Why do doctors abuse prescription drugs? If you thought the answer was "Because life is an unrelenting series of brutalizing emotions and memories and regrets and even in those rare moments when you forget just exactly how awful things are and you are almost relaxed enough to enjoy a short spell of, if not exactly happiness, at least not feeling like each and every wall is closing in and the end is near and the pain will never stop, there is still a small voice in the back of your brain that pops up to say, 'Hey, don't forget about trouble, because it will surely find you, and it [...]
A generic version of the widely-used Liptor anti-cholesterol drug is being recalled because the pills are full of "glass particles," which we guess is a bad thing? People take so many pills!
And you know how the generics are always a lot cheaper, and who cares because it's not like the brand of the medicine is something you care about? Well, one reason these particular pills are cheaper is because they come from some sketchy factory in India—far away from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which does a pretty lousy job of protecting the food and medicine supply right here in the United States. For instance, one of [...]
If you haven't yet heard of him over the years, Stanislaw Burzynski operates a clinic in Houston where he runs pay-per-entry "clinical trials" for people with cancer for something called antineoplaston therapy. People spent thousands and thousands of dollars to enter these trials. And when the doctor is questioned in print about the efficacy of this treatment, a guy named Marc Stephens writes angry, harassing, legal-esque rants to the writer, as he did to this 17-year-old Welsh blogger and this writer at The Quackometer. It's funny, this Marc Stephens doesn't really act like a lawyer, because he does things like including Google Maps screenshots of the [...]
A corner of the Internet went up in flames yesterday. John Byrne at Raw Story had a disturbing headline: "Doctor testing drug to â€˜prevent' lesbianism, interest in â€˜male careers.'" Dan Savage wrote on the same topic: "Doctor Treating Pregnant Women With Experimental Drug To Prevent Lesbianism." Both stories express outrage that doctors and expectant parents are attempting to interfere with sexual orientation in utero. But this treatment, prenatal dexamethasone, isn't being given to anyone at all in order to prevent lesbianism.
The FDA is warning that Alli-GlaxoSmithKline's shit-yourself-thin weight loss drug-is being sold on the Internet in a counterfeit form, which contains "a different active ingredient that could react badly with other medications." Signs that you might have the fake version of Alli include different cardboard packaging, slightly taller bottles, and the fact that you are shitting yourself less.
Medical notes from Prison Island: "Exhausted Australian doctors have been told to drink up to six cups of coffee a day to stay awake during extended shifts, building pressure on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to seize control of state-run hospitals. A document on fatigue management released by health officials in Queensland state recommended doctors ingest 400 milligrams of caffeine to stay awake on the job, or the equivalent of six cups of coffee, after warnings that patients were dying."
I frequently meet people, most of them young and poor, who are burdened by debts to emergency rooms, and I am always shocked that these people with no money are even considering paying. Here is how it is done, in a strangely servicey explanation from Vice.
"Swallowing a handful of feces-filled pills might not sound like a medical breakthrough, but for patients like Shawn Mulligan of Calgary, Canada, the unconventional new treatment has been nothing less than a cure."
"Underwear designed to jolt the buttocks with electricity may be able to prevent dangerous open wounds called pressure sores, claim researchers… Doctors at the University of Calgary tested underwear which placed two pads of electrodes on each cheek. Patients who were unable to move because of a spinal cord injury were zapped with 10 seconds of stimulation every 10 minutes for 12 hours a day." —Sometimes experiments that sound really terrible and cruel on paper end up being totally worth it. Cattle-prod underpants: a good thing for the world.
"The Obama administration rescinded most of a federal regulation Friday designed to protect health workers who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on personal or religious grounds," putting our nation's medical personnel at risk of catching gay. Why does Obama hate America so much?
Love this: "In what is being billed as 'rationalism's Kool-Aid moment', a mass 'overdose' is being planned next week in protest at the marketing of homoeopathic medicines. More than 300 people who style themselves as 'homoeopathy sceptics' will each swallow an entire bottle of homoeopathic pills in protest at the continued marketing of homoeopathic medicines by Boots, the high street chemist chain."
