Drugs and Supplements

LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go?

Lowering LDL cholesterol has been shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have suggested that more aggressive goals for LDL levels in people who already have CVD can decrease risk even further.

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Combining multiple medications into a single pill, or polypill, is one approach to improving adherence (taking medication as prescribed). Depending on the conditions being treated, it may be easier for people to take a single pill, but there are also downsides to this approach.

DOACs now recommended over warfarin to prevent blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation

For decades, people with atrial fibrillation were prescribed warfarin to prevent blood clots. But a new type of anticoagulant medication (known as DOACs) that came on the market in 2010 has proven to be at least as effective as warfarin, with fewer side effects and without the need for blood test monitoring.

Lasmiditan: New first-in-class drug treatment approved for migraine

Paul Rizzoli, MD

Contributor

The first of a new class of medications for the treatment of migraine has been approved by the FDA. Lasmiditan works differently than existing medications, and does not cause blood vessels to narrow (a side effect that makes them unsuitable for those with vascular conditions).

The complicated relationship between fish oil and heart health

The American Heart Association recommends that people with heart disease should take omega-3 fatty acids to prevent another heart attack, but research on taking them to prevent a first heart attack or stroke has been mixed. Will fish oil supplements reduce your risk of heart disease?

Why are women using CBD products — and do they work?

Many products containing CBD claim to help women with various health issues, including sleep, mood, symptoms of PMS or menopause, and sexual pleasure. Currently, very little evidence supports these extravagant promises, and there are concerns about the quality and safety of CBD products.

Stopping the vicious cycle of rebound headaches

Sait Ashina, MD

Contributor

People who get frequent headaches and need to take medication at least 15 days a month may be at risk for medication overuse headaches, or “rebound headaches.” Treatment depends on the medication being taken.

Antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections are on the rise

Lisa Bebell, MD

Contributor

Rising resistance to antibiotics driven by overpresciption and overuse has led to a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating urinary tract infections. If your doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic, be sure to ask if it’s necessary, and what alternatives there might be.

Ranitidine (Zantac) recall expanded, many questions remain

The FDA has not yet released the results of its testing of the heartburn medication ranitidine. The testing method used by the online pharmacy that originally alerted the FDA may have affected their results.

Study supports benefit of statin use for older adults

Statins are known to be effective in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, but for older adults the guidelines are less clear. A study looking at an older population found that continuing to take statins did have a statistically significant benefit.