Month: December 2014

You may remember people talking about the diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) as a weight loss med. (You can check out our previous article on the subject here.) Well, Victoza with a new name at a higher dose has just been approved by the FDA as Saxenda (liraglutide) for the treatment of obesity. What is this Saxenda? It’s… Read More

You may be unfamiliar with the terms biologics or biosimilars but if you watch television you may have seen a commercial for them and not even know it! For example – the popular arthritis or Crohn’s medications Enbrel and Humira are biologics. Biologics are medications that are typically expensive and usually obtained from a specialty… Read More

The Gardasil vaccine is intended to give protection against diseases caused by Human Papillomavirus or HPV. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new form of the vaccine, Gardasil 9. This new form of Gardasil protects against 9 strains of the HPV virus where the current formulation only protects against 4 strains. What is HPV?… Read More

Yes, if you are over 65 you do. These recommendations changed in the United States in September 2014 and I would call them a sweeping change. Pneumococcal vaccines don’t protect you from ALL pneumonia but they do protect you from Strep pneumococcal infections including pneumonia and meningitis which remain an important source of illness and… Read More

The names (and active ingredients) of Renagel and Renvela are almost identical and can be extremely confusing. These medications both treat high phosphate levels, but they have varying insurance coverage, and can’t be substituted for one another without your prescriber’s approval. What are the active ingredients in Renagel and Renvela? The active ingredient in Renagel is sevelamer hydrochloride, while the… Read More

Benzodiazepines are great for anxiety but used long term there are downsides. Long-term use of benzodiazepines can be habit forming and oh—put you at increased risk of Alzheimer disease. Common benzodiazepines like Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are used to treat anxiety symptoms, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder and have been associated… Read More

There is a huge need for rapidly acting antidepressants. Suicide is a leading cause of death in young adults in the United States and currently available antidepressants often take weeks to kick in. There is great interest in glutamate mechanisms in major depression as a promising new target. One of the drugs that works on… Read More

A pharmaceutical company can decide to discontinue a medication for many reason reasons. Just like any other business, if a product does not sell as expected, the company can decide to stop making it—and this just what happened with Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s hepatitis C med Incivek. What is Incivek used for? Incivek is indicated for the treatment of adults with genotype 1… Read More

tissue box, thermometer, and flu medication

Coughing brings many of you to the doctor. Most of this is acute bronchitis, an inflammation of the bronchi (airways) due to upper airway infection. For almost all of you, it is self-limited and will go away on its own. It may surprise you to know this respiratory condition is generally caused by a virus,… Read More

Odds are better than ever that you will have a high deductible health insurance plan (HDHP) in 2015. A HDHP will be the only insurance offered through almost one-third of large employers next year—and over 80% of employers will offer at least one high deductible plan. With an HDHP, you typically pay a lower monthly premium, but… Read More