What if I told you that your adolescent child could contract a disease that can never be cured, but only maintained? That it would be a lifelong struggle that could change their personality, compromise their potential and values, destroy their relationships and have a long-term detrimental effect on their overall and mental health? That this disease can even be fatal, when ineffectively maintained? What if I told you that the ...

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Recently, I was at a health care facility in a semi-urban region, less than 100 miles from a major metro. It had a whiff of industry from good times that have long drifted by. I tried to locate a Starbucks. Google Maps spotted one and took me towards the local university campus. As I drove there, I noticed several pain management clinics advertising themselves in unusual ways for "relief." Once inside the ...

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An excerpt from Frankie: How One Woman Prevented a Pharmaceutical Disaster. Between September 1960 and November 1961, when the news broke around the world about thalidomide’s responsibility for the birth of deformed babies, Dr. Frances Kelsey -- Frankie -- of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Cincinnati drug company Merrell, that was desperate to launch its ten million thalidomide tablets ...

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I recently had a patient whose blood sugar was well controlled until he lost his health insurance. He purchased his diabetes pills because they’re cheap, but he couldn’t afford the insulin. His diabetes had been well controlled. Now, almost a year later, his hemoglobin A1C was 14, or double what it should be. The HbA1C measures sugar control over the last three months. The bee sting kit or EpiPen cost hike ...

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In recent years, it feels like we’ve been inundated by stories of greedy pharmaceutical companies jacking up the price of important generic medications. In 2015, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, recognized that no other generic companies were manufacturing Daraprim, a drug used to treat infections common among people with AIDS, from $13.50 a pill to $750, confident that no generic competitor was around to cut into his market 
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When I completed my residency training in 2017 I never imagined so much of my clinical efforts would be directed towards educating patients about controlled substances. As I stepped into clinical practice and took over patients who had long-term relationships with providers that had retired or moved to other positions I began to notice a preponderance of patients, some elderly, taking benzodiazepines daily, frequently at high doses. Often conditions other ...

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What is CBD? Cannabidiol or CBD for short is made from either the marijuana plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or hemp which contains little to any THC. “Hemp-derived” means that the CBD generally contains less than 0.3% THC while “marijuana-derived” contains higher amounts of THC. It is THC — and not CBD — is the primary psychoactive or intoxicating component of marijuana. CBD can also be manufactured synthetically. CBD is routinely sold ...

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On a daily basis, patients of mine come in for office visits complaining of wear and tear injuries, as well as aches and pains, and their methods of dealing with chronic pain. As we all know, aging is a part of the normal life process. For instance, as we approach 70 years old, we typically lose three-quarters of our functioning kidney cells (nephrons) but do well with our limited reserve as ...

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In a recent talk I gave for colleagues, I ventured outside the box. I searched for a metaphor to make cancer treatments easy to understand. Around the same time, it so happened my kids decided we needed to re-watch all of The Avengers movies at home. (In order, of course). Here’s where you get some insight into an oncologist-mom’s brain. While we watched the movies, another part of my brain cogitated on my upcoming ...

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Last week I took the naloxone challenge. I walked up to a pharmacy window, waited in line, and requested naloxone from the pharmacist. She showed a supportive but knowing look, and I became acutely aware of the four people in line behind me. After giving her my name and date of birth, she was able to pull my insurance info from prior visits, and I left with a dose of ...

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