

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Overlooked and misunderstood, vinpocetine and picamilon are powerful drugs mistakenly allowed into more than 300 brands of supplements. Research released on October 1, 2015, shows that the FDA made a mistake and has allowed 2 drugs to be added to more than 340 sports supplements, brain enhancers and weight-loss supplements available without a prescription. The study measured the amount of both vinpocetine and picamilon in supplements sold over the counter and has been published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis. While both of these drugs are similar to botanicals (which do not have to be proven safe for humans in…

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Elderly patients may be taking 4, 5, 6 or more drugs, even though little is known about the dangers of interactions. Now ‘polypharmacy’ is being challenged How many medicines do you take? It’s a question that stumps many seniors and people with chronic illnesses. That’s because more people today take 5, 6 or more medicines simultaneously — and they take some of those drugs for years. Doctors call this polypharmacy. For some people it’s essential to maintaining health and thus can’t be avoided. But evidence suggests and experts agree that millions of people — and you may be one –…

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Abilify is used as an add-on drug for depression, but it most often causes weight gain. Doesn’t that increase depression — especially for women? That’s the question I posed to Dr. Candida Fink, board-certified psychiatrist in child, adolescent and general psychiatry in the part 2 of our interview: Is Abilify Worth the Risks?” Following are shortened and paraphrased quotes from our session. In response to my question why take the risks Abilify brings, Dr. Fink notes,  “When you go to prescribe a medication, when are the risks of not using a medication potentially equal the risks of medicating. Now the…

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How adults with Attention-Deficit Disorder can create a structure that supports them instead of tripping them up Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse don’t need to be a lifetime sentence. Many people find they can taper off and end their dependence on drugs once they’ve created a structure that helps them concentrate. ADHD medicines can be used as a temporary tool to aid you in focus, while behavioral therapy teaches you life-management skills and techniques. In fact, many people have set a goal of getting off ADHD drugs because so little is known about their effects on the mind and body when…

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Can giving my child steroids every day for asthma be safe? How can losing weight help my child’s asthma? Why does my child seem to have a dangerous asthma attack every September? Nearly 10% of all US children have asthma, and the number rises each year for unknown reasons. Asthma is the number 1 cause of school absenteeism. In fact, every day 36,000 children miss school because of asthma. Asthma, the most common disease in America today, is both chronic and genetic. See also: Side Effects At a Glance: Asthma Meds For a variety of reasons, asthma attacks seem to flare as…

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Can you cut pills in half? What do you do with unused, expired medicine? MedShadow’s founder Su Robotti asks Registered Pharmacist Raymond Murphy the questions you forgot to ask your doctor. Murphy has worked in a hospital pharmacy for more than 15 years. –Su Robotti Can you cut pills in half? What do you do with unused, expired medicine? MedShadow’s founder Su Robotti asks Registered Pharmacist Raymond Murphy the questions you forgot to ask your doctor. Murphy has worked in a hospital pharmacy for more than 15 years. If you have questions for Pharmacist Ray, send them to us and…

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FDA

How many people have to report an adverse reaction to a prescription drug to trigger an FDA review? Does the FDA track blockbuster drugs more closely than others? How can you find out if an unanticipated long-term effect is uncovered on a drug you’re taking? We didn’t know either, so we asked the FDA. The FDA not only has the responsibility to approve new drugs before they are marketed, the agency is also required to monitor the performance of the drug in the general population. Before approval drugs undergo short-term testing to make sure they work, that they work better…

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