I read a disturbing article in MedPage Today—Metformin: A Great Lakes Disaster?
Metformin is one of the most common drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is mostly a lifestyle disease (obesity), is epidemic in the United States. Seventy million prescriptions for metformin were dispensed in 2013. That year the cost of treating type 2 diabetes, just for the drugs, was $23 billion.
But the environment is paying, too.
Researchers have found high levels of metformin in Lake Michigan—and this is water after it has been treated in the sewage plants.
More importantly, according
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It’s a funny video about a serious topic.
I love the health care parody videos that occasionally show up on YouTube.
This one—to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “We are never getting back together”— is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and sends a message to those people seeking narcotics from emergency rooms.
I know there are people with legitimate pain issues that need narcotic medications. Most times, health care providers can easily determine if a patient is legit or just a drug seeker.
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I’ve posted before about my deep disappointment in Dr. Oz. Once a brilliant heart surgeon, he has, in my humble opinion, thrown his career and integrity away to hustle sketchy weight-loss supplements to an eager and sometimes desperate audience.
Related post: Dr. Oz – Pitchman for profit
And I’ve never been comfortable watching the medical tips proffered by the photogenic docs on The Doctors. I especially distrust the smooth and stylish plastic surgeon’s weight loss and anti-aging advice. He’s mostly drumming up business for his colleagues (I wonder if they pay him?).
So I was pleased to learn … Continue reading
I very much agreed with the author of the recent article in The Atlantic titled The Cold-Medicine Racket.
There are now hundreds of flashy “cold and flu” products, but still only a handful of simple, cheap ingredients.
Yes! Every time I’m at the grocery or drug store I see displays and shelves full of the latest and greatest cold products, and I’m always stunned by how much they cost.
I’ve posted many times about these pricey over-the-counter drugs: what works, what doesn’t, and which products are the best value.
Related post: Save money on cold medications
First, I would … Continue reading
I had a good laugh last week when I read the following news story: Ibuprofen adds 12 years to life! Cheap painkillers can slow ageing and fight disease.
The author explains:
In laboratory tests, ibuprofen was found to extend the lives of worms and flies by the equivalent of about 12 years in human terms.
Which means, according to the author:
Regular doses of ibuprofen could allow people to live up to 12 years longer.
Wow, that’s really leaping to a conclusion. But how many people read this article and then ran to the pharmacy to grab some … Continue reading
I posted a couple weeks ago about how the prices of many generic drugs have been rising to crazy heights over the last 18 months.
Here’s another post by a health care advocate with some more tips for trying to save money on generics.
Unless your health plan’s drug formulary covers your medication, you might be out of luck. A drug formulary is a list of prescription drugs, both generic and brand, that are preferred by your health plan.
If you’re shopping for health plans now during open open enrollment (November through February, 2015) you might ask if the medications
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Lack of support for vitamin D
I’ve written several posts on vitamin D. That’s because it’s one of my pet peeves.
Because there was a lot of hype surrounding it several years ago when it became the latest health care fad. Suddenly a low vitamin D level was suspected of contributing to many types of cancer and chronic diseases. Physicians began testing everyone’s vitamin D levels and recommending vitamin D supplements, either over-the-counter or a stronger prescription form.
Further research on vitamin D, however, has not provided evidence that general screening for low vitamin D levels is helpful, … Continue reading
A worrisome trend for generics
A year ago I posted about my surprise when my husband’s prescription for levothyroxine, a generic drug, suddenly increased in price by 200%.
After a little investigative work, I discovered the reason for the sudden price hike was a shortage of the drug, which I was told would resolve within a few months.
Actually, the shortage was resolved as promised. The price, however, has remained stubbornly high. In fact, it is about 700% more expensive now than it was 18 months ago ($40 for 30 days rather than $5 for 30 days).
Levothyroxine is … Continue reading
New treatments for hepatitis C
I read an article online the other day in which the author practically shouted at her readers to “Run as fast as you can to your doctor’s office and get screened for hepatitis C!”
OK, what she actually wrote was:
Overall, the outlook for patients with hepatitis C is much better than it was just a couple of years ago. So if you’re a baby boomer who hasn’t been screened for hepatitis C yet, don’t wait.
Still, let’s step back and look at the big picture.
Hepatitis C screening has been in the news a … Continue reading
The power of positive thinking
I’ve been meaning for some time to write a post about the placebo effect.
A placebo (from the Latin “I shall please”) is a fake treatment—such as a sugar pill—that is intended to deceive the patient. If that patient improves, or at least thinks so, that is known as the placebo effect.
Before a new drug can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug maker must have studies to prove that it is more effective than a placebo. If neither the patients nor the researchers know who is getting the … Continue reading