Drugs and Supplements
Prescription monitoring programs are databases that keep track of prescriptions issued to individuals. While their intent is to identify drug misuse, a PMP may incorrectly flag certain people as misusing medications that they legitimately need.
A study found that people over 65 who were taking an anticholinergic medication (drugs that block the chemical messenger acetylcholine) were more likely to eventually be diagnosed with dementia, but these results don’t show that this class of drugs definitively causes dementia.
When your doctor prescribes medication for you, it is important to ask questions. Understand exactly how to take it and what side effects to watch for. If you feel a drug isn’t working for you, or you are experiencing new symptoms, speak up and tell your doctor so she can address the issues and consider other options.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used and generally safe, but they can cause problems, especially if the recommended dosage is exceeded. A new study found that a significant percentage of people were doing this, sometimes intentionally but not always.
Many people have taken a friend’s or family member’s pain medication on occasion, but the ongoing opioid crisis has drawn attention to such behavior, forcing doctors, hospice workers, and other care providers to tighten their procedures and track quantities and dosages of pills more carefully.
While certain groups of people, and those who have certain conditions, can benefit from taking vitamins or supplements, most people will do better obtaining the nutrients they need from eating a health, balanced diet.
A new type of medication for migraine headaches is currently being reviewed by the FDA, and if approved may provide safe, long-lasting relief for many by blocking the activation of a molecule involved in the pain process.
People over 50 who want to keep their bones healthy may be tempted to take calcium and/or vitamin D supplements, but recent research found that these are not likely to be effective; for most people, getting these nutrients from food is a better strategy.
Medical marijuana is controversial, in part because many people aren’t aware of how and why it is used. Most commonly it is used to ease pain, and doctors need to be prepared for the questions their patients will have about it.
At one time there was hope that omega-3 supplements in the form of fish oil capsules might prevent heart disease, but 15 years of research has found this belief to be untrue, and taking fish oil could even be harmful to some people.