Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Ethical Decision: Should Vegans and Vegetarians Take Medications?

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may have agonized over the fact that taking almost any medical treatment is, in effect, saying yes to animal exploitation.This article suggests a pro-animal and pro-health approach that you may not have considered.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There is Room for Improvement in Doctors' Communication Skills When Delivering Bad News Such as a Cancer Diagnosis

Being told you have cancer is hard enough without having to deal with receiving the news in an insensitive or impersonal way or without privacy. This article discusses ways in which patients have learned that news and under what conditions they have been the most satisfied with their doctors.
There is Room for Improvement in Doctors' Skills When Delivering Bad News

Friday, July 23, 2010

Negative Beliefs Worsen Chronic Pain and Depression in Patients with Back Problems

If you are caught in a vicious cycle of negative beliefs, depression, and back pain, this article is a worthwhile read.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Touch Deprivation and the Value of Infant Massage

Every human has a basic need to be touched. Babies don't thrive and sometimes do not survive if they are not touched, in spite of modern medical interventions, good food, and clean environments. Infant massage is a fast-growing discipline that is being practiced more and more in infant intensive care units and it is being offered in massage therapy schools to community therapists and to doctors and nurses who care for medically fragile infants. Learn more about the dangers of touch deprivation and the value of infant massage.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ORS: Stinking Thinking

Imagine how horrible it would be if your body gave off offensive odors that you could not seem to do anything about. Olfactory Reference Syndrome is a mental condition where sufferers imagine just that. It causes them to constantly seek out health care practitioners who can help and they sometimes resort to unnecessary surgeries. ORS can ruin careers and relationships and even increase the risk of suicide. Read more about this delusional disorder.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Plant-Based Sources of B12

I started being a vegetarian because of my love for animals (and my preference for fruits and vegetables) without educating myself about any nutrients that might be missing from my diet. I have always been anemic and after almost 30 years of vegetarianism, I have some damage to my optic nerve--I'm guessing from vitamin B12 deficiency. Since B12 is stored in the body, health problems such as nerve damage may not show up for years. You cannot do without this important vitamin. Find out more about plant-based sources of vitamin B12.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Black Cohosh No Help for Osteoporosis

Black cohosh is offered up by many herbal sellers as a preventive for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Past research studies showed changes in the body in women past menopause that should translate into better bone density results. However, the first study that evaluated bone density results directly has shown black cohosh to be ineffective for osteoporosis. Exercise is still the gold standard.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Cell Phone Use a Health Hazard?

United Kingdom, along with Finland, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark have embarked upon a very ambitious 30-year-long study to see if cell phone use can be linked to human diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and cancer.

A similar undertaking was tried, and it failed, in Germany. Privacy of research volunteers was its downfall.

Find out all the details about the new study.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hypochondriasis is a Real Human Disease

Health anxiety is behind Hypochondriasis. Having a close acquaintance contract a serious or life-threatening disease is a risk factor for developing hypochondriasis. Hypochondriacs attribute exaggerated significance to every body sensation. Read more about this real disease so that you can have a better understanding if someone close to you has this real human disease with its own risk factors, causes, and possible treatments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Brand Name Recognition is No Way to Select Over-the-Counter Medications

One of the reasons I started this blog was to help reveal public confusion or habits that I believe to be dangerous. One of the worst is the habit of using advertising hype to select an over-the-counter medication. In this article, I prove to consumers why it is so necessary to read ingredient lists and understand them. Failure to do so can result in medication errors.

Understanding that manufacturers find a brand name that sells on one product and then use that same brand name on other products, with different ingredients, raises awareness of the dangers. A case in point, Wyeth uses the familiar brand name Robitussin on at least 16 different products.

Please read on to find out how why brand name recognition is no way to select over-the-counter products.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Visual Learning for a Healthy Baby: How Babies Learn to See

A healthy baby needs proper visual stimuli and light as well as healthy eyes for visual learning to proceed normally. Yep! Babies learn to see in a stepwise process just like they learn anything else. This article helps parents to understand the processes of visual learning and why it is important for a healthy baby. Find out how babies learn to see and how to support their visual learning process.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Clonidine: Blood Pressure Medicine is a Dangerous New Target for Drug Abuse

Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine that was found to help with the symptoms of withdrawal in patients with drug and alcohol addiction. Because it can prolong the effects of expensive drugs that are abused, it is now a dangerous new target for drug abuse. In high doses, it can give a user a "high."

Clonidine can cause dangerously low blood pressure, especially in high doses. Abrupt discontinuation of clonidine can cause withdrawal symptoms of its own, including rebound high blood pressure, stroke, and death.

