Drugs and Supplements

Treating mild hypothyroidism: Benefits still uncertain

More than 10 million adults in the US have hypothyroidism — when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs — but the vast majority of these cases are considered mild. Whether or not to treat mild hypothyroidism is an ongoing debate. There is a possible link between mild hypothyroidism and coronary artery disease, but researchers found that treating it in older people did not provide any benefit.

Cough and cold season is arriving: Choose medicines safely

Millions of Americans get coughs and colds during the winter, and many head to the drugstore to pick up one of the hundreds of common medicines available without a prescription. But those products often contain multiple active ingredients that are potentially unsafe if combined. Here’s how to safely choose the right over-the-counter medication for your symptoms.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A feel-good message about a diabetes drug

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

An advertisement for a medication for type 2 diabetes presents a positive message about how it can help people with the condition control their blood sugar, but as with most drug ads, that’s not the whole story.

Triple therapy helps control severe asthma

Between 5% and 10% of asthmatics have frequent, persistent symptoms despite treatment with multiple medications. Two clinical trials tested treatments containing multiple medications in people with asthma that had been difficult to treat, with encouraging results.

Is it safe to reduce blood pressure medications for older adults?

Many older people take multiple medications, and managing them can be a burden. It’s common for people with high blood pressure to be prescribed several medications, so a recent study examined the effects of reducing the number of blood pressure medications in a small group of test subjects.

How can I know if my penicillin allergy is real?

People who are allergic to penicillin are often given less effective medications that can make them more susceptible to infections, but many people who believe they are allergic to penicillin are not. New techniques are allowing medical providers to assess whether or not a person has a true penicillin allergy.

Gender differences in cardiovascular disease: Women are less likely to be prescribed certain heart medications

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of both women and men in the US, but despite the significant impact it has on women, awareness and education for women’s heart disease has historically been low. A recent meta-analysis found that women were significantly less likely to be prescribed common medications for CVD.

Are statins enough? When to consider PCSK9 inhibitors

Statins have been used to treat high cholesterol for decades, but some people who take statins still have LDL cholesterol levels that are too high. A different type of medication, PCSK9 inhibitors, were approved several years ago and are showing effectiveness in lowering LDL in such people.

Does CBD help with arthritis pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may have been tempted to try cannabidiol as a treatment, or you may have tried it already. But is there any evidence that it works? Studies are finally addressing this question, and the results are just starting to come in.

Weight-loss drug Belviq recalled

Findings from a follow-up on people taking the weight-loss medication Belviq showed a slight increase in the occurrence of cancers, resulting in the drug being withdrawn from the market at the request of the FDA.