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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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. To say prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest drug problems in the United States today is clearly an understatement. The Partnership at Drug-Free America cites every day more than 2,000 kids use a prescription drug to get high for the ...

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I got an unusual request last week.  I written a prescription of a generic medication (which has been generic for a couple of years) and the prescription was denied by the insurance carrier.  The reason for denial: I had to try a brand-name medication first. Stop.  Read that again.  They wouldn’t allow me to give a prescription for the (cheaper) generic drug because I had to try the brand-name medication first.  This ...

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I’ve always had a tough relationship with cigarettes and the people who love them. As a lung doctor I hate cigarettes, and I hate that patients I see everyday continue to use them. But I also understand that vilifying smokers seems to be in vogue right now. I figure that if someone does something that is not considered socially palatable, and that does them harm, even as they strive to ...

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With regard to antibiotics, physicians and the public have each been enablers of the other. Patients want them and we doctors supply them. There’s nothing evil about this arrangement. Antibiotics are one of medicine’s towering achievements and have saved millions of lives. Shouldn’t we prescribe them to patients who need them? Of course we should. But why do we prescribe them to patients who don’t? Before you race to the comment ...

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An investigative newspaper article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in cooperation with online periodical MedPage Today, chronicles the increased use of narcotics for chronic pain relief in the elderly. The article highlights how in 2009 the American Geriatrics Society put together a panel of geriatric pain specialists who published geriatric narcotic pain relief guidelines that have led to the dramatic increase in use of narcotics in the elderly. There is apparently ...

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As a geriatrician who believes strongly in prevention, my perspective is that the recent high volume of research on healthy aging, chronic disease and its association with vitamin D and calcium supplementation has done nothing but confuse the picture for us all. I have always been an advocate of healthy eating – a balanced diet that is prepared in a manner that retains and promotes the absorption of the foods ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 53-year-old woman is evaluated in the office for a 4-month history of tremor. The tremor affects both upper extremities and is present "most of the time." She has a 15-year history of type 2 diabetes mellitus; she also has a history of hypertension, gastroparesis, and chronic kidney disease. Medications are insulin glargine, insulin ...

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A law is a rule of conduct or action formally recognized as binding and enforced by a controlling authority. Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules governing that society. The purposes of punishment for crimes include: 1. Punishment will stop them from committing further crimes. 2. Punishment ...

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Physicians who liberally prescribe empiric antibiotics are often maligned as irresponsible or unthinking by condescending colleagues and policy wonks. But are these doctors actually courageous and prudent, saving countless thousands of lives every year by refusing to bend to misguided pressure from antibiotic-conserving paper-pushers? As antibiotic resistance has emerged, many hospitals have begun requiring physicians to provide a rationale for every antibiotic dose prescribed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) ...

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