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The Dr. B Health Blog

Important health-related topics and discussions with Sam Benjamin, M.D.

Medicines

Subcategories from this category: Blood Thinners, Aspirin, Antibiotics

Another Reason to Stop Antibiotics Unless You Really Need Them

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
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on Monday, May 21, 2012
in Antibiotics

ZithromaxA study with azithromycin (you all know the famous Z Pak or one of the brand names Zithromax) showed a slightly higher rate of death among adult patients taking the drug compared to those on other antibiotics. (There have been other studies suggesting dangers to children as well by the way.)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA said it was aware of the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, comparing Zithromax to Bayer's Cipro and Johnson & Johnson's Levaquin.(Neither of these drugs are without serious side effects as well by the way.) Pfizer's Zithromax showed a slightly higher rate of death due to heart complications- sudden death that may be associated with an altered heart rhythm.

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Tags: anti, antibiotics

READ THIS EDITORIAL ABOUT DRUG TESTING BEFORE RECEIVING WELFARE THEN READ MY COMMENTARY BELOW

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
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on Wednesday, April 25, 2012
in Medicines

Drug-testing welfare recipients costs more money than it saves

By Alicia Caldwell
Editorial Writer, DenverPost.com

I can't say I was surprised to see this New York Times story conclude Florida gleaned no savings from drug-testing welfare recipients.

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ACCUTANE BY ANY OTHER NAME

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
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on Thursday, April 19, 2012
in Medicines
  1. As if there is ANY reason to take this stuff, Isotretinoin, which goes by brand names  Roaccutane, Claravis and Amnesteem (and used to be called Accutane), is already and indisputably known to have serious side effects, such as delays in bone growth in adolescents and spontaneous abortions in pregnant women. Now this drug that should be off the market and which is used to treat cystic acne has been linked to an increased risk of eye problems such as pink eye, styes, and dryness. The data is from a large Israeli study and reported in Archives of Dermatogy on line.
  2. The manufacture, Roche says that 16 million people around the world have used this product. But, in this Israeli study 14% of those that used the drug within the first year required treatment for an eye condition.(I should point out that people with acne do have a higher incidence of eye conditions, but, nowhere near this number)!

Amazingly, instead of saying do everything you can not to have a loved one take this drug unless it is the LAST resort, one of the authors advises people to have users’ eyes checked every 3 months!Acne can be terrible.  I am not downplaying really bad acne, but there are other options- lots of other options that should be considered first. Let’s explore those in future installments. In the meantime, STAY AWAY FROM THIS DRUG. It’s dangers are MORE THAN SKIN DEEP!!!!!!

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Depression

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
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on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
in Medicines

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosHaving been a battered child, I have known depression. Often alone, and with no support, I wondered if there was any reason to live. Somehow, I survived at a time when seeing a therapist was a luxury I could not afford and my general practitioner did not even prescribe antidepressants. Why and how I made it is not germane to this blog entry. A day does not go by that I do not remember the despondency and while I wish that I did not have to undergo the anguish, surviving gave me strength that has carried through to the present.

I do not want to sound macho or callous, but sometimes our personal pain leads to personal strength. For me, it has led to a real appreciation of the happiness and joy I feel every day being alive, seeing my wife and children and enjoying what I do as a physician. I am not saying that depression is a good thing, but sometimes its’ contrast with “normal” life builds depth of character and we may be better for it. Clearly, the degree of depression may merit the kind of help that one might get from a talk therapist or from anti-depressants. But, I do believe that we are too quick to seek out drugs when we feel sad, challenged, or anxious. Sometimes, one might just want to wait a bit and try to work things out from within. It’s that same “quick fix”- “I can’t stand the pain.” that has made us so dependent on prescription pain medications like the opiates.

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EYECIPROCITY

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
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on Tuesday, April 10, 2012
in Medicines
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Here is yet another reason why you need to REALLY be thinking hard about why you are getting and/or why you are demanding antibiotics from your health care provider.If you have been listening to my radio show, or following my blogs, you already know that we are all in great danger because of the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics. Also, the wanton use of antibiotics in animals (agriculture) have both  contributed to microbes (germs) that are COMPLETELY resistant to antibiotics. Thousands have died this year in Australia as a result of resistant germs and this  frightening story is being replicated around the world. Yet, I still meet patients in my office who ignore this because 'THEY" really "need" the antibiotic. Just yesterday one of my patients told me that Cipro ( a commonly prescribed antibiotic)  works for her "all the time" when she has a bronchitis (Which, by the way, is typically a virus that does not require antibiotics). Her previous doctor would prescribe it over the phone because he "knew her"!

Well, let's see if this new research will make you Cipro users think twice and maybe you might wonder if all antibiotics carry more than the copay as a price tag you hadn't thought about.

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