Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

(Part 2/2) See: Is Tylenol 'By Far the Most Dangerous Drug Ever Made?'

I'm not a big fan of Tylenol, which becomes rather obvious if you read the first part of this two-part series. For a drug that is so widely used, it is quite easy to consume enough, accidentally or otherwise, to take enough to suffer a toxic overdose due to irreversible liver damage.

But drugs cannot be judged by safety alone. Both the good and the bad - benefits and risks - must be taken into account to get the true measure of the quality of a drug. So if Tylenol isn't all that safe, you might expect that, at the very least, it should work well. Otherwise, why would so many people be taking it?

...

There is only one shingles prevention vaccine currently on the market. And while it is effective, it does have a glaring drawback: over time it becomes less so – even to the point of uselessness – beginning less than a decade after vaccination.

However, there appears to be a better alternative on the horizon, with Wednesday's advisory panel approval from the Food and Drug Administration of a new vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline.

Panel members, saying they were "very impressed" with the drug for adults 50 and over, called Shingrix, voted 11-0 in favor of approval. While the FDA is not bound by the advisory group's recommendation, in instances like this where there is no objection chances for the administration's full approval appear to be exceedingly good. A vote is...

The drug phobia that now has us firmly in its grip, you know, the "let's restrict everything" mentality, didn't start with Vicodin, Valium, or Ritalin. It began with Sudafed, which contains the drug pseudoephedrine. If you've watched Breaking Bad you know very well that pseudoephedrine can be chemically modified to produce methamphetamine, aka crystal meth, which is why Sudafed was taken off pharmacy shelves in 2006 (1). To get the decongestant you now have to sniff out the pharmacist counter and hand over your driver's license. 

The Act was intended to put a dent in the illegal production of methamphetamine, which was heavily abused at that time, especially in poorer areas of the US. Sudafed was replaced by another decongestant Sudafed PE, which cannot be...

Medicare and Medicaid cannot negotiate the cost of drugs – meaning they have to pay whatever a pharmaceutical company charges for their drugs.  This means that the potential for getting fleeced can be pretty high, including on the generic drugs which the public believes are cheaper. Some companies have been re-branding cheap medications that have been around for a while and then hiking up the price.  These sudden, sharp spikes in drug prices have led to a special Senate committee that deals with just this issue. 

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University and School of Medicine analyzed one rather obscure drug, adrenocorticotropin, ACTH for short. The...

Ever wonder if your cabinet is full of expired medication? If so, what can you keep, and what should you toss?

 

If you own Johnson and Johnson stock you probably have enough problems on your hands. The company keeps getting hammered by lawsuits alleging that talc in baby powder has given women cancer (1). So you sure don't need me smacking down Tylenol, which had worldwide sales of almost $2 billion in 2016.

But, don't blame me. This is not my quote. It's part of a written interview I did back in July with Aric Hausknecht, M.D, "Pain In The Time Of Opioid Denial: An Interview With Aric Hausknecht, M.D." 

...

If you've spent any amount of time in the cough and cold section of your pharmacy, you may soon end up in the headache aisle. This is because the over-the-counter cough, cold, and allergy aisle is a daunting place, even for those of us who are familiar with all of the common medicines that are used in these products. There are so many combinations of products for so many different sets of symptoms that if you don't need reading glasses when you enter the pharmacy, you probably will by the time you leave.

This is not only intentional but also harmful, and, in my opinion, unethical. It is little but a sleight-of-hand used by drug companies to sell more of the same old drugs, but in different combinations, to people who don't need the combinations and can actually be harmed by them...

In the rich world, cancer therapy is expensive. In the developing world, it may not be available at all. Not only is cutting-edge technology in short supply, but so are things like electricity and medical personnel. The lack of necessary resources for basic healthcare is made obvious by the fact that, if diagnosed with cancer, a person in the developing world is more likely to die from it than a person in the developed world.

To help alleviate this problem, cheap, uncomplicated, portable, and preferably non-surgical treatments that do not require electricity are needed. Now, a team of researchers from Duke University has shown that injecting an ethanol-based gel directly into a specific type of tumor, called squamous cell carcinoma, resulted in a 100% cure rate in a hamster...

A small study showed promising results for a new app that can detect increased bilirubin levels in one's eyes — an early indicator of pancreatic cancer.

When it comes to cancer breakthroughs, there have not been many announcements as big as the one made this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration - the approval of the first gene therapy for cancer available in the United States. 

The approved drug, made by Novartis, is called Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and is used to treat certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The approval is for patients up to 25 years old, with ALL that has resisted standard treatment or relapsed (roughly 15 - 20 percent of patients.) ALL is leukemia - a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. it is the most common form of cancer that affects...