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Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

  View the entire June 2017 issue in PDF format

  • Benefits of Probiotics Remain Unproven
    (June 2017)
    The food and dietary supplement industries have been swift to capitalize on the excitement surrounding the microbes living on or within our bodies by selling products that contain probiotics, or live microor¬ganisms purported to improve health by altering the microbiome. In this article, we explain which claims about probiotics have been tested in clinical trials — and why many probiotic supplements are very likely a waste of money.
  • A Prescription for Making Medicines More Affordable in the U.S.
    (June 2017)
    Learn about landmark legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would lower the cost of prescription medications for all Americans, increase access to drugs for consumers and hold pharma¬ceutical corporations accountable for wrongdoing.
  • Drugs That Are Most Likely to Land Patients in the Emergency Room
    (June 2017)
    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.
  • Study Uncovers Serious Underreporting of Harms in Orlistat’s Trials
    (June 2017)
    For many years, we have designated the weight-loss drug orlistat (XENICAL, ALLI) as Do Not Use because it exposes patients to serious risks that greatly outweigh its minimal benefits. In this article, we describe data from a new study showing that orlistat’s side effects were seriously underreported in published medical journal articles for the clinical trials that the drugmaker conducted to support the drug’s approval.
  • Side Effects of Blood Pressure Drugs Often Unmonitored, Unaddressed
    (June 2017)
    We discuss new studies confirming that the widely used angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers can potentially harm the kidneys and cause dangerous elevations in blood potassium levels. These studies also indicated that many doctors are not heeding recommenda¬tions to look out for these side effects.

  View the entire May 2017 issue in PDF format

  • FDA Warning: Commonly Used Diarrhea Drug Can Cause Life-Threatening Heart Problems
    (May 2017)
    Find out which commonly used prescription and over-the-counter diarrhea medications can cause dangerous abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac arrest if taken at higher-than-recommended doses.
  • Nominee for FDA Commissioner: Too Cozy With Big Pharma
    (May 2017)
    On March 10, President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Scott Gottlieb to be the next FDA commissioner. Worst Pills, Best Pills News Editor Dr. Michael Carome explains why Gottlieb’s appointment would fur¬ther accelerate a decades-long trend in which FDA leadership too often makes decisions that are aligned more with the interests of the pharmaceutical industry than with those of patients.
  • Researchers Fight to Undo a Depression Drug's Dark History
    (May 2017)
    We describe the troubling story of how a pharmaceutical company manipulated the scientific literature to inappropriately promote the use of citalopram (CELEXA) for the treatment of de¬pression in children and teens despite the fact that the drug was not approved by the FDA for this use.
  • Budesonide and Formoterol (SYMBICORT): A Review
    (May 2017)
    The lung diseases asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease together afflict 40 million Americans and can result in disability and life-threatening complications for many affected individuals. In this article, we present our recommendations for using SYMBICORT, a combination of the long-acting beta agonist formoterol and the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide, to treat these lung diseases.
  • Nonsurgical Treatments for Urinary Incontinence
    (May 2017)
    Urinary incontinence — the inability to control the passage of urine — is a widespread problem that affects an estimated 25 million American adults. Learn about lifestyle changes and non-drug therapies that should be the first-choice treatments for incontinence, as well as the best drugs to use as second-choice treatment options.

  View the entire April 2017 issue in PDF format

  • Study Rebuts Health Benefit Claims for Off-Label Testosterone
    (April 2017)
    Overall, use of testosterone medications in the U.S. grew by nearly 10-fold from 2000 to 2011, and by 2013, more than 5 million U.S. prescriptions for testosterone were being filled annually. In this article, we discuss new research findings showing that testosterone products fail to provide benefit to many of the men who are using them.
  • Big Pharma’s Self-Promoting Media Campaign
    (April 2017)
    Worst Pills, Best Pills News Editor Dr. Michael Carome warns readers not to be deceived by the slick advertising campaign recently launched by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — the leading industry trade group representing brand-name pharmaceutical companies.
  • Many Psoriasis Drugs Unsafe During Pregnancy
    (April 2017)
    Find out which medications that are used to treat psoriasis (a chronic condition that causes patches of scaly and inflamed skin) are particularly dangerous during pregnancy because they carry well-established, high risks of birth defects.
  • Maker of ‘Female Viagra’ Sued as Sales Fizzle
    (April 2017)
    Flibanserin (ADDYI) was billed as the "female Viagra" because it was intended to increase sexual desire in women with "hypoactive sexual desire disorder," or low interest in sex. Learn why this dangerous drug fortunately has failed to be the blockbuster that many expected it to be.
  • A Review of Anti-Seizure Drug Levetiracetam
    (April 2017)
    Levetiracetam (KEPPRA, ROWEEPRA, SPRITAM) and its long-acting variant, levetiracetam extended-release (KEPPRA XR), are approved by the FDA for preventing seizures in patients with epilepsy. Find out who is most likely to benefit from using these drugs and what adverse reactions to watch out for when taking them.
  • New Research Links Testosterone to Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots
    (April 2017)
    We review the results of a new study demonstrating that patients using testosterone products have a significantly increased risk of developing life-threatening blood clots in large veins, most often in the legs.
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