Published earlier this year in the journal Neurology – not typically on my radar screen — is this remarkable study comparing pregabalin to placebo for HIV-related distal sensory peripheral neuropathy. Here are the results:

At endpoint, pregabalin and placebo showed substantial reductions in mean Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) score from baseline: -2.88 vs -2.63, p = 0.3941 ... ... Individuals with HIV-associated neuropathy achieved NPRS treatment effect size similar to those in ...

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by Nancy Walsh The recent report of the deliberate infection of Guatemalans with syphilis in the 1940s to see if penicillin could cure and prevent transmission of the disease was a reminder of just how short the time has been since most infectious diseases were untreatable. Penicillin -- discovered by Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming in 1928 but not available for clinical use until the 1940s -- ...

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An excerpt from White Coat, Black Hat. by Carl Elliott [Michael] Oldani worked as a rep in the late 1980s and the 1990s, a period when the drug industry was undergoing key transformations. Its ethos was changing from that of the country-club establishment to the aggressive, new-money entrepreneur. Impressed by the success of AIDS activists in pushing for faster drug approvals, the drug industry increased pressure ...

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A recent study published in the journal Sleep Medicine revealed that most child psychiatrists prescribe medication for sleep at least once a month, despite the fact that no sleep medications are approved for use in children. The study was funded by Sanofi-Aventis, makers of Ambien. Managing sleep is one of the greatest challenges of being a parent. It represents the first major separation and can be fraught with complex ...

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An excerpt from Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity. by Eric Chivian, MD and Aaron Bernstein, MD Ethnobotany, that is, the scientific study of the use of plants by native cultures, including their use as medicines, can be said to have begun with Carl Linnaeus, who in the 1730s published Flora Lapponica, his detailed account of plant use by the Lappish, or Sami, people, ...

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Side effects.  Every medication has them.  Some are mild, some are annoying, and some are downright dangerous. When doctors write a prescription, they mention that some people experience side effects, and if certain bizarre things happen, the patient should phone the doctor. How do we keep track? If you get one antibiotic to take for two weeks, it isn’t so hard.  First, because it’s for a short time period, and also because it’s ...

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Here's the scenario: on the 2nd of the month, a patient with diabetes on metformin and high blood pressure on benazepril sees her family physician for a routine follow up. The patient's blood pressure is elevated and the decision is made to add carvedilol to help get the blood pressure to goal. The patient's metformin and benazepril "drop" (are renewed) at the pharmacy on the 18th of every month, a date ...

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Though I am not going to say that the New York Times lied, they either purposely and grossly misrepresented the truth or did a horrible job of reporting. In their article, "Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data, Files Indicate" the Times states that Avandia maker GSK "secretly began" a study which "provided clear signs that it (Avandia) was riskier to the heart." In fact, the study in question, called study ...

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Part 2 of a series.  Please read part 1, DTC advertising, and its history with the FDA. In the first installment, we looked at the history behind consumer advertising of prescription drugs. We also explored the concept of commercial free speech and why this form of advertising is legal. To fully appreciate the controversy about direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, we must now examine the commercial effects of these ad campaigns. ...

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How are we going to solve the drug problem? The answer is we aren't. Psychoactive drug abuse is as old as recorded history. As long as drugs are available and humans are frail, there will be drug abuse and drug abusers. The main point for medicine is to follow Hippocrates. First, do no harm. So many of our drug laws, intended to do good, actually do more harm than good. Witness marijuana. Will California ...

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