What is deprescribing?
As an advocate for less medicine and better health, I love the latest healthcare trend of “deprescribing,” or cutting down the number of prescription drugs a patient is taking.
Dr. Aaron Carroll of Healthcare Triage explains the importance of deprescribing in this video:
Polypharmacy—taking multiple prescription drugs—has become much more common over the last couple of decades. There are more drugs than ever on the market, and the drug companies are spending billions of dollars to make sure we know all about them.
Related post: Bohemian Polypharmacy
The elderly are especially … Continue reading
Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new epinephrine auto-injector, Symjepi.
I don’t much like the name, but if it’s cheaper…!
I’ve posted several times about the skyrocketing cost of EpiPens—over 500% in the last 10 years.
Anyone who, like me, has been shocked at the pharmacy to discover how much a two-pack of EpiPens costs will be hoping Symjepi will be more affordable.
It won’t be available on the market until later this year, so I don’t know yet how much it will cost. But Adamis Pharmceuticals, the company that makes Symjepi, … Continue reading
Cutting the waste
I’ve posted several times about the Choosing Wisely campaign.
Developed by Consumer Reports and the American Board of Internal Medicine, Choosing Wisely hopes to educate both physicians and patients, and cut back or eliminate unnecessary medical tests, procedures and treatments.
Over-testing and over-treatment are estimated to cost about $200 billion every year. I think that’s a conservative figure, as the financial—not to mention emotional—consequences of too much medicine can be difficult to quantify.
Bringing about change in our behemoth, for-profit healthcare system is a daunting task, and I’m always happy to see signs that it’s catching … Continue reading
Good evidence for using turmeric to treat arthritis pain
I’m generally not a fan of supplements or herbal remedies.
There can be a lot of marketing hype behind these products, but not a lot of good science.
However…about a month ago I finally became so tired of living with chronic arthritis pain, mostly in my hands and neck, that I decided to research turmeric to see if there was any chance it could help me.
I wanted an alternative to ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which works great to control my pain, but it’s not only hard on my stomach, it’s a … Continue reading
“Trying to make medicine great again”
I’ve been a fan of Zubin Damania, MD—aka ZDoggMD—for several years. A hospitalist physician based in Las Vegas, he began by making entertaining parody videos on a variety of healthcare topics: end-of-life, the opioid epidemic, electronic health records (EHR), sepsis, sleep apnea, and more.
Now he has expanded his social media footprint in an attempt to rally healthcare professionals behind Healthcare 3.0.
As he explains in the video, Healthcare 1.0 was the old doctor-patient relationship—”Doctor knows best” and all that (I still know doctors and nurses who … Continue reading
FDA warns consumers
Nothing makes me angrier than unscrupulous companies (owned by unscrupulous individuals) marketing products advertised as “miracles” to cure illness.
These modern-day snake oil salespeople prey on fear and suffering by selling false hope. Worse, the products they sell can sometimes harm rather than heal.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently put out a new warning on their Consumer Updates page: Products claiming to “cure” cancer are a cruel deception
Frequently advertised as “natural” treatments and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, such products may appear harmless, but may cause harm by delaying or interfering with proven,
… Continue reading
Another post related to seasonal allergies, because 2017 is apparently going to be a nasty spring for allergy sufferers! Like me. 😥
As I said in my last post, I prefer to use a neti pot over taking medication (and it works great for me!), but I know a neti pot won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can be expensive, though, even the generics. Know what you need before you buy. Then shop for the best price. I always recommend buying the store brand.
Here is some information about the various types of drugs marketed to … Continue reading
Seattle has had an unseasonably cold and wet spring (even for us!), but that hasn’t stopped my seasonal allergies from arriving on cue.
Time to rinse off my neti pot.
When the pollen counts are high, I use my neti pot every day and it really, really helps.
I prefer using a neti pot rather than antihistamines to treat spring allergies for a couple of reasons.
One, it’s inexpensive. Over-the-counter allergy meds are anything but! Even the generics are pricey.
Two, there are no side effects. I don’t like how antihistamines or decongestants make me feel, and I definitely don’t … Continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released a warning about keeping hand sanitizers out of the reach of small children. Because more people use hand sanitizers during cold and flu season, there are more reports of children being poisoned by the main ingredient, either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. About 90% of these poisonings were in children younger than five.
Anyway, here is a re-post about preventing childhood poisonings in general, and links to Poison Control and other resources.
Stay safe! FN
A rising number of childhood poisonings
I don’t know much about e-cigarettes and vaping, but a recent study … Continue reading
Newer drugs are not necessarily better drugs
A few days ago at the gym, I was leafing through an issue of Health magazine.
What caught my eye was not the article about preventing stress injuries, or the recipe for a zingy, low-fat curry, but rather the pages devoted to ads for prescription drugs. Drugs to treat psoriasis, hepatitis C, dry eyes, depression, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and overactive bladder, to name but a few.
Each ad took three pages. After doing a little mental math, I discovered the ads for these new prescription drugs made up more than 30% of the … Continue reading
Homeopathic remedies don’t cure, and they can harm
I’ve posted before about homeopathy and homeopathic remedies. In short, they don’t work. There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that supports homeopathy.
Related post: A homeopathic parody
At best they’re a waste of money; at worse, homeopathic remedies may be harmful, especially to infants and small children.
In recent months, certain homeopathic remedies for teething babies have been targeted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products, Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Teething Gel, contain very small amounts of a well-known poison—belladonna or “deadly nightshade.”
How can poison be a … Continue reading
Cholesterol and diet
A few months ago I posted about my husband’s dilemma with his cholesterol, specifically his low-density (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol level.
His physician advised a statin, but my husband is understandably reluctant to start taking a daily pill for the next 30+ years.
Because he has no other heart disease risk factors, such as being overweight, a smoker, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease, he and his physician made a plan to re-check his cholesterol level in 6 months.
A date which is rapidly approaching.
He’s exercising more and being more careful … Continue reading
One cream to treat them all
Over the weekend, I discovered I had a minor case of athlete’s foot. I’m no athlete, but note to self: wear flip-flops when taking a shower at the gym!
I couldn’t find a tube of antifungal cream in my medicine cabinet—it’s been years since anyone in my family has needed it—so I went out to buy one.
A large number of options confronted me. As always, I thought to myself, “How do ordinary consumers decide which of these fifty tubes of antifungal creams they need?”
Most manufacturers market the creams (or ointments, powders or … Continue reading
Don’t get health advice from commercials!
While nursing my cold last weekend, I was watching TV and one prescription drug commercial caught my eye. (One of oh so many. FTC—please make these go away!)
Actually, the ad didn’t mention any drug by name, but it was sponsored by Gilead Sciences, the makers of the new hepatitis C drug, Harvoni.
The commercial was aimed at baby boomers, who were advised to get tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
One in 30 baby boomers could have HCV and not know it, the voice over said, “…because Hep C can hide … Continue reading
Not safe for everyone
I’ve had problems sleeping most of my adult life. And I admit over the years I’ve tried using Benadryl (diphenhydramine) as a sleep aid now and then.
So I was interested when Consumer Reports recently published a warning that too many people are too frequently turning to over-the-counter sleeps aids.
A 2015 Consumer Reports national survey of 4,023 adults found a troubling trend: Of the 20 percent who took an OTC medication within the past year to improve sleep, almost 1 in 5 respondents, or 18 percent, said they took it on a daily basis. Most
… Continue reading