Bacteria are rapidly becoming resistant in our antibiotic-loving society. This statement is a fact. We are facing a threat not only to our country, but to the world. I have a proposal to make: over-the-counter antibiotics. (Insert tongue-in-cheek here.) Will this help us deal with the falsely popular notion that antibiotics are a cure-all? I don’t know, but here’s something I do. I've had patients storm out because I've said no, and I ...

Read more...

Last week, when I stubbed my toe on our family room coffee table, a throbbing pain ensued. Over the next two to three days, as the bruise turned pink and then purple, the pain persisted. During the same time, I had a case of the blues. I am overstressed at work with several staff on vacation, my college-age children had come home and then left to start their internships, and my ...

Read more...

She drew the life-saving medication into the syringe, just 10 cc of colorless fluid for the everyday low price of, gulp, several hundred dollars. Was that a new chemotherapy, specially designed for her tumor? Was it a “specialty drug,” to treat her multiple sclerosis? Nope. It was insulin, a drug that has been around for decades. The price of many drugs has been on the rise of late, not just new ...

Read more...

The news media is hooked on the opioid prescription drug abuse story. Every day, it seems, I read a new announcement:

  • The CDC has issued guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
  • The FDA has announced immediate-release pain medications will need to have “black box” warning labels about the risk of addiction, abuse, overdosing and even death.
  • The White House has requested $1.1 billion in its 2017 budget to combat ...

    Read more...

Heroin-Sports-Injury Let's get this straight. I am a doctor, but I didn't cause the opioid epidemic. That is not exactly what you hear in the media these days. After all, doctors are the ones with the prescription pads, and someone must be to blame. The truth is that death from opioid abuse is on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ...

Read more...

When I meet strangers, and they ask what I do for a living, the conversation tends to go something like this: I tell them I’m a physician. They ask what type. I say that I am a general internist, but I focus mainly on addiction…addiction to prescription opioids (painkillers) and heroin. Invariably, people will say something like, “This has become such a big problem.” I agree, but then they will ...

Read more...

I recently had an enormous kidney stone. Well OK, it seemed enormous to me. But in terms of kidney stones, it was reasonably large; 9 mm, in fact. Large enough that I had to have lithotripsy (the use of sound waves to break up the stone) performed by my friend and most excellent urologist, Dr. Robert McAlpine in Seneca, SC. As uncomfortable as the whole experience was (and it wasn’t my ...

Read more...

Of life’s two certainties, death, and cataracts, it seems statins defer one and prompt the other, although not necessarily in the same person. If you blindly love life, you may be blinded by your love for life. In the HOPE-3 trial, ethnically diverse people without cardiovascular disease were randomized to 10 mg of rosuvastatin daily and placebo. The treatment group had fewer primary events: death from myocardial infarction (MI), non-fatal ...

Read more...

Opioids, also known as opiates, serve as important prescription medications in medical practice. But within the last decade or so, because of their overuse, misuse and abuse, they’ve also emerged as a leading cause of addiction and death. Sadly and surprisingly, those most instrumental in creating this epidemic -- however unwittingly -- are physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. The question is, how could this crisis have happened? What responsibility should physicians take, ...

Read more...

“Does anyone have thoughts about Mr. Jones?” I ask around the table. My primary care team sees veterans who were recently homeless. Many have been severely injured, and half have chronic pain. We have wise nurses, a committed social worker, and something else: time to focus on a vulnerable group. And here we are today we have Mr. Jones. A bit about his case. He has a history of shoulder pain dating ...

Read more...

68 Pages

Most Popular