“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
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Opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine have long been considered some of the most helpful drugs for managing acute pain. However, rates of opioid abuse and overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years. And now it turns out that there’s another reason to avoid opioids: they may not be the most effective treatment for pain relief after all.
Do opioids work better than other pain relievers?
Not necessarily. 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
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
As we get older, our bodies start turning on us. Our blood pressure begins to rise, joints develop arthritis, and arteries start clogging up. We end up taking more and more medications. Some 90% of people over the age of 65 take at least one medication per week, and 40% take five or more. 1 in 6 people in this age group will inevitably experience a harmful side effect of a drug they are taking regularly. 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
Dry mouth isn’t just an annoyance, it can lead to serious dental issues. Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth and when it happens, you’ll want to know what’s causing it.
Risk factors for dry mouth include medications, mouth breathing, older age, and a history of radiation therapy in cancer patients. Medical conditions that contribute to dry mouth include Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes, and anxiety disorders, and these can be easily ruled out by your doctor. See More