The other day, I happened to be talking to Mark, a sales representative from one of the pharmaceutical companies.  He’s the type of rep that many doctors don’t mind seeing – someone who is careful of your time, is happy to hunt down the answers to questions that come up on the medications his company makes, and brings by useful information about new drugs that seem to be practice-appropriate.  He ...

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Antibodies are complex proteins created by immune cells that are targeted to very specific parts of other large and complex molecules called antigens. Much smaller molecules like nicotine, called haptens,  do not normally induce any significant immunologic response so researchers chemically bound several nicotine molecules to a large protein to form an adduct. This combined molecule does induce an immune response, i.e, causes  immune cells to produce antibodies targeted to the ...

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An excerpt from White Coat, Black Hat. by Carl Elliott Many of us have a relatively simple, commonsense view of the way that drug development and marketing work. People get diseases; scientists develop drugs to treat those diseases; and marketers sell the drugs by showing that the drugs work better than their competitors. Sometimes, however, this pattern works in reverse. Drug company scientists develop a drug ...

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An excerpt from Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit. by Robert Goldberg, PhD From the beginning, there were two problems with the connection between thimerosal and autism. The first problem with was that thimerosal, while about half mercury, contains ethyl mercury, for which there were no exposure guidelines. So the scientists used the ones for methyl mercury. However, the ethyl mercury ...

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Many people are already aware that marijuana is now legal in some states in the US with a medical prescription. What many people may not realize is that cocaine is also used in medical care, especially in the ENT world. Cocaine is one of the most potent anesthetic and vasoconstrictor. These two characteristics make it an ideal medication for use during sinus surgery as well as any nasal procedure where bleeding and ...

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Hold onto your hats. I am about to enter dangerous territory. I am about to suggest maybe doctors should profit from dispensing medications from their office to offset declining reimbursements and rising expenses by using prescriptions as a source of ancillary revenues. Why dangerous?  For a number of reasons. One, physicians still grapple with the perception that it is improper for a physician to make money from ...

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In 2003 in the BMJ, Wald and Law and a supporting editorial by then editor Richard Smith, proposed that 80% of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented by widespread use of a six drug polypill. The six ingredients were a statin, three low-dose antihypertensives (a thiazide, an ACE inhibitor and a beta blocker), folic acid, and aspirin. Although there was a lot of derision at that time and there has ...

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Most parents and all pediatricians are aware of the 1998 study published in The Lancet by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that mentioned a causal link between measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and the increased incidence of childhood  autism.  It shook the medical community and created an international movement of parents questioning the extensive combination of immunizations that are given to children.  Could these immunizations be the cause of the increase in ...

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by John Horton When the FDA was created in 1906, not even Nostradamus could have predicted the medical advances that would come to extend and improve our lives: childhood vaccines, insulin, and the use of lasers in surgery were all unimaginable a century ago. While many future advances are beyond our imaginations’ reach, it seems certain that the advances in biologics -- medicines made from living organisms -- will stand out as ...

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There is a lot of press about a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine that shows that adding tiotropium (Spiriva) to an inhaled steroid might have benefit in asthmatic patients. This study is creating a lot of buzz due to recent concerns of ICS/LABA safety and might prompt doctors and patients to start switching (some already have before this study came out). However, this ...

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