Television

Nov. 2nd, 2015 06:46 am
liveonearth: (moon)
I don't normally watch TV.  When I stay at my mom's house it is running all the time.  My first impression is that the programming is sensational, and that there is very little depth to any of the reporting or storytelling.  There is a lot of redundancy with so-called news programs repeating clips over and over.  Next impression: pharmaceuticals dominate the advertising.  I saw an ad for the "female viagra", and one for Humira that says "don't take this if you have an infection" and others that speak of liver failure and other dire consequence.  Direct advertising of pharmaceuticals should be BANNED.  As a doctor I would rather that people come to me with concern and complaints from their lives, not requests for drugs.  Television programs Americans to be shallow, ignorant, and demanding.  So unappealing.

I don't remember the stats but I saw in the news that most 4 or 5 year old Americans already have a television and a "mobile device" of their own.  Most babies are exposed to mobile devices before age 1.
liveonearth: (pharm: handful a day keep docs at bay)
In this morning's medical news, Pfizer has issued a nationwide recall of Effexor/venlafaxine (a SSRI or SNRI), because a drug used for heart arrhythmias has shown up in somebody's bottle. The two drugs are packaged on the same line, suggesting to me that the pills are of a similar size and shape, and perhaps a pill or two could get stuck inside the machines and rattle out into the next batch being bottled.

But the hazards of taking drugs for depression are much broader than that. The pills themselves could have ingredients that aren't desirable. The drugs could have side effects that we don't understand yet. The drug companies could know about possible side effects but keep that information hidden to protect sales. They're recalling these three batches because accidental ingestion of the heart drug could kill someone. If it just make you a little sick, or did something that wasn't traceable to them, do you think they'd recall product? Or that doctors would stop prescribing them?

One glance at the list of adverse effects given on the wikipedia page for Venlafaxine will boggle your brain. There are a lot. These occur in over 10% of people taking the drug: headache esp when you start taking the drug, or increase the dose, nauseam insomnia, weakness, dizziness, trouble climaxing, sleepiness, drymouth and sweating. And these are a little less common: constipation, nervousness, abnormal vision, anorgasmia, hypertension, impotence, paresthesia, tremor, vasodilation, vomiting, suicide attempts, bruxism, so many more. The list is too long to reproduce here.

SOURCES
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/821631
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venlafaxine

RECALLED
Lot #V130142 and V130140, both expire 10/2015
Greenstone lot #V130014, exp 8/2015.

WORRY IF YOU TAKE VENLAFAXINE AND
you feel faint, get dizzy, pass out, or have a very fast heartbeat
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
My notes are behind the cut. These ladies review some recent FDA approvals and critique the process. The upshot is that the FDA is fast-tracking drugs without following their own rules regarding the supposedly scientific and independent review process. My take: Don't Use New RX drugs until they've been on the market at least 10 years. Otherwise YOU are part of the longterm followup studies that they aren't doing before approval.

SOURCE
http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2013/01/25/antibiotics-when-science-and-wishful-thinking-collide/
my notes on Zuckerman & Yttri article )
liveonearth: (microbes)
The Russians have known about phages and used them to treat severe infections since the 1930's. New research shows that lots of phages live in mucus. Wherever there is mucus there is likely to be a large population of phages--including mucus produced by other species such as sea coral, plants, etc.

Phages are viruses that use bacterial cells to replicate in. They can also insert new DNA into bacteria, and they are able to evolve quickly enough to keep up with changing resistance patterns. Big Pharma is not putting any money toward phage research because phage therapy would compete with antibiotic sales, and as we know, for them, the bottom line IS the bottom line. They want us to think that phages are dangerous. But according to Dr Mercola a normal human produces approximately a quart of mucus (snot) daily in the upper respiratory tract, most of which we swallow. So we are phage central already.
notes from Mercola's new article on phages )
liveonearth: (House religion psychosis)
We are all, to some extent, crazy. If you come to know any human being well enough, you eventually gain access to the basement where the traumas and wounds and deprivations are stored; rummage in there for a while, and you begin to understand the neuroses and fixations that shape his or her personality. The successful, reasonably happy people I've known are nuts in a way that works for them. Those who struggle and suffer fail to turn their preoccupations to some meaningful use. Next week, the American Psychiatric Association release the latest version of its bible of mental illnesses, the DSM-5, which catalogs about 300 categories of crazy. Critics of all kinds have lined up to assail this dictionary of disorders as subjective and lacking in scientific validity--assembled primarily to justify the prescribing of pills of dubious value.

About 50 percent of the population, the APA admits, will have one of its listed disorders at some point in their lives. Shy, like Emily Dickinson? You have "avoidant personality disorder." Obsessed with abstractions and numbers? You have "autistic spectrum disorder," like Isaac Newton. Suffer form "narcissistic personality disorder," with some hypersexuality thrown in? You must be a politician. To be skeptical of these neat categories isn't to deny that minds get broken, stuck, or lost, and need help finding their way out of misery. But psychotherapy remains an art, not a science; there is no bright line between nuts or not. If you're an old lady who lives amid piles of newspapers and personal treasures, you have "hoarding disorder." If you're a CEO who exploits sweatshop labor to pile up countless billions, you're on the cover of Forbes.