Learn more about why this blood pressure medicine is now a new target for drug abuse.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Roller Coaster World of Children with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes mood swings in children that can occur many times during a day. One minute they are up, tireless, charming, and motivated. The next minute they are withdrawn, morose, depressed, and fatigued. No child should have to endure this roller coaster ride when the disease can be treated.

Suicide is a major risk of bipolar disorder in children. This article will help parents learn the warning signs and point them toward a solution.

The story of Daniel Kidney is a sad but "awareness raising" read.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tips for Obese Patients with Severe Allergies

There is concern that obese patients may not get rapid relief from severe allergic reactions when using EpiPen or Twinject auto-injectors of epinephrine. Patients with a deeper fat layer beneath the skin may receive the epinephrine subcutaneously with auto-injectors, but the medication needs to reach the muscle to work the way it was intended.

This article will give obese patients some tips on getting the dose into the muscle the way it was intended.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Choosing OTC Itch Remedies

Manufacturers claims like "maximum strength" or "doctor recommended" or "without a prescription" may dupe consumers into selecting a product that is no better than another, less expensive product.

I want people to learn to select products based on active ingredients. It's really simple. Most itch remedies that you buy at the pharmacy or grocery store contain hydrocortisone. It is available without a prescription in only two strengths--1/2% and 1%. Maximum strength means nothing more than it has 1% hydrocortisone.

The claim "doctor recommended" does not mean anything. To be a true statement, it could have been recommended by only one doctor.

My article helps you quickly and easily sort through claims and you can have the confidence of knowing what you are doing when selecting a topical itch remedy. The article also gives a quick overview of how to choose between a gel, lotion, spray, ointment, or cream. After reading the article, you'll be equipped to make an information-based selection of and OTC remedy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Buying OTC medications can be so confusing because manufacturers are allowed to put the same brand name on multiple products with different ingredients. Consumers rely heavily on what the package claims promise!

As a pharmacist, I am attempting to simplify OTC choices for consumers by helping them learn to read the ingredients of products and decide based on that.

My latest article is "Choosing OTC Medication for Uncomplicated Vaginal Yeast Infection in Nonpregnant Women." It will help women make an informed and easy choice between many brands with many product claims.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Contrave: New Investigational Weight Loss Drug

Contrave seems to offer advantages over previously available weight loss products, but it is my opinion that it is never a good first option to go on a weight loss medication. First, patients need to shine a bright light on lifestyle habits. All of the trials with this investigational drug were done with patients taking part in a diet and exercise program, so results showing effectiveness cannot be separated out to prove the effectiveness of the medication alone.

Read about Contrave.

Webmd has a good article about how Prescription Weight Loss Drugs work.

This article from Mayo Clinic supports my contention that changing your eating habits and incorporating exercise into your daily routine are essential first steps toward correcting obesity: Weight Loss Drugs: Can a Prescription Help You Lose Weight?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Pharmacist Compares Triptan Migraine Medications


Prescription migraine medications in the triptan class off drugs are available in oral forms, nasal spray, and injectables. This article will help you compare the different triptans with respect to onset of action, duration of relief, side effects, and contraindications.

The only injectable triptan on the market has been one called Imitrex. It uses a needle to deliver its dose. A new triptan called Sumavel DosePro is expected out very soon. Its claim to fame is that it is an injectable triptan that does not use a needle.

If you are a migraine sufferer, this article will help you take responsibility for your health by letting you see which triptan medication is likely to be right for you.

If you are interested in reading more about the new injectable Sumavel DosePro, you can read what its manufacturer has to say.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Pharmacist Gives Advice About High-Altitude Travel

If you have a ski trip or other trek to a high-altitude destination planned, this article will help you be prepared. Most of the time, high-altitude travel presents mild and short-lived symptoms, but if you are one of the unlucky ones that gets more uncomfortable, your doctor can help.

This article discusses two prescription medications that can be used for high-altitude symptoms, including side effects of the medications and what to do about them.

You will also learn what OTC medication can be taken for symptoms and who might need to take special precautions when traveling to high altitudes.

Knowing the symptoms of hypokalemia (low potassium) is important for everyone, even those who do not plan high-altitude travel. This article will tell you what to watch for and it lists a few high-potassium-content foods.

Read the entire article here: A Pharmacist Gives Advice About High-Altitude Travel

Princeton University has a good guide to high altitudes and how to acclimate to them. In addition to other good information, it tells what causes the symptoms and gives other good information about treatment, prevention, and cure of high-altitude illness.