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Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

  View the entire March 2015 issue in PDF format

  • Ten Rules for Safer Drug Use
    (March 2015)
    Patients often wonder what steps they can take to minimize their chances of suffering a serious adverse drug reaction. This article reviews 10 simple rules developed by Public Citizen’s Health Research Group for ensuring safer drug use.
  • Public Citizen Highlights Efforts By Biologics Industry to Maintain Monopolies
    (March 2015)
    In his editor’s column, Dr. Michael Carome discusses how companies that make biologic medications are using their political clout to price-gouge and maintain indefinite monopolies on their products, costing consumers billions of dollars.
  • Public Citizen Joins Other Groups in Requesting Additional Warnings on CHANTIX Label
    (March 2015)
    In October 2014, Public Citizen joined four other consumer advocacy and research groups to petition the FDA to require stronger warnings on the label of the smoking cessation drug varenicline (CHANTIX). Learn about the drug’s severe psychiatric and neurological side effects that could potentially lead to fatal consequences.
  • Big Pharma’s Drug Assistance Programs: Harmless Charity?
    (March 2015)
    Pharmaceutical companies market patient assistance programs as a goodwill solution to assist patients who are struggling to pay for expensive prescription drugs. Find out why these programs may encourage physicians to prescribe more expensive drugs instead of less expensive, equally effective alternatives, including generic products.
  • More on Overprescribing Statins
    (March 2015)
    The most recently issued prescribing guidelines for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were partly based on a new patient risk calculator that significantly overestimates patients’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Learn how this overestimation will lead to overprescribing of statin drugs to patients who will not benefit from using them.
  • News Brief for March 2015
    (March 2015)
    In our news brief this month, we report on the FDA’s recent approval of a new, high-dose, extended-release formulation of the opioid drug oxycodone (HYSLINGA). Although this new version of the drug is designed to deter abuse, it may be more dangerous than other oxycodone products. Read this article to find out why.
  • Questions & Answers for March 2015
    (March 2015)
    In a new feature that will appear periodically in issues of Worst Pills, Best Pills News, we respond to some selected questions posed by our readers. In this month’s issue, we respond to questions regarding (a) whether the widely advertised drug adalimumab (HUMIRA) is a new wonder drug, and (b) what should you do if you are already taking rivaroxaban (XARELTO).

  View the entire February 2015 issue in PDF format

  • With Some Drugs, Crushing Tablets Or Opening Capsules Could Have Fatal Consequences
    (February 2015)
    Patients who have difficulty swallowing pills will sometimes crush tablets or open capsules and sprinkle the resulting powder, fragments or granules into food or liquids. Other patients will resort to chewing their pills before swallowing. Find out the dangers posed by taking such measures.
  • Congress, Justice Department Investigate Spiked Generic Drug Prices
    (February 2015)
    In 2014, alarm bells sounded as the prices of many commonly used generic drugs spiked, in some cases by staggering amounts. Read Dr. Michael Carome’s column to find out how Congress and the Justice Department are investigating this price gouging.
  • New Warnings on Common Heartburn Drugs: Too Little — and, for Some, Too Late
    (February 2015)
    After a more than three-year delay and a Public Citizen lawsuit filed against the FDA, the agency finally responded to our petition for stronger label warnings on a class of medications, known as proton pump inhibitors, commonly used to treat heartburn. This article discusses the new warnings that the FDA has required in response to our petition.
  • Does $760m a Year of Industry Funding Affect the FDA’s Drug Approval Process?
    (February 2015)
    This reprint of a British Medical Journal column by Health Research Group founder and former Worst Pills, Best Pills News editor Dr. Sidney Wolfe discusses how user fees paid by the drug industry to the FDA have compromised the agency’s drug review process and undermined drug safety.
  • New Recommendations to Prevent Complications During Pregnancy
    (February 2015)
    In 2014, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued new recommendations regarding the use of low-dose aspirin by pregnant women to reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition. Learn about the risk factors for this serious condition and who is most likely to benefit from taking low-dose aspirin.

  View the entire January 2015 issue in PDF format

  • Gambling, Hypersexuality And Compulsive Shopping: Drugs That Make You Lose Control
    (January 2015)
    Find out which drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome and the hormone disorder hyperprolactinemia can cause uncontrollable impulsive behaviors, including compulsive gambling and shopping, hypersexuality, and binge eating.
  • Republican Takeover of Senate Imperils Drug Safety
    (January 2015)
    Given the changes in the makeup of the U.S. Senate following the November elections, Congress is likely to pass new legislation that will weaken the FDA’s rules for ensuring that drugs are safe and effective. Read Dr. Michael Carome’s column to find out why.
  • New Evidence of Flaws in Approach to PRADAXA Dosing
    (January 2015)
    One of the supposed major advantages of the anticoagulant dabigatran (PRADAXA) touted by its manufacturer is that patients can take a fixed dose of the drug and do not need to undergo periodic monitoring with blood tests to adjust the dose. This article presents new research data that casts doubt on the safety of this fixed-dose approach.
  • News Briefs for January 2015
    (January 2015)
    In a new feature that will appear periodically in issues of Worst Pills, Best Pills News, we highlight recent important news items related to drug safety. In this month’s news briefs, we report on (a) a recent FDA warning about over-the-counter drugs that can make you drowsy; (b) action taken by the Federal Trade Commission against a company for false advertising of green coffee beans as a miracle weight loss remedy; and (c) the American Academy of Neurology’s position statement cautioning against the use of narcotic drugs for treatment of chronic noncancer pain.
  • CRESTOR Lacks Any Health Benefit for High Cholesterol; Likely to Increase Risk of Diabetes
    (January 2015)
    Since 2003, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group has advised readers not to use rosuvastatin (CRESTOR). Learn about the newest research indicating that rosuvastatin is more dangerous than other available statin drugs.
  • Sleep Disorder Treatment for Blind Persons May Be Marketed More Widely
    (January 2015)
    The FDA recently approved a drug for treatment of a sleep disorder that occurs primarily in people who are totally blind. Find out the name of this new drug and learn about concerns that the company may seek to market the drug to a much wider population of patients who are not blind.

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