As a primary care doctor who cares for many patients with opioid-use disorder, I am invested in timely and effective strategies to curb our nation’s opioid epidemic. Because so many instances of opioid addiction and overdoses begin with or involve commonly prescribed opioids, we need multiple strategies that address the significant harms associated with prescription opioids. I am skeptical of one strategy, however: The President’s Commission and the Food and ...

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STAT_LogoDear Doctor, Please help me understand why so few of you have chosen to treat people with opioid addictions. I’ve been following the topic of opioid addiction for years. It is one of the most common themes for First Opinion submissions. Authors routinely point to the importance of medication-assisted therapy, the standard of care for individuals ...

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No news attracts attention like a physician who’s in trouble with DEA or their state medical board. So, how does it happen, what are the common issues and what can a physician do to safeguard themselves? First, let’s look at what the numbers and the research tell us. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) tells us that 4,091 physicians were disciplined during ...

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According to Bloomberg, Americans spend more on prescription drugs per year than any other country in the world at around $1,100 per person. Additionally, the CDC reports that four out of five new heroin users started their addiction by using prescription opioid painkillers like hydrocodone or oxycodone. And we know from the Partnership for a Drug-free America that ...

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In 1994, Penguin Books published what would become a national bestseller titled, Listening to Prozac written by Dr. Peter Kramer, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University at the time. Throughout the book, he debates the ethics of "cosmetic pharmacology" a term associated with the transformation of personality traits through medication. Kramer describes several patients as becoming “better than well” on Prozac -- more socially adept, less inhibited, and ...

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Since the advent of the internet and rise of social media, patients can connect and compare their experiences with prescribed drug withdrawal. A problem that was once considered rare is a worldwide epidemic that is finally getting noticed.  A recent New York Times article discussed the problems many have discontinuing antidepressants, and more than 8,800 readers responded about their difficulty stopping ...

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A patient comes to you asking, "Doc, my seizures are getting worse, I really hate the side effects of my medications, I want to go a different route. What do you think about medical marijuana?" You start sweating profusely, fidgeting in your seat, thinking of every single reason why not to recommend it and come up with the standard response, "Uh, well, I'm not qualified to recommend it, and it's ...

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Part of a series. A pill to end aging. Is there or could there be such a pill? Some researchers think so. Many believe that rather than attack the causes and treatment of chronic illnesses one by one, it would be better to understand the biology of aging and from that learn how to slow the process and hence prevent or delay the onset of various ...

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Many physicians in different fields have voiced criticisms against direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug ads. First, a 2013 survey found that 74 percent of physicians believe DTC drug ads overemphasize the benefits of the drugs and misinform patients. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist, interviewed by Rebecca Ruiz on DTC prescription drug ads states, “It’s almost impossible for the public to actually ...

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One of my readers, Natalie, wondered about my thoughts about the digital pill. My initial reactions were similar to several of those who were interviewed for the article. The digital pill, which provides electronic information to confirm whether someone has ingested the medication, has great potential to become a tool of coercion. Aripiprazole (Abilify) is classified as an antipsychotic medication, which is often prescribed to people who have beliefs that machines ...

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