New CDC V-Safe Monthly Vaccine Safety Report Data and
Comparing of Three Vaccines
(May 5, 2021)
First monthly V-Safe vaccine safety report with more than 1 million enrollees provides a comparison of the reactions to the vaccines.
CDC's April 30 Janssen vaccine safety report and vaccines in the pipeline.
Type 2 diabetes drug from 'GLP-1' class of drugs that can help lower blood sugar AND cause patients to lose weight
(February 19, 2021)
Novo Nordisk, maker of once-a-day injectable Victoza for diabetes, received approval in December 2017 to market once-weekly Ozempic for diabetes. Its "semaglutide" ingredient may soon be approved for weight loss.
Overseas manufacturing of key ingredient leads to massive recalls
(Updated October 15, 2021)
The debacle of generic valsartan recalls in 2018 and 2019 and
2021; now the recall expands to include some losartan and irbesartan products in the U.S. An overview of the situation,
a chart of worldwide API producers, plus lists of companies affected and list of major side effects of valsartan/Diovan.
A growing number of people continue to take antidepressants for
years - even after their mental health issue has resolved. Severe
withdrawal symptoms are the reason. A study identified withdrawal side effects of antidepressant and divided them into four categories: physiological, psychological, cognitive, and social impact.
Given that an increasing number of people over the age of 50 are receiving shingles vaccines, and that a sudden increase in seniors with epilepsy isn't likely, there must be other factors at play to account for the recent surge in gabapentin prescriptions. Some attribute the increase to the opioid addiction crisis, but there are other possible reasons. Also, "Fast Facts" about gabapentin Rx.
How do patient medication guides, pharmacy privacy policies, and other prescription-related information meant for the consumer rate in terms of readability? We put a small sample of patient handouts to the test, using the "Flesch-Kincaid" readability assessment.
Research presented at a recent medical association meeting suggests that the potential tick population capable of transmitting the alpha gal allergen is much greater than was thought previously, making more people at risk
of developing the red meat allergy.
More than a dietary supplement, CBD is also the active ingredient in a prescription drug approved last year
to treat a rare form of epilepsy. This article provides an overview of CBD oil's treatment potential for pain, anxiety and more; chart compares
the dietary supplement oil product with the much stronger
Rx drug's uses, availability, strength, price, and more.
Pharma donations to non-profit patient advocacy groups
(January 20, 2019)
Are patient charities really advocating for patients or are
they instead often advocating for the industry that funds them? A look at the growing phenomenon of industry influence via pharma company donations to patient advocacy groups. Includes chart with 10 large pharma companies' spending on charities, physicians, lobbying, and campaigns compiled from KHN and other databases.
CMS "Open Payments" reporting program promotes transparency and accountability by helping consumers understand the financial relationships between pharmaceutical/medical device industries and physicians/teaching hospitals.
Newly approved OTC genetic test provides information on eight drug metabolizing genes, and will help a patient know how quickly or slowly their body is likely to metabolize drugs associated with a particular gene..
Around 37% of Americans are taking drugs that have depression side effects risks. These include oral contraceptives, heartburn drugs, and beta blockers. Here is a list and links to patient experiences.
September is the official start of the flu season, and most people who choose to get a vaccine will do so by the end of this month. Here's a list of what's new, what's old but new again this year, and a chart with flu options by age range.
Muscle relaxants and serotonin syndrome; list of drugs flagged by FDA for potential safety risks (Part 2)
(September 16, 2018)
In the most recent 2018 FDA quarterly report, a new potential risk of serotonin syndrome is associated with the use of muscle relaxants. Other drugs flagged by FDA include those for cancer nausea, thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis, fungal infections, and insulin injection products.
Discussion of salt in our diets and recommended sodium amounts, which will be under review soon as part of USDA's Dietary Guidelines for America 2020-2025 revision. Includes salt trivia and list of prescription diuretics (water pills) used to reduce salt in the body and lower blood pressure.
Breast cancer treatments linked to neuropathy side effects
(August 19, 2018)
Neuropathy is a condition is characterized by numbness, tingling, or burning in extremities like the hands and feet. Some drugs used in conjunction with breast cancer treatment have neuropathy symptoms associated with them.
New drug warnings for fluoroquinolone antibiotics; list of drugs flagged by the FDA for potential safety problems
(August 12, 2018)
FDA is making changes to warnings about fluoroquinolone antibiotics because of life-threatening risk of low blood sugar. Also a list of commonly prescribed drugs that have adverse effects reported that have been identified in the past year by the FDA for further evaluation.
L-dopa (levodopa)- a history of its discovery as treatment for Parkinson's disease
(July 8, 2018)
Nobel prize winning pharmacologist Arvid Carlsson, who discovered a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson's, died June 29 at the age of 95. Here's a brief history of what led him to the discovery of a treatment for this common and debilitating degenerative neurologic disease and descriptions of new areas of research.
Does the FDA's rapidly growing database of adverse events reports improve drug safety?
(July 1, 2018)
There has been a surge in adverse events reports collected by the FDA through its Medwatch and FAERS program. Has the FDA used the plethora of data to make rapid and effective safety decisions about drugs?
