Drugs and Supplements

Lowering cholesterol protects your heart and brain, regardless of your age

Studies have consistently shown that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular events and death. But do older adults — even those with existing cardiovascular disease — get the same benefits from lowering cholesterol, and do they face any additional risks from taking cholesterol-lowering medication? An analysis of data from previous studies reached some favorable conclusions.

Can dust mite allergy be treated with a pill?

For decades, people with an allergy to dust mites took over-the-counter medications for relief, and if those were not effective they could choose to receive a course of immunotherapy shots that lasted years. A newer form of treatment is available in pill form and is taken at home.

CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are very popular, promising relief from a wide range of maladies. But if you are considering taking a product containing CBD, be aware that if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal products, CBD can interact with them and cause unexpected side effects.

Treating neuropathy: Which medication is best?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Millions of people suffer from the burning, tingling, and numbness of a form of neuropathy called idiopathic sensory polyneuropathy. A recent study directly comparing four medications produced disappointing results, but is a step in the right direction.

Type 2 diabetes: Which medication is best for me?

Samar Hafida, MD

Contributor

When diet and exercise are not enough for a person with diabetes to manage their blood sugar, one or more medications may be needed. Adding a second medication can offer additional benefits beyond blood sugar control, but the benefits and risks of these newer classes of drugs must be weighed for each person.

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.