Here is some excellent news: "[R]esearch reported today in the journal Heart found that men who consume large or very large amounts of alcohol are least at risk of developing [coronary heart disease], which kills more than 90,000 Britons a year. Men who drink regularly, even in small quantities, are more than 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease, it found. But those who drink the most cut their risk by the most. Those classed as high consumers of alcohol, between 30 and 90 grams per day, had 54% less chance of getting the disease, while those deemed to have a very high intake, of more than 90 [...]
Something about the combination of Ted Kennedy being concerned about the forthcoming vacancy of his Senate seat (because of, perhaps, his own forthcoming vacancy) and the big palliative care article in the Times was, unsurprisingly, totally gloom-inducing! For instance, this part: "In one study by Dr. Christakis, doctors who privately believed that patients had 75 days to live told them they had 90; the actual median survival period was 26 days." I am never going to see my doctor again! Who is younger than me. And totally a liar, no doubt. Although before that, when I went to see a gay doctor who was like 15 years older [...]
Modern women, are you constantly feeling "drunk" even when you've had a break from drinking—perhaps during the six-hour break from alcohol known as bedtime? The latest problem you have may be more than a recycling bin full of wine bottles. The quack doctor who always writes those no-questions-asked 'scrips (recommended by the quack psychiatrist who keeps your amphetamine jar filled) may be double-dosing you with Ambien, the wildly popular sleeping pill that suffocates your nightly mental battle with the bug-eyed entities grandma called "demons" and your parents called "aliens" and your college friends called "machine elves" and your dog just barks at insanely, night after night. Why do [...]
One thing aspirin is not: polarizing. If you are going to have a tiff with a friend, aspirin will not be the topic. Aspirin is actually a great unifier—it’s one of the sundries that can be found in every home across the country. Aspirin is easy to find, and it is here to help. With all sorts of things, of course, but between you and me, mostly hangovers. And people who are paranoid of incipient heart disease, they also are big aspirin fans.
"There's little doubt this treatment has an image problem. Feces, including important bowel flora, is transferred from a volunteer donor—screened to limit possible other infections—into the colon of the infected patient. The treatment can be administered by a colonoscope or an enema, or by the mouth or the nose." —A terrible disease, the Clostridium difficile bug, can cause severe diarrhea, blood poisoning and lead to death, and has proven highly resistant to anti-biotics. But Sydney-based gastroenterologist Thomas Borody has developed an amazingly successful cure. And given the choice, most patients say, "Yes, please, put someone else's poop inside me." So this is a very good, important thing. Now [...]
Medical researchers from Knifecrime Island are concerned about a resurgence of rickets, the bone-deforming disease last popular in those precincts during the Victorian era. Rickets' big comeback is blamed on Vitamin D-deficiency in children, mostly due to the fact that kids today rarely venture out into the light of the sun, what with the all modern world's sedentary pleasures. But this is not just a British problem; even in civilized nations like our own the disease is becoming more prevalent. I blame that lady who told everyone to wear sunscreen.
"They've gone a bit over the top. Essentially this is just about removing a bit of loose flesh, leaving behind an elegant-looking labia with minimum scarring. The procedure won't interfere with sexual function. Women want this for a number of reasons – some find it uncomfortable to ride a bike for instance, but for the majority it is aesthetic, that's true. Lads' mags are looked at by girlfriends, and make them think more about the way they look. We live in times where we are much more open about our bodies – and changing them – and labioplasty is simply a part of this." -British plastic surgeon Douglas McGeorge [...]
If you're holding Percocet or Vicodin, start hoarding (also, come sit by me): An FDA advisory panel has recommended that the pills be taken off the market because the acetaminophen in them tends to blow up your liver when taken at high doses or with alcohol. The move has been condemned by some doctors who worry that it will have an adverse impact on patients who use the pills to combat severe pain, but let's be honest: Most of you guys use it because it gives you that sweet, fucked up, itchy underwater feeling. Get ready to start lying to your friends about how you're all out while surreptitiously [...]