Slideshow: Our Must-Read Stories of 2015

MedShadow has reached more people than ever this year — more than 3 times as many in fact — with articles and news on the side effects and long-term effects of prescription medication. Looking at the pros and cons, we continuously break down the reality behind the labels. In 2015, we tackled controversial topics and explained complicated ones. One highlight: Our FDA Watch blogger Sarah Smedley took on the agency’s approval of a drug to improve women’s libido despite a list of problems and minimal upside. Here’s a look at our Top 10 of 2015!

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1: Do Statins Need a Re-think??

Are statins on the way out? This look at the emergence of PCSK9 inhibitors, new drugs to lower bad cholesterol, asks that question. But in looking at the risks and benefits, writer Jodi Helmer finds that it’s not a clear case of trading the old drug for the new. First of all, there’s the cost.

2: Did Hype Drive the FDA Decision on Women’s Libido Drug?

Our FDA Watch blogger, Sarah Smedley, takes a close look at the FDA approval of the so-called ‘Pink Viagra’ drug, Addyi (flibanserin). As Smedley points out, Addyi doesn’t work anything like the hormonal drug Viagra. It affects the brain, making it dangerous — and all for questionable results.

3: Antidepressants: New Risks of Side Effects

Steven Findlay, a long-time health writer/editor, joined us this year with a blog called Your Meds: Risks Vs Benefits. Using Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs as a jumping off point, he takes an in-depth look at the pros and cons of categories of drugs. His examination of antidepressants is particularly noteworthy.

4: Crowdshare Drug Sites: Pros & Cons

MedShadow Foundation founder Suzanne Robotti’s MedShadow Blog engages readers with cogent opinions and analysis from the point of view of patient advocacy. Her blog on crowd-sourcing is a user-friendly intro to the latest sources of healthcare information

5: Drugs in Pregnancy

The importance of understanding the side effects of medication is perhaps no more acute than when pregnant. Health reporter Rita Colorito’s 7-part series, Drugs in Pregnancy, covers topics from antibiotics to painkillers and is a must-read for any expectant mother.

6: Food as Medicine: Celiac Disease

Recognizing that sometimes the best medicine isn’t a drug, Geri Anne Fennessey’s article Food As Medicine: Celiac looks at a nutritional approach to treating this confounding disease.

7: Drugs for Parkinson’s: The Shocking Side Effects

Our 2-part feature on Drugs for Parkinson’s by Elizabeth Marglin is an eye-opener. One class of drugs can cause compulsive behavior, including gambling, drinking and sexual addiction. Others trigger tremors and fatigue. The articles include 2 helpful videos from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

8: HGH: Is Growth Hormone Safe for Kids?

Health journalist and author Tara Haelle’s article about the long-term effects of HGH given to children is an important read for parents. After a generation of HGH treatments, doctors are starting to understand the long-term effects of HGH. Haelle’s piece helps parents balance risk and benefits.

9: Are Seniors Being Overmedicated?

Elderly patients may be taking 4, 5, 6 or more drugs, even though little is known about the dangers of interactions. Called “polypharmacy,” over-medication presents risks that should to be on the radar of older adults and anyone caring for them.

10: Are There Drugs in Your Supplements?

And last but never least, Suzanne Robotti asks the question we always wanted to know the answer to: What’s in My Supplement? In her effort to find out, she takes readers on a path that might help you figure out what’s in yours!

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