There was good news recently in the atrial fibrillation world. Though no surprise to heart rhythm doctors, an FDA investigation reveals no evidence that new cases of bleeding are any higher with dabigatran (Pradaxa) than with warfarin. The full statement from the FDA is here. The assessment was undertaken because after approval of the novel anticoagulant (blood-thinner) a large number of adverse events were reported to the FDA. Despite conscientious medical ...

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In the ongoing battle to gain from our society’s scientific illiteracy, Dr. Oz has nocked another arrow. This time, he as the cure for all fatigue. I hope he’s got this right because this is one of the most common and most difficult problems to treat. Fatigue is a tough one. Everyone has experienced fatigue at some point, and as a physician, part of my job is to figure ...

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Generic formulations of drugs using active pharmaceutical ingredients are an immense cost savings to patients and healthcare systems. On the other hand, questions remain as to whether generics are truly equivalent to brand name pharmaceuticals. Are the pharmacokinetics the same? Are they bioequivalent? While this is a difficult topic to research clinically, I would argue that the vast majority of brand name and corresponding generic drugs are indeed equivalent (though there ...

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Anyone working in the pharma industry will know it has been a tough few years. Dwindling innovation in the drug pipelines, the impact of global economic pressures and an increasing global focus on healthcare cost containment have all combined in a perfect storm for the sector often regarded as recession-proof. As the backdrop to all this, social media has rapidly been finding its place as a powerful media in sectors selling ...

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“All psychiatrists do is push drugs!” I have heard this repeatedly, from students, wary patients, even family members who don’t pick up on a carefully worded hint that they just might benefit from getting help.  For some reason, no one makes the same complaint about infectious disease specialists, or oncologists, though I wager that the success rates of our drug treatments are roughly equivalent. As a psychiatrist, I try to treat people ...

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Linzess is a new drug that received FDA approval by Forest Laboratories for use in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation and in chronic idiopathic constipation.  It got my attention because of its biochemistry. Learning about the mechanism of action of new drugs like Linzess reminds me how much more is understood about the molecular biological level of physiologic function of the human body than when I was in med school.  Linzess ...

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I have been beating the population health drum for more than 20 years, and I think the rest of the band is finally catching on to the rhythm. From healthcare reform efforts at the very top of the heap to the healthcare industry to large and small communities, there is a heightened awareness that the physical and mental health of our diverse population is linked to our continued health and success ...

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The current fungal meningitis outbreak has put a spotlight on compounding pharmacies, and regulators and stakeholders say Congress needs to clarify exactly who should regulate these entities. The practice of compounding, which has been around for decades, was intended to give pharmacies the ability to produce a product under a doctor's orders when a particular drug wasn't available. ...

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There are interesting double standards that we apply to different fields of human endeavor. In sports the use of performance enhancing drugs is forbidden. Whilst that does not necessarily stop athletes using them at least it is not condoned.   Efforts are made to try and catch and sanction those who are found to be using such drugs. The rationale behind this is that sporting contests are meant to be about who ...

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You may have heard that veteran NBC News correspondent Tom Brokaw was hospitalized recently after he reported feeling lightheaded after making an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." He's fine. Brokaw tweeted, "All is well. Early a.m. I mistakenly took a half dose of Ambien and made less sense than usual." And that's what you've got to be careful not to do. Any time you get up in the wee hours of ...

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