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Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

  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.

  View the entire March 2017 issue in PDF format

  • Beware of Ads for ‘Memory- Enhancing’ Dietary Supplement
    (March 2017)
    If you regularly watch nightly national news on TV, you have probably seen ads promising improved memory if you take the dietary supplement apoaequorin (PREVAGEN). Learn why these claims from the maker of PREVAGEN represent an apparent elaborate hoax.
  • FDA Removal of Black-Box Warning Sets Dangerous Precedent
    (March 2017)
    In October 2014, Public Citizen joined four other consumer advocacy and research groups to petition the FDA to strengthen the existing black-box warning on the label of the smoking cessation drug varenicline. In December, the agency instead decided to move recklessly in the opposite direction by removing the black-box warning from the label. In this article, we discuss the dangerous precedent set by this decision.
  • Year in Review: Troubling New Drug Approvals in 2016
    (March 2017)
    In this article, we discuss three new drugs approved by the FDA in 2016 that Worst Pills, Best Pills News has identified as ineffective or lacking in evidence to support key claims made on products’ labels. The drugs discussed include one intended to treat a rare form of muscular dystrophy and two supposedly abuse-deterrent opioid pain drugs.
  • Spironolactone: Review of a ‘Water Pill’
    (March 2017)
    Spironolactone is a diuretic (water pill) that has been used for decades to treat certain patients with high blood pressure, heart failure, swelling (water retention) and other conditions. Find out who is most likely to benefit from using this drug and who should avoid it because of its dangerous adverse effects.
  • Medications for Bipolar Disorder
    (March 2017)
    Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a serious chronic mental illness that afflicts approximately 5.4 million people in the U.S. In this article, we review the benefits and safety of several drugs that are commonly used to treat this disorder.
  • Lorcaserin (BELVIQ): Another Do Not Use Diet Drug
    (March 2017)
    Learn about the unacceptable dangers posed by lorcaserin, a diet drug that was approved by the FDA in 2012 and that has similarities to the previously banned diet drug fenfluramine.

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