adverse effects

It is officially July, and that means something in the medical world. With the passage of one day, the first of the month exalts recent medical school graduates to the rank of intern. The same holds true for those who completed residency training, spontaneously morphing into subspecialty fellows or attendings. Along with such promotions comes high turnover departures which prompts the tongue-in-cheek refrain don’t get sick in July. The July effect. The notion that teaching-hospital halls are riddled with newbies, or those a bit green in terms of experience, tends to make many reticent about seeking their care this time of year.

But, is this attitude regarding this annual transition ritual a false perception?

Let’s look at some data

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Medication mistakes outside of a health care facility are on the rise and resulting in serious outcomes—with home locations leading the pack. According to a new study that tracked unintentional therapeutic pharmaceutical errors and focused on those causing profound impairment, disability and death, there was a 100% rate increase from 2000 to 2012.

All age groups reflected such an increase, except those under six years of age—this trajectory most likely is attributed to the FDA’s 2007 restriction of cold and cough suppressant sales to children under six due to their lack of proven efficacy and their ability to do harm. Shortly, I will address the respective, unique challenges to...

Medicine bottle with warning label

Many people think they have a drug allergy, when in fact what they have is drug intolerance. According to the CDC, approximately 10% of all U.S. patients report having an allergic reaction to penicillin, but fewer than 1% of the population is truly allergic to penicillins. Furthermore, approximately 80% of patients with penicillin allergy lose their sensitivity after 10 years, but continue to report the allergy.

An allergic reaction is an immune-mediated response to a drug, which leads to skin rash, face or throat swelling, difficulty in breathing, and in some cases, life threatening...

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 1.37.34 PMThe JAMA headline alone raised a number of red flags: "Association of Off-Label Drug Use and Adverse Drug Events in an Adult Population." At the very least, the recent Internal Medicine on-line article suggests a problem.

And you can bet the delivered message will be something along these lines: That off-label use of prescription drugs is...

drugs-e1349801738965-225x138-1A recent study from JAMA Internal Medicine found that 1 in 10 serious and unexpected drug side effects are not reported by pharmaceutical companies to the FDA within the 15-day required window specified by federal regulations to protect patient safety.

Additionally, it was found that adverse event cases reported with death outcomes had a slightly higher rate of failing to comply with the 15-day reporting window.

But that is not the biggest problem.

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This report examines the "low-dose hypothesis" the idea that in some instances, low doses of a substance may have adverse effects that do not occur at higher doses.

This is a popular narrative created by environmentalists to promote the belief that though normal doses or a chemical have no effect, while high doses that can't occur normally are bad, low doses can be an "endocrine disruptor". Since the 1990s Pete Myers...