The United States of America is addicted to narcotics.  I do not mean the millions of individuals who are hooked.  I mean the whole nation is jonesing for the stuff.  I also do not mean the junk that slips into our nation in coffee cans or across midnight borders.  I mean the billions of pills pouring off assembly lines.  I could blame pharma or the FDA, but the truth is ...

Read more...

I was recently on the Katie Couric Show to discuss integrative medicine. Somewhat ironically, I returned from Manhattan that same day to a waiting email from a colleague, forwarding me a rather excoriating critique of integrative medicine and asking me for my opinion. The juxtaposition, it turns out, was something other than happenstance. The Cleveland Clinic has recently introduced the use of herbal medicines as an option for its patients, generating considerable media ...

Read more...

I give what could be lethal injections for a living. That’s right. Nearly every day I give someone an injection of midazolam, vecuronium, and an IV solution containing potassium chloride–the three drugs in the “cocktail” that was supposed to kill convicted murderer Clayton Lockett quickly and humanely in Oklahoma. Here’s the difference between an executioner and me. I use those medications as they are intended to be used, giving anesthesia to my ...

Read more...

I get asked a lot about essential oils.  I answer very little. Why? The answer is simply that we don’t know much about how or if they work.  Except from stories about how they have helped certain people in certain situations, no one has done a large studies to truly evaluate their effectiveness or safety. The main explanation for why they are used is that people (parents) are simply looking for something that’s an alternative to ...

Read more...

It is noteworthy how certain vital and effective generic drugs for common diseases have become exorbitantly expensive. We are use to new pharmaceutical brands costing a small fortune. But generics, one of which goes back to use in Egyptian times? Really? Allopurinol and asthma inhalers that are cheap but effective medications have become unaffordable to those that need it the most: Simply stated, those that can't breathe and those that ...

Read more...

In November of last year the American Heart Association released to recommendations on who should be taking statins (drugs like Lipitor/atorvastatin), the most common medicines we use to control cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are associated with higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, and taking statins, which lower cholesterol, can reduce those risks. The drugs have pretty significant side effects, though, and not everyone with high cholesterol or ...

Read more...

Every year, it is estimated that more than 126,000 hospitalizations and nearly 17,000 deaths in this country are linked to overuse of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine ingredients -- specifically acetaminophen and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In my own practice, it’s not uncommon to find patients who are taking two to four times the recommended doses. This can have tragic results. Recently, we had a young woman with liver failure. She had been ...

Read more...

The debate over e-cigarettes has been heating up. Are the smokeless, battery-powered, nicotine-dispensing devices a gateway to smoking for young people or a helpful way for smokers to quit? Public health experts can be found on both sides of the debate. An article in the New York Times cited two leading figures, Dr. Michael Siegler from Boston University and Dr. Stanton A. Glantz from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. ...

Read more...

I’ve been involved in several boisterous Twitter debates about vaccines, at least to the extent that one can debate using snippets of 140 characters or less. I’ve also been a "super moderator" at a very large Internet message board for many years and have seen my share of passionate vaccine debates there. I’ve been a pediatrician for over 30 years and trained in the subspecialty of pediatric infectious diseases before ...

Read more...

The statistics tell us that our children are getting sicker and sicker. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has more than tripled in just 20 years: It is now diagnosed in 11 percent of all kids, and in an astounding 20 percent of teenage boys. Autism is also on a rapid rise.  The latest reported rate suggests that it occurs in one in every 68 kids -- 20 years ago it ...

Read more...

Most Popular