Worst Pills, Best Pills

An expert, independent second opinion on more than 1,800 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements

phenobarbital (LUMINAL, SOLFOTON)


DISEASE AND DRUG FAMILY INFORMATION

Search results below include Disease and Drug Family Information where your selected drug is a secondary subject of discussion.

Vitamins and Minerals
One promotional strategy of supplement suppliers is to make people worry about whether they are getting enough nutrients. But do most people really need to take vitamins and minerals to supplement their diets? Or are they a waste of money? Are there better alternatives to taking supplements to ensure adequate nutrition? This section will attempt to answer these questions and help you sort through the fact and fiction surrounding nutritional supplements.
Sleeping Pills and Tranquilizers
Older adults have a much more difficult time eliminating benzodiazepines and similar drugs from their bloodstreams and these drugs can thus accumulate in their bodies. Also, older adults are more sensitive to the effects of many of these drugs than are younger adults. For older adults the risk of serious adverse drug effects is significantly increased. Serious adverse effects may include: unsteady gait, dizziness, falling (causing an increased risk of hip fractures), increased risk of an auto accident, drug-induced or drug-worsened impairment of thinking, memory loss, and addiction.
Depression: When are Drugs Called For And Which Ones Should You Use?
Ironically, one of the kinds of depression that should not be treated with drugs is depression caused by other kinds of drugs. If someone is depressed and the depression started after beginning a new drug, it may well be drug-caused. Commonly used drugs known to cause depression include the following:

DRUG AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENT PROFILES

A comprehensive review of the safety and effectiveness of this drug. If the drug is not a Do Not Use product, information on adverse effects, drug interactions and how to use the medication are included.
Search results below include Drug and Dietary Supplement Profiles where your selected drug is a secondary subject of discussion.

dexmethylphenidate (FOCALIN, FOCALIN XR)
  • We list this drug as a Do Not Use drug because it has no advantage over similar drugs with longer safety records.
zaleplon (SONATA)
  • We list this drug as a Do Not Use drug because it is less effective than related drugs and can cause addiction.
butalbital, acetaminophen and caffeine (ESGIC PLUS, FIORICET); butalbital, caffeine and aspirin (FIORINAL); butalbital, caffeine, aspirin and codeine (FIORINAL WITH CODEINE)
  • We list these drugs as Do Not Use drugs because they are irrational combinations that include drugs that are unsafe or ineffective.

WORST PILLS, BEST PILLS NEWSLETTER ARTICLES

Search results below include Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles where your selected drug is a secondary subject of discussion.

