South Gardiner woman to undergo transplant as Christmas gift to friend
"A half century after the world's first successful organ transplant, a South Gardiner woman is donating a kidney as a Christmas gift to her friend."

Northern Christmas comes with gonorrhea warning
"With a spike in the number of Yukoners infected with gonorrhea, the territory's

Department of Health and Social Services is distributing condoms as Christmas presents with the message, 'Wrap it for someone you love.'"

Very practical up there in the Yukon Territories.

Christmas brings time of joy for child, family
I read about Eagle-Barrett syndrome for the first time after reading this story.

Drugs Make a Good Christmas Gift
"On Christmas Day in South Africa, who will get the most precious present of all "“ the gift of life?

Up to 65,000 people, that's who. These lucky men and women will swallow a series of anti-retroviral (ARV) tablets and pills which will bully the deadly AIDS virus lurking in their bloodstream into submission "“ if not outright defeat."

Christmas-themed medblogging. ...

Read more...

I was browsing the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs site to see what they had on the COX-2/NSAID controversy:

If you need medication for osteoarthritis or other chronic pain:

* Try acetaminopen (Tylenol, generic) as an initial choice for pain relief since it's reasonably safe even for frequent, prolonged use if you don't exceed the recommended doses. Overdoses can cause liver problems. Avoid acetaminophen if you drink alcohol heavily ...

Read more...

No more delay: Health Canada must stand on guard for us
A call to be more proactive and less reactive. The same can be said for the FDA.

Health Alert: Over-medicated America?
"Drug makers flatly deny they're pushing pills for profit. Doctor Paul Antony of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says, 'For many people we are not prescribing enough medicines. There's actually a problem with underutilization for very important diseases like diabetes and hypertension.'"

That last statement is true. However with the recent push of "lifestyle" medications like Viagra and Ambien, the line between ...

Read more...

FDA Issues Public Health Advisory Recommending Limited Use of Cox-2 Inhibitors
"FDA is making the following interim recommendations:

* Physicians prescribing Celebrex (celecoxib) or Bextra (valdecoxib), should consider this emerging information when weighing the benefits against risks for individual patients. Patients who are at a high risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, have a history of intolerance to non-selective NSAIDs, or are not doing well on non-selective NSAIDs may be ...

Read more...

Fear Mongering At The FDA
I haven't seen the preliminary Naproxyn data that the FDA based its press release on, but this article suggests that the increase in cardiac events wasn't even statistically significant:

In the Alzheimer's study, though, there was no increase in heart risk for long-term Celebrex users. There was a slight increase in heart risk for naproxen users, but the increase was so small that it may ...

Read more...

Warnings about painkillers stir worries
"Paula Frazier's family is terrified that the Celebrex she has been taking for arthritis could kill her -- the homemaker from Denton, Tex., has a family history of heart disease, and a study last week suggested the drug may increase heart problems among some patients."

With so much conflicting information, this is the time when clear guidance and appropriate patient education is imperative. ...

Read more...

Doctors warn of overreaction to naproxen finding
"Doctors urged consumers yesterday not to overreact to the potential
heart risks of naproxen, saying they are skeptical about research
findings publicized by the National Institutes of Health on Monday that
linked the drug to a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and strokes."

Imagine the fallout if the COX-2 heart findings were also associated with NSAIDs in general. ...

Read more...

Pfizer's Decision To Continue To Sell Celebrex Poses Legal Risks
Summarizing the legal risk that Pfizer is taking by leaving Celebrex on the market.

Grand Rounds #13
In the flurry of catching up, I nearly forgot about linking to CodeBlueBlog's edition of this week's Grand Rounds.

Michael Moore Film on Health Care System - Impact on Pharmaceutical Companies
"The film is tentatively titled 'Sicko,' according to a Moore spokesperson. Some pharmaceutical companies have told sales representatives to avoid camera cell phones in physician offices. According to one unnamed drug company, Moore representatives have offered $50,000 to physician offices that allow hidden cameras and $5,000 to sales representatives who agree to appear in the film."

Moore ...

Read more...

Health Canada issues safety information on Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra & Mobicox
Health Canada with their statement on the COX-2's, adding Mobic to the warnings. Could be a harbinger of the FDA's position.

So, which is it?

Here is the problem with the mainstream media reporting medical news. Take the recent NEJM article on the fecal DNA test for colon cancer screening. The following are three headlines I browsed via Google News.

1) New Test May Ease Colorectal Cancer Screening: Noninvasive Test May Encourage More Frequent Colorectal Cancer Screening

2) DNA Test for Colon Cancer Disappoints

3) ...

Read more...

Bush Administration Gives Mixed View on Drug Imports
"The Bush administration said Tuesday that commercial importation of some low-cost prescription drugs from Canada might be feasible. But the savings to consumers would be small, it said, and the federal government would have to spend hundreds of million dollars a year to ensure the drugs' safety."

Tough to have it both ways.

Madison Ave. Sharing Drug Makers' Pain
Hopefully the tide is turning against DTC advertising.

Health Care Renewal
(a new medical blog) opines on this article (via Medrants).

More articles regarding this here and here.

Pfizer and Merck: Different Strokes
"Celebrex continues to sell, while Vioxx got yanked. Courts, doctors, patients, and investors will decide which approach is better."

Indeed. For how long Celebrex continues to sell is another question.

Got Arthritis? Suck it Up
Blogging has been limited, so I direct you to Medpundit's thoughts on the Naproxyn/COX-2 controversies, as well as this followup article.

Medrants also gives his opinion.

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