Meds

Diet pills can be dangerous and should be used with caution

by Kristina Fiore

Diet pills that are adulterated with undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients can be addictive, researchers say.

In a case report, a 29-year-old female patient became addicted to Brazilian diet pills that contained unlabeled ingredients, and suffered subsequent psychiatric comorbidities, Benjamin R. Smith, BS, and Pieter A. Cohen, MD, of Harvard Medical School reported in The American Journal on Addictions.

“Given the rising prevalence of adulterated diet pills, increasing awareness among clinicians of …

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Statistical analysis in medical journals should be unbiased

by Todd Neale

Editors of medical journals should unite in requiring independent statistical analyses of industry-sponsored clinical trials, according to the two top editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Such a measure would help prevent any inappropriate influence from the study sponsors on data analysis and reporting, wrote Catherine DeAngelis, MD, MPH, editor-in-chief of JAMA, and Phil Fontanarosa, MD, MBA, executive deputy editor …

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Chronic pain patients may have been disobedient children

by Nancy Walsh

Children who are irritable or disobedient, or who steal or bully others, are at risk for chronic pain in middle age, a large prospective study found.

Youngsters who had persistent behavior problems at ages seven, 11, and 16 years had more than twice the risk of of widespread chronic pain at age 45 as other children (RR 2.14, 95% CI 1.43 to 3.21), according to Dong Pang, PhD, of …

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Pain management depends too heavily on narcotics

by Michael Kirsch, MD

First, let me state unequivocally that I am against all varieties of pain, foreign and domestic. Indeed, I wish that we could snuff the varmint out every time and place it surfaces. Pain is a wily opponent that can be difficult to vanquish. In recent years, physicians have been resorting to a ‘shock and awe’ strategy of using excessive force against it.

While this may be sound military …

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Drug companies are using community doctors for dinner talks

Originally published in MedPage Today

by John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today Reporter

When looking for a doctor to travel the country to promote its prescription fish oil product, a leading pharmaceutical company looked to a small-town community doctor rather than an academic heavyweight.

Its choice was a Delafield, Wis., primary care physician and clinical lipidologist who entered private practice in 2001.

For speaking …

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Industry relationships with physicians are coming under fire

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today Staff Writer

Earlier this year, Harvard’s Partners Healthcare put a cap on payments its physicians can receive for serving on corporate boards at $5,000 a day.

Although the cap primarily affects top researchers and executives, it is by far the stiffest limit imposed by any academic medical center, and drives deeper the …

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Vaccine safety still concerns parents

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today Staff Writer

Even though 90% of parents believe vaccines protect their children against disease, many are also concerned about potential adverse effects, a new survey found.

More than half of survey respondents said they were concerned about vaccine safety profiles, particularly for newer immunizations, Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH, of the University …

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Your metformin may smell like dead fish

Originally published in MedPage Today

An immediate-release form of the antidiabetic agent metformin has a dead fish odor that may cause patients to stop taking the drug, clinicians warned.

Metformin is known to cause adverse gastrointestinal effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, distention, and abdominal pain. Those side effects “often necessitate discontinuing the drug,” a group of physicians and pharmacists …

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Medical marijuana has doctors asking questions

Originally published in HCPLive.com

In January, New Jersey became the 14th state in the nation to legalize marijuana use for certain chronic illnesses. Other states where the use of medical marijuana is permitted include Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington; around a dozen more states are weighing pending bills.

The New Jersey …

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How alternative and herbal medications can have dangerous side effects

Originally published in MedPage Today

by John Gever, MedPage Today Senior Editor

Herbal medicines are not always the harmless nostrums that many patients and even some physicians think, but may actually contribute to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, researchers warned in a review covering 44 years of research into the subject.

Many such products, including aloe vera, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and green tea, can …

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Are hospitals who limit ties with drug companies at a competitive disadvantage?

Doctors have been coming under increasing scrutiny for their relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

Many hospitals and medical schools have outright banned any involvement of their physician staff with drug companies. This isn’t a contentious issue most of the time.

But a recent case at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital raised some eyebrows. Apparently, an asthma specialist was so dependent on drug company money, that he chose to quit the …

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