Thursday, January 24, 2008

Heath Ledger, RIP

Heath Ledger was a talented young actor with a bright future. We extend our sincere sympathy to his family and friends.

If toxicology reports prove that he died from a combination of FDA approved anti-depressants and sleeping pills, we can only hope society will wake up and start to take precautions to protect our innocent children and ourselves from similar fates in the future.

The media-driven mass-medication of our population needs more controls. However, patients and parents need to take more responsibility for the drugs they put in their bodies and their children's bodies by carefully reading the drug inserts, as well as the information most pharmacists provide when they fill scripts.

An obvious question: why isn't every filled FDA prescription logged into a national data base (patient SS number, date of birth, and address, plus prescribing doctor)? Fairly simple programing of this data base could instantly alert all pharmacists to question the prescribing doctor when filling scripts that adversely react with drugs the patients is already taking, as well as expose over-prescribing physicians, and most of those patients who go from doctor to doctor for scripts for physically addicting drugs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cost of Drugs

A 2007 article in Medical Economics estimated there to be 90,000 to 100,000 drug reps nationwide; each is supposed to call on eight to 10 physician offices a day.

Some practices may get only two to four visits a week, but primary care physicians deemed as "heavy prescribers" were called on by an average of 29 reps a week, according to 2005-2006 data gathered by Health Strategies Group, a research firm that tracks the pharmaceutical industry.

The cost of the drug samples being handed out daily, by almost 100,000 drug reps, is passed right on to the consumer in the price of drugs.

Once again we learn: there is no free lunch.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fish & Fat Loss

The fact is, fish oil has a number of important health benefits. But, the idea that fish oil is some kind of magic bullet for weight loss is nothing more than a myth. You can't just pop a lot of fish oil capsules and expect your fat to melt away without making changes to your diet and exercise program first.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that daily consumption of fish or fish oil is only effective for weight loss, if it is combined with moderate exercise like walking for 45 minutes three days a week.

This study looked at 75 overweight subjects for a period of six weeks who took fish oil and exercised: subjects who took fish oil and did not exercise, and subjects who took Omega-3 sunflower or flax seed oil and exercised for three days a week, vs those who took the vegetable oils and did not exercise.

The subjects who lost the most weight were in the group who ate moderate amounts of healthy foods, exercised three days a week, and took fish oil.

Are we really surprised?