--William Faulk (editor-in-chief) in The Week, May 24, 2013 issue.
liveonearth: (Spidey: come into my parlour)
There are no poisons, only poisonous doses.
--Paracelsus

This is an old quote, but it comes fresh on my reading today that the FDA has reduced its recommended dosing for Zolpidem, that is, Ambien. Turns out, many people still had a lot of the drug in their blood in the morning, when they needed to function. Of course we the people already knew that. Women process the drug more slowly. And it also interacts in an unpleasant way with opiates. Many times modern medicine is guilty of overdosing people, especially as we get older and our liver and kidney function decline. So when in doubt, take the smallest possible dose, and if you're into homeopathy, take none and call it some.
liveonearth: (endless_knot)
Here: https://www.rxisk.org/Default.aspx
Looks like an interesting new site. Not sure how scientific or clinically useful it will turn out to be.
liveonearth: (critter 2)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/as-drug-industrys-influence-over-research-grows-so-does-the-potential-for-bias/2012/11/24/bb64d596-1264-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html?wpisrc=al_economy

2/3 of all articles about new drugs in the NEJM are at least co-authored by drug company employees. And it's getting worse. So don't believe what the "science" tells you about new drugs. Use old, established drugs, if you're going the Rx route. Wait until a new drug has been in use at least a decade before considering it. Let other people be the experimental subjects. That's my two cents.
liveonearth: (tiger approaching)
Medical researchers have discovered a new disease that has no symptoms. It is impossible to detect, and there is no known cure. Fortunately, no cases have been reported thus far.
--George Carlin
liveonearth: (Default)
And you thought you could trust a pharmaceutical company? LOL, probably not, you're smarter than that. GSK promoted off-label uses for two drugs, and didn't reveal safety information on another. (They make lots of vaccines, in case you don't know.) Scientific research done by corporations with a profit motive is guaranteed to be reported in a biased way. This will be the biggest fine ever paid by a drug company, and it might even big enough to serve as a disincentive to standard pharmaceutical policies of disinformation. Too bad that these drugs are what insurance will pay for, and not preventative care. And too bad that nobody goes to jail; the decisionmakers of GSK get to hide behind the corporation. Maybe their bonuses will get cut. I can only hope. I know there are humans behind these decisions. Humans with greed and pride where their love and compassion ought to be.

NEWS
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20990296/glaxosmithkline-pay-largest-health-care-fraud-fine-history?source=rss
http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/02/12525279-glaxosmithkline-settles-fraud-case-for-3-billion?lite
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/07/02/health-glaxosmithkline-fraud-settlement.html
liveonearth: (mad scientist's union)
The drug is also known as Bevacizumab. It's not approved but Medicare is still paying for it. It's the #1 selling cancer drug on the planet, made by Genetech, Inc that is owned by Roche. Why was it removed from FDA approval? Because there's no proof that it extends life at all, and has potentially life-threatening side effects. The side effects possible include severe hypertension, hemorrhage, heart attack and failure, and gastrointestinal perforations. Avastin is considered a last ditch option for metastatic breast cancer patients.

Why was it approved in the first place? Your guess is as good as mine. Money, probably. The cost for a year's treatment is $100,000, and it is covered by medicare. How's that for a bailout? That bailout of course is for the pharmaceutical companies. Genetech, and a bunch of patients, are lobbying hard to keep the drug as an option. Genetech says it does work, when combined with traditional chemo, and so is appealing the FDA decision. I wonder how much cashola the FDA will get back during the appeals process. The FDA approval happened while studies were in progress to prove its efficacy--but those studies turned out to prove no such thing.

SOURCES
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/fda-says-avastin-should-no-longer-be-used-for-breast-cancer-citing-no-proof-it-extends-life/2011/11/18/gIQAHJmHYN_story.html?wpisrc=al_national
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/171447/20110629/avastin-breast-cancer-genentech-fda-drug-roche.htm
liveonearth: (sexy tits)
Mercola breaks it down quite well in this article.
Here's the latest (Aug 2011) study.

Excellent article here by Dr Schor, on Aspirin/Cox inhibitors for breast cancer prevention or prevention of recurrence:
http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/article_content.asp?edition=1§ion=2&article=271&utm_source=Natural+Medicine+Journal+List&utm_campaign=6379125056-December_2011_Issue11_28_2011&utm_medium=email
Pearl: Over-expression of COX-2 occurs in about 40% of invasive breast cancer cases and is more common in large tumors, positive lymph nodes, ductal histology, and tumors that are high histological grade or hormone receptor–negative. Thus it makes even more sense to attempt to affect COX activity in women whose cancers fit these criteria.
liveonearth: (moon)
According to this short update on a new study that is. They tested 5 SSRI's on over 800 patients and found them "moderately" beneficial, with 3 of the SSRI's showing greater responses than the others. They want us to prescribe these antidepressants in addition to the antipsychotics that are standard 1st line therapies. My question: If the mechanisms of these 5 tested meds are the same, and presumably the doses are the same, why the difference in response among them? And how did placebo do? I'd like to know more about the stats--I don't just trust anybody's interpretation of stats these days. I certainly don't take for granted that anything medscape tells me is true, though I am interested in their conventional medicine perspective. Oh and I have more questions. What megacorp(s) made those 5 SSRI's? And what megacorp(s) paid for the research?

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