Review of Phenytoin, a Best Pill for Seizures
September 2020
Medications are the mainstay of treatment for most patients with seizure disorders, and more than two dozen such drugs have been approved by the FDA. We review one of the oldest seizure drugs, phe¬nytoin (DILANTIN, PHENYTEK). Patients using the drug need to be aware of its many potentially serious adverse effects.
St. John’s Wort: No ‘Wonder Remedy’ for Depression
February 2016
St. John’s wort, an over-the-counter herbal supplement, has been around for centuries, and many patients have been using it in recent years to self-medicate for depression. In this article, we explain why St. John’s wort should not be used to treat this disease.
Drug Mix-Ups
June 2011
This article lists 355 drugs with names that are often confused with similar-sounding drug names. Find out what you can do to prevent getting the wrong drug.
Drug-Induced Cognitive Impairment: Part One
March 2009
The article lists 57 different drugs that can cause dementia if used. This can be even more problematic if more than one of these drugs is being taken. These drugs are only one class of drugs that can cause mental deterioration and next month's issue will discuss additional drugs that can also impair thinking.
Watch out for Interactions Between Drugs for Erectile Dysfunction and Other Medications
January 2009
The article lists 56 drugs that can interact with the three drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED): sildenafil (VIAGRA), tadalafil (CIALIS) and vardenafil (LEVITRA). Eight of the drugs are either nitrates such as nitroglycerin or a certain group of high blood pressure drugs.In combination with ED drugs, these drugs can cause a dangerous fall in blood pressure that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Thirty-two other drugs can inhibit the enzyme that helps the body to eliminate the ED drugs, resulting in abnormally high blood levels of the drugs and a potentially harmful "overdose" even though you are actually taking the recommended amount. The other 16 drugs speed up the metabolism of the ED drugs, thereby lowering the blood levels and reducing the effectiveness of the ED drugs.
Massive Misprescribing of Inappropriate Drugs to Hospitalized Elderly Patients
September 2008
A nationwide study published in spring 2008 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine showed that nearly half (49 percent) of almost 500,000 hospital patients older than 65 have been prescribed one or more of 92 drugs known to be unnecessarily unsafe for older patients. 10,000 of these patients had four or more of these inappropriate medicines prescribed during their hospitalization. Among the most common categories of adverse drug reactions these inappropriately prescribed drugs can cause are excessive sedation, abnormally low blood pressure and bleeding. We list the 92 drugs in the article and give further details about the kinds of side effects these drugs can cause.
Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Certain Medications or Diseases
August 2008
The article discusses 273 drugs that can have harmful interactions with alcohol. Also reviewed are several ways in which these harmful interactions can occur: 1/ Medications Can Increase Alcohol Blood Levels 2/ Additive effects of medications and alcohol. One of the best- known drug-alcohol interactions is when alcohol, a depressant, is taken with other sedative medications, and excessive sedation or depression of respiration can occur 3/Alcohol can increase the blood levels of some medications leading to toxicity of these drugs. 4/ Alcohol also can reduce blood levels of some medications causing them to be less effective. Although some of the interactions between alcohol and medications mainly occur in people who drink heavily (three or more drinks on one occasion), many of these interactions may occur with much lower amounts of alcohol use, such as one to two drinks on an occasion. We strongly urge you to tell your physicians and other health care providers how much alcohol you are drinking so they can effectively assess the risks and advise you about the safe use of alcohol and medications.
Calcium Channel Blocker Drug Interactions
May 2008
This article lists more than 60 prescription drugs that can interact with calcium channel blocking drugs such as amlodipine (NORVASC),diltiazem (CARDIZEM, DILACOR XR TIAZAC)or nifedipine (PROCARDIA)to either cause toxicity or to lessen the effectiveness of the calcium channel blocking drugs. Included in the lists are a number of drugs that we list in Worst Pills, Best Pills as DO NOT USE or LIMITED USE drugs. The article also explains the different kinds of toxicity that can ensue from these interactions.
Drug Interactions: Warfarin (COUMADIN)
December 2007
This article explains how to understand the International Normalized Ratio (INR), a test applied to a sample of a patient’s blood to determine how “thin” it is when you are using the blood thinner COUMADIN (warfarin). In addition, the article lists more than 50 drugs or dietary supplements that can interact harmfully with COUMADIN to cause the blood to be too thin (abnormal bleeding) or not thin enough which could result in lessening the effect of COUMADIN in stopping blood clot formation.
Do Not Use! Dexmethylphenidate (FOCALIN) - a Methylphenidate (RITALIN) Copy
August 2002
Dexmethylphenidate (FOCALIN), approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2001 for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joins a growing list of Do Not Use drugs, so called because they primarily result in economic harm to both individuals and the health care system. These drugs exist solely to extend a manufacturer’s brand name monopoly position in a lucrative market but offer nothing better than the drugs they replace.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM PUBLIC CITIZEN

Search results below include Additional Information from Public Citizen where your selected drug is a secondary subject of discussion.

Statement before the National Academy of Sciences on the Framework for Evaluating the Safety of Dietary Supplements (HRG Publication #1594)
Since at the heart of this problem is the irrational legal distinction that has been made between those pharmacologically active chemicals which are regulated as prescription or over-the-counter drugs and those which others call dietary supplements which I call drug supplements, eventually the same standards for safety and effectiveness must be adopted.
Letter to the FDA concerning the United Kingdom's Committee on Safety of Medicine's recent warning about potentially serious drug interactions between St. John's Wort and a large number of other drugs. (HRG Publication #1513)
British physicians and patients are now being forcefully warned, for many more drugs than American physicians or patients, about potentially serious, clinically important drug interactions between the unregulated herbal St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) and a large number of prescription drugs.