Zicam is becoming an example of the dangers of mass-marketing unproven homeopathic remedies. As MedPage Today reports, the FDA has warned patients to stop using Zicam, as the product can lead to anosmia, or loss of the sense of smell. This isn't a new claim, since, "In 2006, the company paid $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits brought by consumers who claimed the zinc nasal gel adversely affected their sense of ...

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Popular smoking cessation drugs Chantix and Zyban received black box warnings from the FDA, the strongest of its kind. Chantix, in particular, is quite effective in helping patients to quit smoking, but has been dogged by instances of increased suicidality, especially in those already having a psychiatric diagnosis. As this report in MedPage Today states, "Reports of behavioral changes, depressed mood, agitation, ...

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As predicted, the details surrounding the singer's death continue to get more bizarre. Recent reports have stated that the powerful anesthetic Diprivan, generically known as propofol, was found in the singer's house. Apparently, according to a nurse, Jackson "was begging for the powerful sedative to help him get over insomnia." There are zero circumstances where propofol should ever be used for ...

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The FDA has declared war on acetaminophen, with Vicodin and Percocet being collateral damage.  You can bet Dr. Gregory House is sweatin' pretty hard over this news. In the last few days, acetaminophen, otherwise known as the brand name Tylenol, has been squarely in the FDA advisory panel's crosshairs. In general, it's a very safe medication, but there is ...

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The potential link between a specific form of long-acting insulin, known as insulin glargine and branded as Lantus, and cancer, could be gaining momentum. First off, let me say that both human and porcine insulin are safe, and have no association with cancer. The report specifically relates only to a synthetic, long acting form of insulin. lantus According to a series of ...

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I wrote back in February that one of the biggest threats to health reform was not from conservatives and the right, but from within President Obama's own party. Today, some four months later, the Washington Post reports that that's pretty much what's happening. In its report, the Post writes:

In the high-stakes battle over health care, a growing cadre of liberal activists is aiming its sharpest firepower against Democratic senators ...

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It seems that most industries are rushing to jump aboard the Twitter bandwagon. That's true for most cases, with the pharmaceutical industry being the exception. David Williams points out the lack of Twitter activity from the major pharmaceutical companies, where many of the Pharma-related keywords being owned by those not affiliated with the company. Worse, when he looks at the Twitter names for the top 10 prescribed drugs, they're owned by ...

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A recent study in Lancet becomes the first study to pull back the curtain on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its impact on global health. Since the money the Gates Foundation spends on global health (61% of its total $2.01 billion budget) is almost as large as the entire budget of the WHO, and because it is not a passive donor (it actively engages in policy making and ...

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Interesting case of a man detained at an airport because authorities couldn't fingerprint him. According to MedPage Today, he was taking the chemotherapy drug capecitabine which causes so-called hand-foot syndrome, or palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia. The chronic inflammation causes the skin on the hands to peel and blister, which can eventually eradicate a patient's fingerprints. In a study looking at the drug, this type of inflammation occurs in about 65 percent of ...

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The story of Andy Behrman made the news a few weeks ago, most notably in The Wall Street Journal. Apparently, he was a bipolar "celebrity patient," and was paid $400,000 by Bristol-Myers Squibb for promoting their drug, Abilify. Things quickly went sour, as Mr. Behrman was afflicted with the drug's side effects, which included "dazed spells and agitation in his legs." Merrill Goozner comments on the case, casting the light on patient advocates, ...

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