The evening news is filled with fatal car crashes and shootings. But drug overdoses kill nearly 40,000 people a year, accounting for more deaths than vehicular accidents or homicides. Drug overdoses are on the rise in America, fueled largely by prescription meds. Reversing the course of this epidemic will require some dramatic changes. The facts Drug overdose rates climbed more than 100 percent between 1990 and 2012. But what most people don’t recognize ...

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Opioids are a family of pain medications chemically related to opium and heroin. They include morphine, fentanyl, codeine, hydromorphone and others. Opioids have unique properties that make them both indispensable for pain management and extremely dangerous. Unlike virtually any other family of medications, opioids have no maximum effective dose. If any dose, no matter how high, is ineffective at controlling pain, a higher dose can give more pain relief. Most other ...

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On February 18, 2014 the Food and Drug Administration indicated their consideration to allow pharmaceutical companies to shorten the list of possible side effects seen by millions everyday and night in pharmaceutical ads and commercials. In recent years, citizens -- patients and consumers -- have been bombarded with numerous and lengthy televised commercials in which pharmaceutical companies push their medicinal wares. It's called "direct-to-consumer" advertising (DTC). Such DTC efforts work for detergents, ...

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Despite representing only 4% of the world’s population, the United States accounted for almost 35% ($326 billion) of the global market for pharmaceutical drugs in 2012. Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry’s business practices, considerable marketing budgets, and substantial profits are hotly debated as part of virtually every health policy discussion. But before addressing the possibility of transcendent evil in that industry, we should pose a more mundane yet critical question: ...

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Now that medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts and licenses have been awarded for the first twenty dispensaries across the state, you'd guess that my practice is busily preparing to meet the demands of patients seeking marijuana prescriptions for several debilitating conditions including chemotherapy-related nausea and AIDS-related weight loss. You'd guess wrong. Since Massachusetts voters approved legalization of marijuana in 2012 I've received no special training (required for physicians to certify patients as ...

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The death penalty has been in the news lately, what with a "botched" execution in Ohio, using a 2 drug method that Louisiana has also recently adopted for it's administration of the death penalty. These changes come on the heels of a new tactic by death penalty opponents: getting European countries to ban their pharmaceutical manufacturers from exporting drugs that may be used to execute people.  These bans were partially responsible for ...

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At least 12 college students have been diagnosed with Meningitis type B (MenB) this year, and cases like this may spread to other campuses unless the Food and Drug Administration intervenes.  While people of any age can contract the infection that affects the brain and spinal cord, children and people over 60 are more likely to contract the infection.  So, too, are college students because of their close contacts in dormitories and ...

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Kayla wrote in:

Hello!  I am curious what you think about essential oils.  They have recently become incredibly popular in my community, but I am pretty skeptical because so much of the enthusiasm is coming from those who have signed up as ‘distributors’ with doTerra or Young Living (2 essential oil multi-level marketing companies.). The biggest concern I have is that these companies (and all these new distributors) recommend taking many ...

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“I used to be strong, I wrestled the bull,” Sumner Ball said, “but now I can’t even wrestle the rooster.” On the far side of eighty-years-old, he looked lively and trim, and his weathered face hinted at a smile as his blue eyes peered straight into mine. “I think these cholesterol pills are hurting my muscles,” he declared. “I don’t think they’re good for me.” “Is it your back?” I scanned through his last ...

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Drug shortages can jeopardize patient safety A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. When doctors don’t have access to medications that are necessary to successfully perform procedures, patient safety is at risk. Over the past several years, drug shortages have significantly impacted the health care industry, making it not only difficult for physicians to do their jobs, but for ...

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