“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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Opioid pain medication is an emotional topic for everyone. Patients who struggle with chronic noncancer pain and need opioid medications feel they are portrayed as addicts when they ask for refills. Each week I see many patients using opioids for the appropriate reason, who have tried and failed with other medications and yet feel stigmatized by the use of medicine they need.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have now passed medical marijuana laws, and four more have pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana. Meanwhile, the use of prescription opioid medications (hydrocodone, oxycodone) has increased as the number of Americans with chronic non-cancer pain has increased. With that, we have seen in the United States the disturbing rise in prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths. See More
One in ten visits to a primary care doctor is for fatigue. While certainly not the only cause, your medications can be the culprit for making you sleepy. Here are the players you need to know about.
Beta blockers. These are medications used for high blood pressure, migraine prevention, control of heart rate in atrial fibrillation, and they improve mortality after heart attack. Ok, now for the downside. They can make you sleepy. See More
One of the bright new changes in pain medications over the last few years were two medications: Ultram (tramadol) and now Nucynta (tapentadol). These are different from Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen), and Tylenol #3 (codeine/acetaminophen) in many ways and are considered much “gentler.” So, is Nucynta better? Lets look.
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Are they the same? What’s better? What is the prescription I have? It seems complicated but it’s not—let’s shed light on the common players:
What has been discontinued?
All prescription drug products with more than 325 mg of acetaminophen (also known as APAP or paracetamol, and the active ingredient in Tylenol). The FDA has asked that manufacturers limit the amount of acetaminophen in these products to 325 mg to prevent liver injury from overdose.
Some examples of these drugs include Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen), Fioricet (butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine), and Fioricet with codeine (butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine/codeine). See More
Controlled substances and prescription drug abuse have been increasingly under the spotlight. This has been fueled, in particular, by overuse of drug such as opioids. Opioids are used as painkillers and include hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and morphine. Hydrocodone and oxycodone are among the top most abused prescription drugs.
Overdose is the second leading causing of accidental death in the United States, with an estimated 16,600 deaths from overdose in 2010. See More
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity has become more of an issue, especially due to the rise of combination products. These include prescription pain medications (such as hydrocodone/acetaminophen, oxycodone/acetaminophen, butalbital/acetaminophen, acetaminophen/codeine and tramadol/acetaminophen) in which acetaminophen is used as a second pain reliever. It is also widely available over the counter, and many over-the-counter combinations that advertise pain or fever relief contain acetaminophen as well. See More
If you notice a rash, blister, or other skin reaction while taking any drug containing acetaminophen, you should stop taking the medication immediately and contact your doctor or other health provider. The symptoms can be signs of three rare but very serious skin disorders, caused by a reaction to the acetaminophen.