The pros and cons of e-cigarettes
We are reaching an exciting new time in medicine when genetics will play a major role in predicting and treating disease
Acetaminophen is a feel-good drug that is just too easy to overuse. We need to keep track of how much we take before we become yet another statistic.
A new vaccine from Novartis, Bexsero, is a safe and effective tool against the strain of bacterial meningitis that caused a recent outbreak at Princeton.
A device known as "The Glove" will be able to beam an EKG to any doctor anywhere.
Sorting out the good and bad about e-cigarettes
A new study about copper's role as a possible contributing factor in the development of Alzeheimer's Disease has come in just below the media radar, despite its obvious importance
E-cigarettes, battery-operated devices which provide nicotine vapor, are a promising tool to help people stop smoking
CD47 is one story that the media may have gotten right.
The media's hyperbolic reaction to an FDA warning on Zithromax manages to both unduly frighten patients and skirt the real problem—the overuse of antibiotics
The news from the CDC that this year's flu vaccine appears to be less than 60 percent effective at preventing severe flu symptoms, and only 9 percent with the elderly, has stirred the pot in the direction of denigrating what is still a useful vaccine.
The major flu vaccine still in use, with technology essentially unchanged since the 1950s, is the vaccine manufactured using cultures of billions of hens' eggs. This has got to change.
The real story is not the risk of statin drugs but the media's presentation of it.
Energy drinks have been possibly linked to deaths and injuries. While there is no proof that the drinks caused these problems, there is reason to be concerned.
Fear is spreading faster than the illness, although this kind of meningitis is not contagious
On the whole, Ambien and the other medicines in its group are well tolerated and help many people
The PSA test is a large part of the reason that death from prostate cancer has declined
Public education remains key to the fight against HIV. The new quick test can be a useful aid in this fight
I find Qnexa andLorcaserin problematic, and would be reluctant to prescribe them, at least initially
Not enough attention has been paid congratulating Merck for its shingles homerun, Zostavax
On the FDA's warning about statin drugs
Counterfeiters are making a version of Avastin that lacks the drug's main active ingredient
The Materni T21 test has been found sensitve for discovering Down Syndrome in over 99% of cases
The odds on the risks surrounding Plan B change when a teen is not under a doctor's supervision
Does Crestor have a selective advantage over Lipitor that would make it worth the price difference?
In two studies, the PSA was found to lower the prostate cancer death rate by more than 30 percent
Over 80% of hospitals report that shortages of lifeseaving drugs are delaying patient care
This time, the media is being very positive. News reports about the new treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia are ripe with palpable excitement.
One out of five Americans still smokes, and smoking leads to cancer and heart disease.
The problem with a media-megaphoned report about a drug's potential side effect is that it too easily balloons into a fear-driven avoidance of a life-saving group of drugs.
A recent survey from IMS Health reveals that Vicodin is the most frequently prescribed painkiller in the US, with 131 million prescriptions written over the past year alone.
Use of generic drugs has grown dramatically in the US, to the point where currently almost 75% of the drugs we use are generic.
Potassium iodide is a useful medication. It is also poorly understood, and has functioned as a "fear pill" in the current climate of radiation worries.
Influenza, like all viruses, has a simple structure. A package of genetic material (in this case RNA), is covered by a protein envelope.
Johnson & Johnson has received a lot of criticism lately because of the McNeil recalls of cold medicines, especially those for children. Factories must follow protocols which include sterility and proper oversights.
Good old aspirin, therapeutic compound derived from willow bark, take a well-deserved bow. Well-publicized cases of aspirin induced bleeding are not the topic du jour.
I and every other clinician who treats patients with the common blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) have a problem.
There is an ongoing revolution occurring in the treatment of cancer. Unfortunately, it is easy for the public to miss the growing excitement for the new targeted therapies and vaccines because of the typical news media fascination with bad news rather than good.
There is a lot of confusion about this year's flu vaccine, in part because last year's novel H1N1 mild flu pandemic broke the usual mold on flu.
As a fan, prescriber, and consumer of Pfizer's blockbuster cholesterol-lowering statin drug Lipitor, I've long joked that in addition to increasing exercise and improving diet, patients with a high cholesterol should consider eating their hot fudge sundaes with a dose of Lipitor on top.
Avandia is in trouble. A key drug for diabetes, one of just two left on the market in its class, it is under increasing scrutiny by the FDA because of concern about its safety and risk for strokes, heart disease, and death.
As much as I love new vaccine technology, I also hate getting too excited about studies that take place in mice, especially when you consider that only one out of 250 mice studies go on to produce a useful drug or vaccine for human use.
I spend most of my time in this column defending drugs that have been wrongly maligned in the media. Readers know that I am a believer in our best technologies and the options they give.
The problem with media headlines on pharma is that they are rarely subtle or nuanced, instead they smear and cripple some of our best medications.
Three recent court rulings did not support the notion of a connection between thimerosal and autism. This is good news for vaccine advocates everywhere, who are constantly battling the fear of vaccines in an attempt to achieve improved compliance.
The film Extraordinary Measures, just released, details the discovery of a replacement enzyme for the neuromuscular disorder Pompe disease.
