Category: Pharmaceuticals

Should women use reproductive hormones? There is growing evidence of higher risk, yet little research is happening to study alternatives to oral contraception or HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Why aren’t researchers and clinicians talking about the risks of continuous use of reproductive hormones by women throughout their life cycle? More than a decade ago, a […]

Drugs are here to stay but the way they should be used is changing. It started with antibiotics – too many are unnecessary. Now many drugs are prescribed for courses that are too long. No ‘one-size-fits-all’ – neither for the choice of drug nor the duration of use. More than two thirds of antibiotic courses for acute […]

Does legislation really make a difference to the health of women? A quarter of a century ago, the USA legislated in the Women’s Health Equity Act to remove the inequalities between men and women in medical research. More recently, Health Canada recommended comparative studies in healthy male and/or female volunteers to minimize variability. Nonetheless, nothing has really […]

What goes in must come out – in some form or another. Our bodies are relatively efficient processing systems, so when we have extracted what we require from pharmaceutical agents, the rest is excreted in urine and faeces and finally makes its way to our wastewater.  Seventy-two percent of these pharmaceuticals end up in our […]

Do drugs really lose their potency and if they do are they really a danger to us? The recent decision by the FDA to extend the shelf life of EpiPens beyond what is on the label has challenged conventional thinking about the long-term safety of stored drugs – and it’s about time. Unfortunately, there is very […]

Pharmaceutical names are an important part of branding products. They are designed to encode a message about the product. Older names were focussed on the clinical aspects of a drug. Sometimes they alluded to the disease such as Procardia for heart problems and Tamiflu for influenza treatment. Other names related to what the drug does […]

Recycling old drugs is not new.  Clinicians quite often prescribe treatments with drugs that are “off label”, that is, proven for other conditions. Up to one-fifth of all available drugs are prescribed off-label. Almost 90% of drugs that are approved for one condition have other conditions that they can treat. Fortunately, most off-label uses are […]

One in three adults use daily medicines that don’t require prescriptions. Most of these over the counter (OTC) medications are our first treatment for common problems such as pains, aches, sprains, colds and rashes. Non-prescribed use of pain killers comes in fourth in the list of most frequently used drugs: behind alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, […]

Patients know how to take holidays from their illnesses. In one study of patients on blood pressure medications, half of them stopped treatment within a year of starting and the other half had at least one drug holiday every year. Drug holidays can also extend life It seems you can miss a few doses and […]

A recent study found that the following terms – used by media to attract our attention especially on quiet news days – are no more than pollutants: “breakthrough”, “game changer”, “miracle”, “cure”, “home run”, “revolutionary”, “transformative”, “life saver”, “groundbreaking” and “marvel”. Researchers identified 36 drugs associated with these terms in press releases where the hyperbole […]

Living longer increases our likelihood of experiencing more than one chronic health problem at a time. At least one in two older people have more than one chronic disorder with an average number of conditions ranging between 2.5 and 6.5. That is a heavy burden for one person. Co-morbidity or multimorbidity, as it is now […]