“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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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
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
If you’ve got health insurance, now’s a good time to be paying attention. Each year, prescription coverage – the “formulary” – changes, and yours will likely be changing in 2018.
Express Scripts and Caremark, companies that handle pharmacy benefits for more than 200 million Americans, are removing more than 80 prescription medications from their formularies at the end of 2017. There is a silver lining for some of you though—almost 20 currently excluded drugs will be covered in 2018. 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
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