Although Arnold Knutsen and I "met" virtually five years ago, we only first spoke on the phone recently when he called to share his story. He's the eldest member of the online benzodiazepine support group we cohabitate. His posts in the group always reeked of desperation, and there was a palpable sense of urgency to his pursuit of a cure for his situation. It was clear he ...

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It happens all too often. You have not been taking good care of yourself. You don’t eat, you sleep poorly, and you neglect your medical health. Over months or sometimes years, you begin to isolate yourself from your friends and family. You can’t seem to hold a job. You lose interest in once pleasurable activities. Your thinking becomes odd, your thoughts distorted and fragmented and strange. No one knows about that ...

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Some drugs are used for indications beyond their original FDA approved ones that make complete sense. I mean, if old seizure medications help nerve pain, it might be reasonable to try new ones for the same purpose if everything else fails. Sometimes the broader use of a medication leads to additional FDA approved indications. One good example is bupropion, Wellbutrin, for smoking cessation. It even got a new name for that indication, Zyban, ...

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As the U.S. endures its largest measles outbreak in 25 years -- one that’s almost certainly going to get worse before it gets better -- we’re getting a lot of calls and questions at my office. What’s measles, what’s the best way to prevent it, when should the vaccine be given to adults and children? The measles vaccine is given as “MMR,” which teaches the immune system to fight off measles, ...

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“Complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) is a category that includes all the methods of physical or mental healing that do not fall under the umbrella of western medicine. Examples include comprehensive healing traditions from other cultures, such as Chinese or Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine; herbal remedies; and a wide variety of mind-body treatments, such as meditation and yoga. CAM treatments are popular everywhere, including here in the U.S. ...

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The HPV vaccine saves lives. It does so by reducing a person’s chance of being infected by the human papilloma virus, a virus that causes a whole range of cancers including, most importantly, cervical cancer.  Vaccinate your teenage daughter against HPV, and you will increase the chance she will live to old age. Simple as that. Yet currently, the majority of American teenagers, boys and girls, are reaching adulthood without the full ...

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STAT_LogoNearly half a million individuals with opioid use disorders are hospitalized each year in the United States. While they are in the hospital, medical providers often treat complications of this disorder, such as bloodstream infections, but rarely directly address their addiction. That’s like pumping up a flat tire without ever looking for the nail that caused ...

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With the recent FDA approval, Zolgensma became the world’s most expensive medication. Priced at $2.125 million per patient, the one-dose gene therapy is a potential life-saver for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Now, the treatment is at the center of an intensifying debate over the rising price of medications.

Industry watchdogs are outraged. They say Zolgensma is merely the latest example ...

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Eli Lilly and Co. recently announced with some fanfare that it was manufacturing a generic version of its own best-selling insulin brand, Humalog, which it would sell for half off — $137.35 versus about $275.

David Ricks, the chief executive of Lilly, said the company was making this seemingly beneficent gesture because “many patients are struggling to afford their insulin.”

But they’re struggling, in large part, ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 35-year-old woman is evaluated for constipation. She reports passage of hard stool every 3 to 4 days and associated bloating. Her symptoms have been present for more than 10 years and have progressed gradually. Trials of over-the-counter fiber supplementation and polyethylene glycol worsened the bloating, prompting discontinuation. Senna ...

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