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Learn why the FDA in October 2020 warned that pregnant women in general should avoid using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at about 20 weeks or later in pregnancy because of the rare risks of pregnancy complications and serious harm to an unborn baby.
In this article, we discuss key evidence supporting the conclusion that low-dose aspirin should not be used for the sole purpose of preventing any type of cancer, an indication for which the drug is not approved by the FDA.
Patients taking the commonly used blood thinner warfarin (COUMADIN, JANTOVEN) should be aware that it has clinically important interactions with numerous other prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as some dietary supplements.
If you do not have cardiovascular disease, you should not take aspirin to prevent a first heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event, particularly if you are over the age of 60, because the benefits of such treatment generally do not exceed its bleeding risk.
There are more than 1,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as certain herbal and dietary supplements, that are implicated in liver injury, and the list continues to grow.
Patients taking the commonly prescribed drug methotrexate, which is used to treat certain autoimmune diseases and several types of cancer, should be aware that it has clinically important interactions with many other prescription and over-the-counter medications.
For most people with hearing loss, the condition likely is age-related or due to long-term exposure to loud noise. But for some patients, the cause of the problem can be found in the medicine cabinet.
Millions of Americans take anticoagulants on a long-term basis to prevent the formation of potentially harmful clots. Learn why such patients should avoid using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Aspirin is widely used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in the elderly. Read this article to learn whether such use of aspirin is the right choice for you.
Read about the many prescription and over-the-counter medications that can interact in dangerous ways with clopidogrel, a widely used anti-platelet drug.
Overdosing on commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can increase your risk of potentially serious adverse effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage. Learn how to protect yourself from unintentional overdoses of these medications.
Many adverse drug reactions are severe enough to cause serious injury, hospitalization and even death. Find out which outpatient medications are most likely to cause adverse events that necessitate a visit to the emergency room.
For most people with hair loss, the condition usually is age-related or due to the genes they inherited from their parents. But for some patients, the cause of the problem can be found in the medicine cabinet. Learn about some commonly used medications that can cause hair loss.
For most people with hearing loss, the condition likely is age-related or due to long-term exposure to loud noise. But for some patients, the cause of the problem can be found in the medicine cabinet. Learn about some commonly used medications that can cause hearing disorders.
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.
If you are one of the millions of patients in the U.S. who take blood thinners on a long-term basis to prevent potentially harmful clots in the heart, veins or arteries, read this article to learn why you should avoid taking NSAIDS or aspirin unless absolutely necessary.
Perhaps you have seen some of the recent newspaper coverage of a National Cancer Institute-funded study suggesting that long-term aspirin use may be associated with a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer. In this article, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group reviews the study, compares it with earlier evidence and offers our recommendations.
What kind of headache is not relieved by pain medications but actually caused by their frequent overuse? The article describes which painkillers can cause medication overuse headaches (MOH) when used too frequently over specified durations of time.
The article reviews a recent petition to the FDA seeking improvements on the labels of prescription opioids (narcotics). The label change would prevent drug companies from promoting these drugs for noncancer pain for dangerously long periods of time, at doses that are too high, and for uses other than severe pain in noncancer patients. The petition was signed by 37 public health experts, including leaders in the fields of pain medicine, addiction and primary care; the health commissioners of New York City and New York state; and Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
There is little doubt from earlier studies that using aspirin to prevent cardiovascular death in patients who already have cardiovascular disease is effective. A new review found that aspirin, taken daily or every other day in low doses for primary prevention of cardiovascular death in patients without existing cardiovascular disease, was not effective in these patients in either reducing cardiovascular death or death from cancer. It did, however, increase clinically important bleeding events in these patients.
The article discusses why taking certain antidepressants after a heart attack may increase the risk of bleeding. Find out which ones are the culprits.
What kinds of prescription and over-the-counter products are responsible for the unintentional ingestion of these drugs by children? Such poisonings result in the hospitalization, admission to intensive care units and injury of thousands of children a year. How can they be prevented?
This article discusses the dangerous interactions that can occur when using methotrexate (TREXALL) with certain other drugs. See our list of 27 drugs you should never take with methotrexate.
This article discusses the greatly increased risk of bleeding with some widely-used antidepressant drugs and provides information that the FDA has not yet required be included in the patient Medication Guides for these drugs.
This article discusses the fairly narrow range of daily aspirin doses most safe and effective for preventing heart disease.
This article explains the dangers of using ibuprofen (MOTRIN, ADVIL) because it interferes with the protective effect of low-dose aspirin to prevent blood clots and protect against heart attacks or strokes. Find out how these two widely-used therapies have a harmful interaction and what you should do.
If you have had a previous heart attack or stroke or have blood vessel disease, you should be on aspirin treatment rather than clopidogrel with or without aspirin. You should only take clopidogrel if you cannot tolerate aspirin.
If you are healthy, you should not undertake aspirin treatment for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease without consulting your physician about whether you are at high enough risk to benefit.
If you have had a previous heart attack, stroke, or have blood vessel disease you should be on aspirin treatment rather than clopidogrel unless you cannot tolerate aspirin, or aspirin treatment has failed.
If you are now taking ticlopidine and cannot take aspirin, talk to your doctor about clopidogrel.
A high frequency of drug intake to manage headache pain may mean that you have a condition known as medication overuse headache (MOH). According to the International Headache Society, MOH may exist when the following criteria are fulfilled: (1) there is headache on 15 or more days a month; (2) pain characteristics are dull, and of light to moderate intensity on both sides of the head; (3) drug intake includes ergots, triptans and opioids (these drugs are discussed below) for 10 or more days per month, simple painkillers 15 days or more for a minimum of 3 months; and (4) the headache disappears after withdrawal.
Aspirin is the preferred preventive treatment for those who have already had a heart attack (secondary prevention), at least for the majority of people who are not intolerant to aspirin. However, the lack of evidence of an aspirin benefit in the primary prevention of heart attack is clearly outweighed by the increased risk of bleeding from aspirin, and you should not use aspirin for the primary prevention of heart attacks.
Warnings: Reye’s syndrome: Children and teenagers should not use this medicine for chicken pox or flu symptoms before a doctor is consulted about Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness reported to be associated with aspirin.
Ephedra, or ma huang, the natural form of the stimulant ephedrine, the most infamous and dangerous drug found in dietary supplements sold for weight loss, is at last beginning to receive the negative notoriety it deserves. Ephedra causes heart attacks and strokes because of its ability to raise blood pressure and heart rate. Article discusses the risk of other dietary supplements.
This is the first of a two part series on drug induced psychiatric symptoms that is based on the July 8, 2002 issue of The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics. Regular readers of Worst Pills, Best Pills News will recognize The Medical Letter as a reference source written for physicians and pharmacists that we often use because of its reputation as an objective and independent source of drug information. The article lists the drugs and their psychiatric adverse effects.