7 ways patients can help reduce medication errors I just got off the phone with a very upset patient who had just discovered that her pharmacy had been giving her the wrong medication for the past 5 months, substituting a similarly spelled antibiotic for her rheumatoid arthritis med. She was tipped off when she realized how bad she had been feeling of late and decided to check the expiration ...

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Our nation is highly polarized today, and often bitterly so.  Democrats rail against the GOP.  Pro-lifers face down pro-choicers.  Fox News disses MSNBC.  Isolationists push back against expansionists.  Traditionalists disdain the politically correct.  Free marketers duel against government advocates.  Carnivores deride the gluten-free crowd.  Martin Bashir trashes Sarah Palin, two proxies in a culture war. There's a philosophical divide among physicians also.  Would you prefer a liberal physician or a conservative ...

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The scientific literature is replete with the failure of vitamins to support diseases.  Yet, the industry is booming and people's cabinets are filled with potentially harmful, poorly studied colorful bottles that make unsubstantiated magical claims. This year, we witnessed Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor who frequently extols weight loss products, supplements and vitamins on his syndicated television show come under fire from regulatory committees for false claims and poor outcomes. The ...

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The State of Mississippi passed a law in 2010 which banned sales of pseudoephedrine without a prescription. The law has resulted in a dramatic improvement in which 698 total methamphetamine (meth) incidents with 314 operational labs were identified in 2010 while there were 119 incidents with only 8 labs in 2013. Other states such as Tennessee are considering similar laws and Oregon already has a law in place as restrictive ...

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There’s no mystery about why the July 23 execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona took so long. From the anesthesiologist’s point of view, it doesn’t seem surprising that the combination of drugs used -- midazolam and hydromorphone -- might take nearly two hours to cause death. Here’s why. The convicted murderer didn’t receive one component of the usual mixture of drugs used in lethal injection: a muscle relaxant. The traditional cocktail includes ...

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We rely on the FDA to protect public health “by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security” of medical drugs and devices. The FDA takes its marching orders from Congress via the legislative process. One such law is the Compounding Quality Act of 2013, passed in response to a series of fatal infections due to improper compounding pharmacy processes. While such oversight is important and well meaning, the unintended consequences may be ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, July 29, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Smoking Worsens Psoriatic Arthritis. Patients with psoriatic arthritis who smoke have worse patient-reported disease features at baseline and don't respond as well as nonsmokers to anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) treatment.
  2. Heart Defects Still Often Found Late. Prenatal diagnosis of critical heart defects has increased, but more than one in ...

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As a family physician whose practice deals exclusively in the treatment of obesity, it strikes me as remarkable how little we understand about the disease, which is Canada’s second-leading cause of preventable death. In every region of the developed world, obesity doubled in the twenty years between 1988 and 2008, according to World Health Organization, which now count more than a half-billion of Earth’s population as obese. The Public Health Agency ...

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My heart sinks each time I see the subject line in this too common email I receive in my medical practice: “Sad news: Matthew was fine when he went to bed last night but his mother found him dead in bed this morning.” Matthew (not his real name) had epilepsy with seizures that persisted despite use of currently available antiseizure medications. We started Matthew’s evaluation when the latest antiseizure medication had been ...

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In 2011, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg remarked upon a “new direction in the treatment of hepatitis C,” as a success rate of approximately 70% marked a significant improvement over the previous rate of approximately 50%, and suggested a cure was in sight. Today, that cure has been realized as Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), a novel agent, has shown a success rate of 95% in clinical trials.  Sofosbuvir comes without the ...

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