Take a sleeping pill and never wake up? Not quite. But a new study finds that several commonly prescribed meds are linked to a significantly higher risk of premature death. Moreover, those who took the pills were 35 percent more likely to develop cancer. The pills in question include Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril and Sonata, as well as benzodiazepines, barbiturates and sedative antihistamines.
Once again, the Plan B birth control pill is in the news. This time, a federal judge has ruled that the state of Washington may not force pharmacies to sell the pill or other emergency contraceptives, because the purpose of a controversial law was to suppress religious objections by pharmacists, not to promote access to those who may want or need the pill, according toMSNBC.
Last week, the White House announced health insurers would have to cover the cost of providing free birth control to employees of religious groups as part of the Affordable Care Act, which requires health insurance plans to offer contraception without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or deductible as of August 1. The rationale was that any added cost would be offset by fewer unwanted pregnancies.
File this under 'What was he thinking?' In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former FDA commish Andy von Eschenbach proposes that the "FDA should approve drugs based on safety and leave efficacy testing for post-market studies." How would this work? Well, Andy suggests creating pilot programs in which patients would be entered in registries, and the FDA and drugmakers would later determine whether a medicine is effective.
This may not come as a surprise, but the ongoing shortages of various prescription drugs - notably,injectables that are used to treat assorted cancers - are not only preventing patients from receiving timely or the most appropriate treatments, but patients are dying sooner than they would otherwise and tumors are recurring more often, according to a survey of oncologists.
For the past few years, a growing effort has been made to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs lingering in medicine cabinets and dresser drawers. Flushing medications down the toilet can cause environmental problems, such as tainting drinking water supplies (see this). And leaving drugs, notably painkillers, around the house can also lead to abuse and overdose by teens and adults, who sometimes sell pills.