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The Soapbox

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Let's get one thing straight. I (Joe) am not a germaphobe. Yes, I do wash my hands before eating, but I do not sterilize everything in sight. What I don't understand is why so many visitors to this website seem... (Read More)
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Are you worried that the word flu could scramble your speech so that you can't make yourself understood? This is the terrifying idea at the heart of Alena Graedon's novel, The Word Exchange.  The People's Pharmacy has made an exception... (Read More)
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by Derek H. Page For ten years or so, there have been claims that nocturnal leg cramps can be alleviated by introducing a bar of soap into the bed. The evidence supporting these claims, while voluminous, is almost completely anecdotal.... (Read More)
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When James Fixx died at the age of 52 on July 20th, 1984, in the middle of his daily run, it was a huge shock to runners, athletes and fitness buffs. When Fixx was 35 he weighed 240 pounds and... (Read More)
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The tragic news yesterday confirmed what we have all been anticipating, ie, that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean with 239 people on board. This heartbreaking news for the families and for the world at... (Read More)
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If you are not confused and maybe even exasperated over all the flip-flops over food in recent months, we would be amazed. The latest head-spinning headline appeared in the New York Times this week: "Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease... (Read More)
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We are frequently told that randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are the gold standard for high quality drug research. Heck, we've even said it ourselves on numerous occasions. We believed this mantra until a recent meta-analysis of statin studies forced... (Read More)
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The headlines have taken our breath away: "Statin Side-Effects Questioned" "Statins do NOT have major side effects, claims study" "Statins Have Virtually No Side-Effects, Study Finds" "Side Effects Reported in Those Taking Statins Are Not Actually Attributable to the Drugs"... (Read More)
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Gardiner Harris has written a powerful front-page story for the New York Times titled "Medicines Made in India Set Off Safety Worries" (Feb. 15, 2014). If anything, the headline downplays the seriousness of the problem. Here is the first sentence... (Read More)
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Here we go again. The mammogram debate has once again heated up because of new research (Canadian National Breast Screening Study) casting doubt on the value of this routine cancer screening technique. In a nutshell, roughly 90,000 women were randomized... (Read More)
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Most people do several things in the morning without ever thinking twice. They wash their face, brush their teeth and roll on their antiperspirant. Hardly anyone bothers to look at the ingredients on the label, but chances are very good... (Read More)
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For decades we have been receiving messages from people who have experienced devastating and debilitating muscle damage from their use of drugs like atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor). By 2007 we had names for these reactions: ALS-like syndrome,... (Read More)
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The FDA has just banned the importation of pharmaceutical ingredients from the largest drug company in India, but it is not the first time. Four of Ranbaxy's five manufacturing facilities once made drugs or active ingredients for the US market.... (Read More)
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A week ago we asked the question, "Are You Concerned about Coffee Cup Contamination?" This was in response to a question by a visitor to this website who worried about catching a cold or the flu because the coffee barista... (Read More)
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By Mark Gray  Eating healthy in and of itself is a challenge. With all the dollar meal menus and fast food options at your disposal, chances are you're tempted on a daily basis to trim your budget instead of your... (Read More)
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Henry's kitchen table is littered with drug paraphernalia. There are syringes, bottles, vials, nebulizers and a pill cutter. Henry is not a drug abuser...rather he is a senior citizen with a pill problem. Despite appearances, Henry is entirely respectable. Like... (Read More)
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It's no wonder Americans feel as if they are on a roller coaster. A week ago the headlines quoted an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine: "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements." The doctors... (Read More)
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No drug in the world that has been more vilified than thalidomide. That is understandable, since it caused so much misery. In the 1950s thousands of babies were born with severely deformed limbs and other malformations after their mothers used... (Read More)
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When the panel of experts for the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association announced their new Cardiovascular Risk Guidelines on November 12th, they ignited a firestorm of controversy. Almost immediately, the public questioned the integrity of the... (Read More)
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The health headlines over the last few days have been all about the debacle created by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology when these cardiologists touted their new guidelines on statin use. We were invited by... (Read More)
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Many people assume that the FDA protects Americans from dangerous drugs, especially over-the-counter drugs. But that assumption might be exposing us to unexpected risks. We recently wrote about the hazards associated with the popular pain reliever, acetaminophen. It turns out... (Read More)
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Lovastatin was the first of the new-generation statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs on the market. It was approved by the FDA for sale in 1987. Even before the drug was approved, however, studies in dogs suggested that lovastatin might trigger cataract formation.... (Read More)
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This story has almost disappeared without a trace. That's because it defies conventional wisdom. Doctors do not know what to do when data do not support strongly held beliefs. The New England Journal of Medicine published an important study on... (Read More)
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In early July Jane Brody, a respected health journalist for the New York Times, wrote in her Personal Health column an article titled "When Lyme Disease Lasts and Lasts." In it she described the case of Mary Rasenberger, a New... (Read More)
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If you watch television you have probably seen the current Celebrex commercial. It starts with a picture book of a woman sitting in a lounge chair at the beach waving to friends. The pages flip quickly as the voice-over says,... (Read More)
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Walmart is holding a contest for products that might appeal to lots of folks, but that are not currently on Walmart shelves. They have called it "Get on the  Shelf" and we have created two videos for their contest. We'd... (Read More)
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by R. David Anderson, B.S., R.Ph., D.Sc  A brief item appeared in the PEOPLE'S PHARMACY in which the healing value of sugar for skin tears was lauded. You responded that Dr. Richard Knutson was an early researcher who published his findings... (Read More)
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by Duane Graveline, MD, MPH The purpose of this article is to summarize what we doctors have learned about the various effects of statin drugs on the human body. Most of the adverse effects of statins have been revealed only... (Read More)
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 (from 1997 through May 15, 2012) by Duane Graveline, M.D.,  MPH FDA has opened the shelves of MedWatch to those of us wishing to review for ourselves the status of statin adverse drug reports (ADRs). This has been all the... (Read More)
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Marijuana is renowned for stimulating appetite, ie, the "marijuana munchies." There are actual data suggesting that people who smoke marijuana average more caloric intake than nonsmokers. That's why it comes as a total shock to learn that people who consume... (Read More)