by Crystal Phend Homocysteine-lowering supplements do not help prevent further cardiovascular events in heart attack survivors, a large randomized trial affirmed. The trial, which followed more than 12,000 heart attack survivors over nearly seven years, found that folic acid plus vitamin B12 effectively reduced homocysteine levels, but did not reduce major vascular events overall nor any other individual endpoint compared with placebo, reported Jane M. Armitage, BM BChBSc, MBBS, of the University ...

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I recently received a call from a mother that made me both want to cry and scream out in frustration. Several months ago I wrote a post entitled Drugs for Children May Silence Stories, in which I described a young boy who had suffered severe neglect as an infant. His adoptive parents had sought help from me when he was four, but when I recommended intervention for the whole family ...

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by James Baker, MD Clinical psychologist Irving Kirsch is selling a new book in which he argues that anti-depressants aren't much better than placebo.  He bases his claim on sophisticated statistical studies he has done that combine the results of antidepressant research trials from over the years. The scary part is that he had to use the freedom of information act to get a hold of some of the studies. His ...

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by Charles Bankhead Increased emphasis on conflicts of interest has yet to sway physicians' generally positive attitudes toward drug and device manufacturers' marketing activities, a survey of almost 600 attending physicians and trainees showed. More than 70% of respondents saw nothing inappropriate about attending sponsored lunches, and 25% had no problems with accepting large gifts from industry representatives, according to an article in the June issue of Archives of Surgery. Surgeons, trainees, and ...

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by Edison Wong, MD With the recent proposal to repeal the so-called Massachusetts “gift ban” (more appropriately referred to as the “interaction ban”), I asked myself who stands to gain the most from such bans? Is it the consumers or patients? Is it the physicians or their practices? Is it the federal or state governments? Nope. Sadly, it is the insurers who gain the most, at the expense of patients. The ...

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by Cole Petrochko The FDA warned consumers to be alert for websites selling a fake "generic" version of the flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which may be dangerous to patients allergic to penicillin. The Tamiflu fake does not contain the active ingredient of the drug it imitates but does contain cloxacillin, which can cause anaphylaxis in patients allergic to antibiotics in the same class as penicillin. The FDA uncovered the mimic through purchasing the ...

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by Michael Smith The number of emergency room visits for nonmedical use of prescription painkillers more than doubled between 2004 and 2008, according to a CDC estimate. The increase was part of a trend that saw emergency room visits for nonmedical use of all prescription and over-the-counter medications reach the same level as those for abuse of illicit drugs, the agency said in the June 18 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly ...

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by Emily P. Walker An advisory panel voted 20-12 to recommend that the FDA allow rosiglitazone (Avandia) to stay on the market, but most panelists want to see the controversial diabetes drug carry tougher warnings on its label. Wednesday's vote marks the second time an FDA advisory panel has essentially endorsed rosiglitazone. In 2007, a panel voted that while the drug appears to carry a ...

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by Crystal Phend Overdoses of the "club drug" ecstasy at all-night rave dance parties may be a rising but under-reported public health problem, the CDC said. What may be the first public health investigation into the epidemiology of ecstasy overdose revealed that 18 patients landed in hospital emergency departments for illness related to the hallucinogenic stimulant within 12 hours after a Los Angeles New Year's Eve rave. This cluster of events was accompanied ...

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by Crystal Phend and Emily Walker Despite hints that the FDA may be leaning toward pulling rosiglitazone (Avandia) from the market, it's going to be a tough decision for the advisory committee slated to begin meeting on Tuesday, and things could still go either way, leading endocrinologists predict. "I think the FDA advisory committee is going to struggle with this because none of the data is conclusive," ...

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