When PDL BioPharma’s $40 million blood-pressure medicine faced the threat of a generic rival this year, the company pulled out a little-known strategy that critics say helps keep drugs expensive and competition weak. It launched its own generic version of Tekturna, a pill taken daily by thousands. PDL’s “authorized” copycat hit the market in March, stealing momentum from the new rival and protecting sales even though Tekturna’s patent ran out 
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An excerpt from Understanding Medicines for Anxiety. In addition to medicines with FDA indications for anxiety, such as benzodiazepines and some antidepressants, a number of drugs are frequently prescribed off-label. Among these are gabapentin and the related compound pregabalin, collectively known as gabapentinoids.  Their popularity is remarkable: gabapentin has been ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 45-year-old woman is evaluated for management of type 2 diabetes mellitus diagnosed 3 months ago. She was asymptomatic at diagnosis with an initial HbA1c value of 9.7%. Her initial interventions included lifestyle modifications with weight loss and metformin. She is motivated to continue to lose weight. Medical history ...

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An excerpt from Understanding Medicines for Anxiety. Although the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are among the most widely prescribed medicines for depression, they also have a useful role to play in treating anxiety disorders. In this article, we will look at their benefits and limitations when used in this ...

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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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