Drugs and Supplements

Cannabis is medicine — don’t make it taste good

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

The increasing availability of cannabis-containing edibles has fueled debate about their safety. As emergency visits rise for treatment related to edibles, some common-sense thinking about how these products are packaged and sold is needed.

Human insulin may be a lower-cost option for some people with diabetes

The cost of insulin has risen dramatically in recent years, causing hardship for many people with diabetes. A study compared typical insulin with a version that was in common use a few decades ago and is significantly less expensive.

FDA curbs unfounded memory supplement claims

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Considering memory supplements? Think again. In the US, prescription medicines are rigorously tested, but supplements are not and manufacturers can make claims that may or may not be true. But even supplement makers must follow certain rules, and recently the FDA announced a plan to revamp its regulation of dietary supplements.

The trouble with new drugs

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Although drugs have to pass clinical trials before being approved, sometimes side effects do not become apparent until a wider population has used them. The FDA monitors medications after they are available to the public, and issues alerts and warnings when appropriate.

Over-the-counter cold and flu medicines can affect your heart

Some common over-the-counter medications typically taken for colds and the flu may increase the risk of a cardiovascular event. This increased risk is more likely to occur in people with existing heart disease, and in people who take the medications for an extended period of time.

Surgery for appendicitis? Antibiotics alone may be enough

While appendectomy is a very common surgery, there is evidence that treating appendicitis with antibiotics instead of surgery is an effective alternative.

NSAIDs: How dangerous are they for your heart?

There is growing evidence that NSAID medications may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The overall risk is quite small, but it can vary depending on the duration of treatment and whether a person has existing cardiovascular disease.

Safe and effective use of insulin requires proper storage

Elena Toschi, MD

Contributor

If you have been prescribed insulin for diabetes, it’s important to properly store and care for the medication and associated supplies to ensure it remains safe and effective. These guidelines will help you do that.

Is Coca-Cola really putting pot in its beverages?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

News reports that Coca-Cola is considering offering a beverage containing cannabis or one of its derivatives were definitely exaggerated, but the “functional wellness” portion of the beverage market is growing, and other companies are considering products containing cannabidiol.

Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis that is derived directly from the hemp plant, but it does not cause a high and is not addictive. CBD is drawing attention because it has been shown to be effective in helping people treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety.