Generic Drugs and Global Deception

Generic drugs are supposed to be equivalent to brand-name drugs, but all too often they are defective. Katherine Eban’s book shows that corrupt overseas manufacturers have committed intentional global fraud. The system is broken and the FDA lacks the power to correct abuses. I always thought generic drugs were the best choice. They were tested

Opioids: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Opium, a dried latex collected from the opium poppy, was the original “wonder drug.” It effectively relieved pain and had other medicinal effects – and incidentally produced euphoria and addiction. There is archaeological evidence that it was used as early as 5700 BC. It was the active ingredient in laudanum and paregoric. For decades, these

Ebola: Science Is Making Progress

Good news! Research on Ebola has identified a 100% effective vaccine and medications that produce a 90% survival rate. The Ebola virus There have been 24 outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in Africa since 1976. It spreads through contact with infected body fluids. Case fatality rates have ranged from

New Drug Is Effective for Post-Partum Depression, But There Are Drawbacks

A new drug promises to cure postpartum depression, but it is restricted and patients must be hospitalized for a 60-hour IV infusion. There’s a new cure for postpartum depression; but don’t celebrate just yet. It’s far from a panacea, and it’s not for everyone. The devil is in the details. Post-partum depression (PPD) affects about

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Rituximab

IV rituximab has been used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. A large, well-designed new study shows it doesn’t work. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS), is a poorly-understood condition characterized by profound fatigue and a constellation of other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria, cause, pathophysiology, and treatment have been embroiled

Just How Addictive Are Opioids?

There is an opioid epidemic, with increasing overdose deaths from both prescription drugs and illegal drugs. Just how addictive are opioids? It appears they are safe when used appropriately, but there is a high risk of abuse, and they are deadly when misused, especially OxyContin.  We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Prescription

Osteopenia: When Does Decreased Bone Density Become a Disease Requiring Treatment?

Osteoporosis is routinely treated with bisphosphonates to prevent fractures. A new study suggests that osteopenia should be treated too. But questions remain.  Bisphosphonate drugs have been shown to increase bone density and prevent fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (remember Sally Field in those ads for Boniva?) but what about women with milder decreases in

Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent

Starting with the Terrible Twos, when toddlers hear the word “No” on a regular basis, people don’t like to be told they can’t do something. They often believe government regulations interfere with their rights. The government requires vaccinations for school attendance; parents complain that they should be able to make their own decisions about whether

More About Flu Vaccine

More evidence that flu shots work, that they are safe during pregnancy, and that they don’t cause autism. Last week I wrote about influenza vaccines. I provided a link to a site summarizing the evidence that flu shots are effective and safe. Nevertheless, one reader commented “The flu vaccine does not work,” citing a Cochrane

Flu Shots: It’s That Time Again

Flu shots are safe and effective. They not only protect the recipient but others in the community who are more vulnerable. Get your flu shot! It’s that time of the year again: time to get our flu shots. Flu shots are undeniably safe and effective, although they are not as effective as we might wish.