"We believe that the current entrepreneurial development model for antibiotics is broken and needs to be fundamentally transformed." This provocative opinion is from a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. The introduction of penicillin, the first antibiotic miracle drug, led to an 80 percent reduction in mortality from infectious diseases. Other antibiotics quickly followed, reducing death rates even further. Over the past several decades, however, the discovery ...

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As an academic psychiatrist who treats people with anxiety and trauma, I often hear questions about a specific class of medications called benzodiazepines. I also often receive referrals for patients who are on these medications and reluctant to discontinue them. There has been increasing attention into long-term risks of benzodiazepines, including potential for addiction, overdose, and cognitive impairment. The overdose death rate among patients receiving ...

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Along with a steeper financial burden and an increasingly competitive academic environment, this year’s incoming freshman university class will likely be confronted with the pressure to take a little pill that some popular culture references say will make you "awesome at everything." Or they may eschew the temptation and rely on the standard practice of study, sleep, repeat. Welcome to #GenerationAdderall, the ...

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There was a time when drug reps fed us lunch and gave us an endless supply of pens, pads, and even umbrellas all emblazoned with their newest drugs. They explained why their drug was better than their competitors’ and what it would offer to our patients. I still have my Zantac umbrella in the trunk of my car for rain emergencies. Although it was somewhat annoying, it did keep us somewhat ...

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The rise in cases of otherwise healthy young adults who have been hospitalized or even died from vaping-associated lung injury is alarming. Many people don’t know what is contained in these vaping devices, what the reported health effects actually mean, and, most importantly, why all of this developed so quickly, considering that e-cigarettes have only been popular for fewer than ten years. Vaping describes the process of inhaling aerosols ...

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In previous posts, we have reviewed the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), as well as the off-label prescribing of gabapentinoids, for treating anxiety disorders. Anxiety is such a ubiquitous problem that it is not surprising that many other compounds have been used off-label as well.  In this posting, we will review some of the common ones: propranolol, mirtazapine, and quetiapine.  ...

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One of the most galling aspects of vaping is not that the industry has targeted minors with candy-like flavors and names. Nor is it that vaping fluid often contains nicotine or THC (one of the principal psychoactive ingredients in cannabis). The most galling thing about vaping is that the industry has managed to convince 3.6 million middle and high school students that vaping is harmless. Recently, the CDC ...

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She had been buying face cream through a friend of a friend for 12 years. This time, it was Pond’s “Rejuveness,” a version of the company’s anti-wrinkle cream that is made and sold in Mexico. But someone in the Mexican state of Jalisco laced the cream with a toxic skin-lightening compound, and it had a devastating effect on the 47-year-old Sacramento resident. She showed up at the emergency room Read more...

Lori Pinkley, a 50-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., has struggled with puzzling chronic pain since she was 15. She has had countless disappointing visits with doctors. Some said they couldn’t help her. Others diagnosed her with everything from fibromyalgia to lipedema to the rare Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Pinkley has taken opioids a few times after surgeries, but they never helped her underlying pain, she said. “I hate ...

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“6 in 10 Kids Got Opioids After Tonsil Surgery, Study Says.” So screams the headline from The Daily Beast. "In the midst of the opioid crisis, doctors sent many kids home with oxycodone and hydrocodone," it goes on to say. Another example of scaremongering and sensational headlines, or is this something we should still be concerned about? Well, according to the actual article, there was no greater risks of complications ...

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