The American Journal of Gastroenterology recently reported the results of its Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) clinical trial in “Dyseptic symptoms development after discontinuation of a proton pump inhibitor: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, which confirmed an earlier study in Gastroenterology, entitled “Proton-pump inhibitor therapy induces acid-related symptoms in healthy volunteers after withdrawal of therapy,” - concluding that these types of medications actually induce the very symptoms they are used to treat. In other words, many of the people taking these medications to treat heartburn-related symptoms, end up with worse heartburn if they attempt to stop taking the medications. These studies finally provide an answer as to why so many people have been taking these medications for so many years and are resigned to taking them for the rest of their lives.
A new study published in the Archives of Otolaryngology – a journal of the American Medical Association – reports a link between over-the-counter zinc cold remedies and a loss of smell.
While Obama’s new Healthcare Reform laws have given approval to the next generation of lower cost, breakthrough drugs, called “biosimilar” drugs, these drugs will apparently not be required to undergo the same intensive clinical trial scrutiny as most other drugs. And while these drugs are similar, they are not the same and surely carry additional and different risks. Biosimilars are virtually identical formulas of drugs previously approved by the FDA; however, these “follow on-biologic” drugs are compounded drugs that are subsequent versions of innovator biopharmaceutical products – the are NOT generic drugs.
On July 13, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration reported in a drug safety alert, that it is requiring Sanofi-Aventis to place a black box warning on its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Arava. Since Arava warnings were strengthened more than seven years ago in 2003, at least 14 people have died due to Arava-induced liver damage and another 49 people suffered severe liver injury. And this is after Public Citizen a consumer watchdog organization, warned the public that there were at least 130 cases, including 56 hospitalizations and 12 deaths prior to 2002. Since 2003, there has been a bolded warning on the label alerting physicians to the possibility of liver injury from Arava.
In February 2010, federal prosecutors opened an investigation into promotional efforts by Wyeth – which is now under the umbrella of Pfizer, following their merge in late 2009 – relating to its transplant drug, Rapamune (sirolimus). Rapamune is a “immunosuppressive agent indicated for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in patients … receiving renal transplants.” In other words, the drug is meant to help the body accept a kidney transplant.
Add blindness to the growing list of side effects caused by antidepressants like Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor and Zoloft. It is well-known that these drugs have been linked to suicide and cardiac birth defects, among others, but now, a June article published in the medical journal Opthamology, has connected these popular drugs with cataracts in the elderly, potentially resulting in blindness for those individuals over the age of 65.
A June 30, 2010 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine and recently reported in Business Week, and Reuters has concluded that a new testosterone gel appears to raise the risk of heart-related problems in older men with limited mobility. This topical gel, thought to increase muscle mass in older men, prevents disabilities by helping them sustain strength and energy; however, the results of this recent study show that this gel also may cause heart attacks, strokes and chest pain, as well as skin problems.