Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

The US has been in the grips of an “opioid epidemic” since the 1990s, with massive rises in the use – and misuse – of opioids such as morphine and codeine. There has also been a parallel rise in the number of opioid-related deaths, from 8,048 in 1999 to 42,249 in 2016. Now, there are signs that the problem is spreading to other nations – including the UK.

The current epidemic in the US is thought to have begun with the over-prescription of opioids for pain relief: in 1991, 76m opioid prescriptions were dispensed by US retail pharmacies. By 2011, this figure was 219m. The overall rate of death from drug overdose...

With drastic shifts taking place in the medical profession over the last decade, those weighing whether to enter it have had to grapple with two figurative anvils hovering overhead: immense debt and choice of career specialty.

But in a remarkable demonstration of generosity Thursday, NYU's School of Medicine addressed both of those weighty concerns simultaneously with its announcement that it will waive tuition for all of its students, present and future, starting immediately.

Moreover, not only is crushing student debt of great concern that can even turn people away from the profession entirely, but another is that its accumulation has become so onerous that upon graduation newly-minted doctors have little choice but to enter the most highly-paying specialties, even if...

Allergies can be annoying but in some instances they are life threatening. That situation, anaphylaxis, is a medical emergency and occurs in up to two percent of Americans. 

If anaphylaxis occurs once it is more likely to happen again, so they are told to carry an emergency dose of epinephrine at all times. Epinephrine works by reducing swelling in the airway and increasing blood flow in the veins. Out of concern many public and private places have also begun to carry injectable epinephrine but with no generic form of the easiest kind of device there have been complaints of price gouging. 

No more. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic version of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) auto-injector for the emergency treatment of allergic...

A 36-year-old man learned the hard way that surgical intervention was needed when he fractured his penis having acquired what is known as an eggplant deformity - named for the appearance of the bruising pattern that develops. Though such an injury is thankfully uncommon, it can be sustained during robust and spirited sex or alternate trauma. This particular account of penile damage endured after protracted erection resulting from sildenafil (aka Viagra) use was just published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).  

What happened to him?

Apparently, the man took a...

I guess you know you've hit the big time when nut logs start including you in conspiracy theories. So, I'm pleased to report that the American Council has hit the big time having managed to end up in a twisted conspiracy along with some rather distinguished company. Here are a few of our companions:

In a miraculous example of not making the perfect the enemy of the good, two women’s lives were saved through ongoing innovation in organ transplant protocols and donation. At a time when every digital health product, new medication or device, biotech firm or health system purports each launch or announcement to be groundbreaking, revolutionary, or disruptive, it is astounding that the account of a heart donor and her recipient, both alive and at last week’s Transplant Games of America, barely made national news or the social media rounds (now or in 2016 when they underwent the rare “domino surgery...

Women who have been lucky enough to survive breast cancer may face increased risk of lung cancers, according to a new study in Radiotherapy and Oncology. The study shows how this can be prevented — limiting the radiation dose to a lung, using a treatment which targets only a small part of the breast.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, with more than 266,000 new cases diagnosed in 2018 in the United States.

Thanks to the widespread use of screening mammography, most women are now diagnosed at an early stage — meaning that the cancer has only grown in the breast and not spread under the armpit or to distant organs...

Contrary to what the Food Babe says, the spelling, length, or pronunciation of a chemical has absolutely nothing to do with its health properties, good, bad, or neither. Even a scary name means nothing. Consider three names for the chemical below. They are all correct. 

 

If there is anything scary sounding about any of them, most people would pick:

CYANOcobalamin.

But they'd be wrong. Despite one molecule of cyanide there isn't a whole lot to be scared about Vitamin B12, but...

Remember the great news last fall when the FDA unanimously approved a new anti-shingles vaccine, which was shown to be much more effective than the available alternative? Well, if you do, it appears that you're not alone. Not by a long shot.

Because with so many middle-aged and elderly folks having already gone out to receive the first of a two-part vaccination, there's simply not enough of the medicine, named Shingrix, to go around. So instead of getting their second shot to complete the series, what many have received instead is a spot on a waiting list.

“It is not a manufacturing issue,” says spokesman Sean Clements, representing the drug's manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline “The demand for this vaccine has been unprecedented.”

The reason for that demand is in the...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit just delivered another blow to a rather epic play by pharmaceutical giant Allergan to game the patent system. Though Reuters calls the failed attempt by the drug manufacturer a “novel strategy,” it is not unusual for companies, in general, to use legal maneuvers and slow-walk generic ingredient discovery to prolong the exclusive rights to selling a patented brand drug beyond its expiration date. Extending the life of the patent precludes other manufacturers from making the lower-cost generic form of a branded drug, thereby diminishing the patent holder’s revenue. In the case of...