Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly taken psychotropic drugs, often used for anxiety. Prolonged use of them is a widespread phenomenon in medical practice, yet it may surprise you to know that these medications are really only meant to be used short term. Both alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan) are considered short-acting benzodiazepines and when used for the right reasons, are quite effective. See More
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“Can I just stop my medication?” This question, frequently asked of primary care doctors, has a complicated answer. For starters, if you are taking a medication that is controlling an ongoing medical problem like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, you should never stop it on your own—or your problem will return. Many patients do come clean though and report that they just plain stopped their meds. See More
You may have read about the dangers of Ambien (zolpidem) or why you should stay away from habit-forming sleeping pills like Valium (diazepam) and wondered, what can I take for sleep? Fortunately, there are many options for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Here’s how to choose the right one for you.
What are my options?
Medications commonly used to treat insomnia include benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, Restoril), atypical benzodiazepines (Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta), melatonin agonists (Rozerem), antidepressants (Silenor, amitriptyline, trazodone) and our newest one, Belsomra. See More
An unexpected increase in weight can be concerning for anyone. But it’s an unfortunate side effect of many common medications. Insulin, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and even migraine medications can all cause weight gain, and some may even worsen the health conditions they’re trying to treat.
Sudden weight gain is never a reason to stop your medication without seeing your doctor first. See More
Prescriptions for depression and anxiety medications are on the rise among Americans – and parts of the country appear to be coping with higher rates than others, according to a GoodRx analysis of prescription data for anxiety and depression medicines.
The data looks at the proportion of depression and anxiety medications among overall prescription volume over the past 12 months (ending April 2018). See More
Spring is officially here – and that means seasonal allergies have arrived. Prescriptions for allergy medications rose sharply in March, according to a GoodRx analysis of a nationally representative sample of US prescription fills, with some interesting patterns in state-by-state trends.
Our monthly GoodRx Index report also showed other drug trends for March:
After practicing medicine for 20 years, I’ve become adept at “clarifying” to life insurance companies why patients are taking certain medications. The same medications appear to trigger red flags for both long-term care and life insurance companies.
Their “concern” makes sense for some medications because they are used for serious chronic illnesses, but for others, the insurance companies are worried about your lifestyle. See More
More than one in ten visits to a primary care doctor is for fatigue. Fatigue is composed of three major components: generalized weakness (difficulty in initiating activities), easy fatigability (difficulty in completing activities), and mental fatigue (difficulty with concentration and memory). While certainly not the only answer, medications may cause fatigue. Here are some of the common culprits.
Beta-blockers wear many hats. See More
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a perception of sound in one or both ears in the absence of an external source. It’s often described by patients as buzzing, ringing, or whooshing. While there is often no known cause for tinnitus, there are a handful of medications that may contribute.
Medications that are known to cause tinnitus or hearing loss are considered “ototoxic medications.” Discontinuing these medications can prevent tinnitus and hearing progression, though the ringing may not always go away. See More
“Can I have a drink while I’m taking my medication?” This is a question that primary care doctors are frequently asked, rightly so. Almost 50% of Americans report taking a prescription medication in the previous month. Alcohol in moderation (3 – 5 drinks per week) is recommended for stroke and heart disease prevention, and many folks taking medications known to interact with alcohol still report regular use. See More