There is a growing body of evidence that the bacteria in our intestines have much more to do with our health than just digestion. Our brain may not be anywhere near our intestines, but many studies are showing that what we eat can have a huge impact on our mental health.
Yet another use for baking soda: potentially thwarting autoimmune disease
(June 10, 2018)
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia have found evidence that drinking a daily solution of baking soda in water can reduce the autoimmune response by changing how the spleen interacts with mesothelial cells. The desired result is promising for those afflicted with autoimmune disease: less inflammation in the body.
Trending this week: interest in sleep medication side effects. Ambien, approved in 1992, is part of the class of insomnia drugs called Hnon-benzodiazepines," which are DEA Schedule IV drugs and act on the body in a similar way to benzodiazepines (which are usually used as tranquilizers or for anxiety).
Recent Consumer Reports investigation finds wide disparity in Rx Prices
(May 27, 2018)
Five years later, another Consumer Reports secret shopper investigation reveals wide disparity in Rx prices among pharmacies. With more people having insurance plans with very high deductibles or poor drug coverage, more patients are paying for drugs out-of-pocket, and so they need to be cost-conscious about where they shop. Based on Consumer Reports' latest survey of drug prices, where you shop can make a big difference in your wallet. In fact, even for those with insurance co-pays, simply paying for the drug out-of-pocket could be cheaper than the co-pay itself.
Lawmakers continue to investigate pharmaceutical price increases
(April 29, 2018)
On March 26, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill released a
report from the U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental
Affairs Committee, Minority Office's investigation into pharmaceutical price increases. The 12-page report identifies the 20 most-prescribed drugs for seniors in 2017 and compares price changes of those drugs for five years, between 2012 and 2017.
Drugs for treating migraine headaches perform well
(April 8, 2018)
For the "migraine headaches" drug treatment category on AskaPatient, patients are satisfied overall with the treatment options. For the 19 drugs listed in this category, the overall average satisfaction score (combined) is 3.75, a rating corresponding to "satisfied."
Generic Drug Price Fixing Scheme: Case Grows as 47 States and the DOJ Widen Their Investigation
(March 11, 2018; updated November 15, 2018; updated May 24, 2020)
The Department of Justice along with the attorneys general from 47 states (including the District of Columbia) are accusing at least 18 generic drug companies of conspiracy, collusion, and illegal agreements that have amounted to schemes to fix prices and assign market share.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. According to a study by the National Eye Institute, "the leading cause of blindness among white persons was age-related macular degeneration (54.4% of the cases), while among black persons, cataract and glaucoma accounted for more than 60% of blindness."
The most common kind of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a disease of the joints causing stiffness, pain, and reduced movement. It can occur in the hands, shoulders, spine, knees, hips, and arms. While typically occurring in middle age or later, sports injuries or other factors causing repetitive stress on the joints (e.g. being overweight) can cause it to occur at earlier ages. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), osteoarthritis affects around 23% of adults in the U.S.
Overactive bladder (OAB): medication treatments for women and men
(February 18, 2018)
The most common type of incontinence in men and women is stress incontinence, which is defined as "involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder accompanying physical activity which places increased pressure on the abdomen." Examples of activities that trigger it include coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. Treatment usually involves exercise and diet modifications. As a last resort, surgery options are available.
Flu advice and more on the health effects of cell phone radiation study
(February 11, 2018)
How long is someone contagious after catching the flu?
Also, the implications of the NIH's National Toxicology Program
cell phone radiation and cancer study; it used data from more than
six years ago when cell phone EMF was at a lower frequency.
Scary side effects: nightmares and hallucinations in children taking Tamiflu
(January 28, 2018)
With the widespread outbreak of flu (including H3N2 and Influenza B) affecting the entire U.S. right now, it is no surprise that number of prescriptions written for antiviral drug Tamiflu is up by more than 600% compared with the same time last year (according to GoodRx.com assessment). In addition to news reports about children dying from the flu, there are also reports about kids and adolescents having neuropsychiatric reactions (like hallucinations, nightmares, and behavior problems) from taking Tamiflu. In early 2008, the FDA issued a warning to health care providers about neuropsychiatric events associated with Tamiflu: symptoms such as hallucinations, delirium and abnormal behavior leading to injury.
New drugs approved in 2017 for serious central nervous system diseases
(January 14, 2018)
While no cures have yet been found for the following four devastating neurological diseases, in 2017 each of them received an approval for a new treatment option. Costs, as expected, are very high, as are risks of side effects. The diseases (Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington's, and ALS) are listed in descending order of prevalence in the U.S.
Notable new drugs approved in 2017 for rare diseases have high price tags but great potential
(January 7, 2018)
The FDA approved 46 new chemical drugs and three important biological drugs in 2017 after only approving 22 chemical drugs in 2016. The four drugs below were fast-tracked for approval under "priority review" status and also represent "first-in-class" innovation for the drug type. The first two are for extremely rare diseases that afflict children and received rare FDA pediatric disease priority review. The second two treat rare forms of leukemia, including a break-through gene therapy (Kymriah) that is only approved for use in children and young adults up to age 25.