How come vaccine manufacturers take so much heat about flu vaccines? They are blamed for using outdated technologies, delay in shipments and contaminated batches. They are even targeted by fear mongers without a shred of evidence to show harm.
In mid-November, the FDA came out with a strong warning against using Prilosec (omeprazole) in combination with the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel).
I thought I would take a short step away from the usual drug analysis to discuss mammograms.
Readers of this column are not surprised at the firestorm of vaccine mongering--entirely unsubstantiated and inflammatory, that has been leveled at the new swine flu vaccine.
The day will come soon when all flu vaccines are grown in cell culture, using genetic splicing techniques to provoke and immunologic (antibody) response rather than growing actual viruses in hen eggs.
Propofol is an extremely effective anesthetic which is manufactured as an emulsion and is delivered intravenously. AsraZeneca made the first useful version in 1986 (Diprivan), Sandoz now makes another.
Last month, a 13 year old with Hodgkins disease, one of the most treatment-responsive cancers known, ran away to Mexico and was reported by the news media to be considering alternative treatment.
A few weeks ago I brought some samples of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) to a TV studio to use as a prop on a show. But when I went to leave the show, I discovered that one of the producers had rifled through the box, and most of the samples were gone.
I haven't covered prostate cancer in this space before, in part because the choices, though controversial, have been somewhat static for some time.
Normally, I wouldn't use this column as a forum to comment on mergers or acquisitions. But the purchase of Schering- Plough by Merck is not only interesting for financial reasons in the middle of our collapsing economy.
This February is an exciting month for the company GTC Biotherapeutics and the future of the biotechnology of preventing blood clots.
At this point I don't know yet what caused John Travolta's son Jett to die, as the autopsy results won't be back for a few days.
I don't have asthma, and I am fortunate to never have had to struggle with the sudden feeling of breathlessness and helplessness that asthma can cause.
I have written about the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in this space before. All my readers know I am a big fan of these drugs, prescribe them regularly, and am not alone in my belief.
I have nothing against generic medications.
Diabetes is a tough disease to treat.
My usual purpose in Antidote is to champion a drug that has been unfairly maligned.
Regular readers of this column know that one of my major themes is to defend lifesaving effective drugs that are wrongly targeted in the media.
Chantix is taking a real beating this month.
I promise you that heparin is a perfectly good drug, though if you have been reading the newspapers lately, you wouldn't think so.
Even if I had another topic planned, how could I not write this month about Zetia?
I have an expression that I like to use when describing a drug's fall from grace—I call it going from panacea to panic.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health released findings of the ACCORD study which appeared to show that driving blood sugar to low levels in diabetics leads to an increased rate of dying.
Now that we are in a presidential election year, much attention has been directed toward the question of how to extend healthcare to more people.
In past columns I have defended the commonly used sleeping pill Ambien.
We all like a good mystery, so we tend to overreact and over-personalize infectious threats that are truly remote.
I think it's time I devoted a column to a phenomenon known as forced substitution.
I never believed it was entirely fair that Eli Lilly was the target of vicious attacks regarding its anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa.
Last fall, the Centers for Disease Control vaccine advisory panel voted to make the shingles vaccination (which had been approved by the FDA in May 2006) routine for the 50 million Americans over the age of 60.
I have been discussing the Chris Benoit case on cable TV news, along with other talking heads including lawyers, doctors and wrestlers.
When Rezulin was removed from the market several years ago, the top endocrinologist I worked with was quite upset.
Statin drugs have received recognition for stabilizing plaque and for reducing the risk of further cardiac events in patients with known heart disease. I am certainly not the only clinician, therefore, to extrapolate from this the usefulness of these drugs in patients who have never had a heart attack but are definitely at serious risk for one.
For many patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with severe constipation, Novartis’ Zelnorm was a miracle treatment.
Novartis has a new drug that has just been approved by the FDA.
This month I’d like to take on a whopper: that drug companies have routinely withheld their expertise in HIV and life-saving treatments from the Third World, and that it has required major arm twisting and embarrassment to get them to participate.
As a medical journalist, I receive advanced notice of many studies. As soon as I saw that the Journal of the American Medical Association was about to publish a big study from Britain which showed an almost 50% increase in hip fractures in elderly patients taking the stomach drugs Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec, I knew I would be receiving many anxious phone calls.
A few years ago I was researching an article about Pfizer’s new drug therapies, and I had the privilege of meeting with their top lab scientists in Groton, CT.
In attending the MMM Awards dinner recently, I was asked to present an award for the best unbranded TV ad.
Two decades ago, back when I was a resident in the hospital trenches treating AIDS patients with little more than the anti-viral AZT and hope, I never envisioned the world of today, where HIV patients on anti-viral regimens are rarely hospitalized.
My father is over 80 years old. To look at his bulging waistline and to hear about his history of heart disease is to wonder how it is that he is still alive.
When the New England Journal of Medicine reported last month on the 2005 measles outbreak, it did us all a favor.
The purpose of this column is to debunk myths about pharmaceuticals and, more specifically, to defend the drug manufacturers from unfair attacks against their products in the media.
Ketek is an antibiotic with a deserved reputation as an effective treatment for bacterial respiratory infections.
Litigation continues over Vioxx, where a statistically remote risk of heart disease is twisted to favor money-seeking defendants in a way that no self-respecting physician would ever endorse.