The Age of Abilify

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the disturbing statistic that Abilify—an antipsychotic drug—is the best-selling prescription medication in the US.

Crazy, right?

I recently read another blog and a psychiatrist agrees with me: What does it mean to live in the age of Abilify?

Antipsychotics are powerful drugs with considerable risks and side-effects.  But psychosis and mania are powerful too….If Abilify keeps psychosis at bay and prevents hospitalization, the risks are worth it.  The cost is worth it too — if a less expensive generic atypical won’t do.  

As I wrote in 2009, the manufacturer

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Meningitis – Outbreaks and vaccinations

The measles has gotten a lot of media attention lately. And that’s a good thing—I hope it’s increased awareness of the importance of the measles vaccine.

Related post: Measles—A Disneyland souvenir

But I just read about another serious disease outbreak that can also be prevented by vaccine—bacterial meningitis: 6th student in Oregon infected with meningitis bacteria

Last year, there was a significant meningitis outbreak at Princeton University, and one student died.

Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, a membrane around the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can be mild and flu-like, or more severe with a high fever, headache, … Continue reading

Big Pharma – Shady business tactics

There is nothing the major pharmaceutical companies fear more than their best-selling drugs going off patent.

That’s when generic versions of popular (and pricey) drugs become available and the drug companies have to kiss their billions of dollars in sales goodbye.

So it’s no wonder that over the years they have figured out more ways to either extend their patents by tweaking a drug (New and Improved!!) or by stalling the release of a competing generic (companies can get 30-month delays if they show the generic drug might infringe on a later patent).

Patients who take the Alzheimer’s … Continue reading

Homeopathy doesn’t work

I’ve always been skeptical of the over-hyped claims of alternative medicine, including homeopathy.

(Heck, if you’d read my blog for long you know I’m skeptical of a lot of mainstream medicine, as well!)

So I read with much amusement an article on The Daily Beast: Sorry, Hippies, Homeopathy is Totally Useless

Homeopathy is a worthless means of sustaining your health. In terms of preventing or treating disease, it’s up there with bloodletting or erecting a shrine to Asclepius in your pantry. It is literally good for nothing from a medical perspective.

The author, a physician, wrote in response to… Continue reading

Be informed – The pre-op anesthesia visit

I read a good post by an anesthesiologist: An informed patient is a safer patient

While anesthesia is safer than ever before, every patient scheduled for a procedure or surgery must have a serious conversation with their physician anesthesiologist about their anesthesia care plan. Advances in the science and research of anesthesiology have decreased the dangers of surgery and anesthesia substantially, but patients should be made aware of any risks associated with their procedure. Each of the more than 100 million operations and procedures performed on Americans every year involves the administration of anesthesia – but many people overlook its

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Spring allergies? Try a neti pot

It’s that time of year when the days get longer, the trees burst into bloom and the pollen counts skyrocket.

Ah-ah-ah choo!

And every year I’m thankful for my neti pot. I’ve touted the benefits of neti pot before, and think it’s one of the best health tools I’ve ever bought.

When the pollen counts are high, I use it every day and it really, really helps. It works by washing the pollen (or other allergens) out of your nasal passages. It also keeps your sinuses moist and healthy.

I remember how nervous and skeptical I was the first time … Continue reading

The cancer reimbursement wars

It’s another case in which the right hand of a behemoth government agency doesn’t know what the left hand is doing: In Cancer Wars, It’s Doctors vs. Hospitals

Colliding federal policies are fomenting a nasty money war that’s pitting community oncologists trying to treat patients in less expensive clinic settings against hospitals trying to woo patients in through costlier emergency departments.

The agencies under discussion are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) [which both fall under the larger umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)], and their disparate … Continue reading