Drugs & Medications

Drugs & Medications Articles

Are the new migraine medications working?

Three new medications—erenumab (Aimovig), fremanezumab (Ajovy), and galcanezumab (Emgality)—appear to be helping people with frequent, debilitating migraine headaches. Studies suggest that people taking the new drugs experience about 50% fewer migraine headache days per month, compared with people who aren’t taking the medications. However, clinical trials for the new medications have included relatively few older adults, so it’s not known if older adults might react differently to the medications than younger people. Doctors urge older adults to start out taking the lowest dose possible. (Locked) More »

Don't be afraid of statins

While statin therapy helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, many people may still resist them because they fear side effects and do not understand how the drugs work. Yet, for many people, statins are the best way to protect against heart attack and stroke, and may provide additional benefits like reducing the risk of blood clots and protecting against Alzheimer’s. (Locked) More »

Study links certain medications to a higher risk of dementia

In a recent study, researchers found a potential link between anticholinergic medications, used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including allergies, depression, gastrointestinal problems, Parkinson’s disease, incontinence and overactive bladder, and a higher risk of dementia. But experts say study limitations may cloud the results. (Locked) More »

5 medications that can cause problems in older age

Medications that caused few if any side effects in youth can cause discomfort or risky side effects later in life. Common offenders include anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sleeping pills, and tricyclic antidepressants. While a person may not have to avoid using these medications in older age, it may be necessary to use them carefully and judiciously: minimizing doses, using them only when necessary, and turning to other methods to manage symptoms when they arise. (Locked) More »

CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?

Many products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now on the market. Some of these products may be a good option for certain health conditions, such as chronic pain or even anxiety and sleep disorders. But product regulation is not consistent, quality may vary, and in some instances products may contain too little CBD to be clinically effective. (Locked) More »

Do you need a calcium scan?

Coronary artery calcium scans, which can reveal dangerous plaque in the heart’s arteries, are now recognized by guidelines and being are used more often than in the past. Results from the scan may help refine or reclassify a person’s risk of heart disease. But the tests don’t make sense for everyone. People who already have heart disease should not have a calcium scan, nor should people at low risk, which includes most people under age 40. Instead, the scans are an option for people who fall in between. This borderline and intermediate risk group includes people ages 40 to 75 whose 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke ranges from 5% to 20%. More »

For most people, no need for niacin

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is unlikely to provide any heart-related benefit for most people. Its only possible role is for people who cannot tolerate statins, but other, newer medications would likely offer greater benefits. More »

The risk of inactive ingredients in everyday drugs

Inactive ingredients serve many purposes in medications. For example, artificial sweeteners mask a bitter taste, fatty acids help promote the absorption of some drugs, and lactose and other sugars bind ingredients together. But inactive ingredients may also cause adverse reactions, such as an allergic response or gastrointestinal symptoms. It’s best to carefully read a medication’s ingredient list before taking the pill, and consult a doctor if there are any ingredients that are a concern. (Locked) More »