March 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET
It may not be marijuana, but its effects are just as potent. A new report in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics finds more emergency rooms across the United States are seeing an increase in patients who have used synthetic marijuana.
Known as K2, Spice, Mr. Smiley and Blaze, the product can have similar but sometimes more serious consequences than marijuana? These synthetic cannabinoids are a blend of plant and herbal materials that have been sprayed with chemicals, which produce a certain toxicity.
Sold in such places at gas stations, connivence stores and on the internet, the synthetic marijuana produce euphoric and psychoactive effects similar to those associated with marijuana. But doctors say there are additional side effects that may be particularly dangerous. The drug can leave patients catatonic and listless. And what makes matters worse, very little is known about Synthetic marijuana or how to treat an adverse reaction or overdose.
March 5th, 2012
03:42 PM ET
Some families got more than they bargained for at a New Jersey CVS drugstore when their childrens' prescriptions for fluoride pills were filled with a popular breast cancer drug instead.
"We believe that, as a result of a single medication restocking issue at our Chatham, New Jersey pharmacy, 13 families had similar incidents in which a few tamoxifen pills were mixed in with their prescriptions for 0.5 mg fluoride pills," said Mike DeAngelis, a CVS Caremark spokesman.
DeAngelis went on to say that the company is doing a full investigation into how the switch could have occurred.
February 24th, 2012
12:26 PM ET
Thirty years ago, I attended medical school in New York. In the key lecture on pain management, the professor told us confidently that patients who received prescription narcotics for pain would not become addicted.
While pain management remains an essential patient right, a generation of health care professionals, patients, and families have learned the hard way how deeply misguided that assertion was. Narcotics - both illegal and legal - are dangerous drugs that can destroy lives and communities.
Millions of Americans struggle with substance abuse. Across the United States, overdoses involving opioid painkillers - a class of drugs with narcotic effects that includes hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone - have skyrocketed in the past decade.
Today, the United States consumes most of the world’s supply of opioid painkillers. By 2010, enough opioid painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month. And every year, nearly 15,000 people die from overdoses involving these drugs... more than from heroin and cocaine combined.
January 20th, 2012
06:44 PM ET
Health agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are investigating reports of 11 deaths in multiple sclerosis patients taking Gilenya, the first multiple sclerosis drug approved in pill form.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed Friday that it is studying data on Gilenya (fingolimod). "We will notify the public once our review is complete to communicate any recommendations or possible label changes," the FDA said in a statement to CNN.
December 27th, 2011
06:07 PM ET
The popular blood-thinner Plavix is a safe and effective medication for patients, including those deemed to be "poor metabolizers" of the drug, says an analysis released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The findings contradict the 2010 boxed warning that the Food and Drug Administration mandated be placed on the drug's label.
If you're one of the approximately 40 million people worldwide taking Plavix (known generically as clopidogrel), you're probably familiar with the warning. The label cautions that the drug has "diminished effectiveness in poor metabolizers", or patients with a certain genotype, known as CYP2C19, and thus may lead to an increase in cardiovascular events like heart disease, stroke, or bleeding. To help decide if Plavix is a good fit for patients, the label says genetic tests are available to identify people with the genotype in question.
December 6th, 2011
03:11 PM ET
Over-the-counter HCG products being sold for weight loss are illegal and claims that the drugs work are unsubstantiated, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Tuesday.
HGC products are sold online and in stores as pellets, sprays or oral drops. These products are considered by the FDA to be unapproved new drugs.
Last week, the FDA, along with the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to seven companies manufacturing human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, products labeled "homeopathic." The products in question are "hCG Diet Drops Weight Loss Formula," "hCG Diet Pellets Weight Loss Formula," "Alcohol Free hCG Weight Loss Formula,""HCG Fusion 30," "HCG Fusion 43," "Homeopathic Original HCG," Homeopathic HCG," "HCG Platinum X-30," "HCG Platinum X-14" "HCG Diet Homeopathic Drops," and "HCG Extra Weight Loss Homeopathic Drops."
August 25th, 2011
12:51 PM ET
The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that patients taking the anti-depressant Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) take no more than 40mg a day. The FDA says anything more can cause abnormal heart rhythms, and studies show there is no therapeutic benefit with doses higher than 40mg. The recommendation includes generic versions of the drug.
Celexa, is made by Forest Laboratories Inc., and is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter–it helps relay messages from one part of the brain to another. Researchers believe serotonin imbalances can influence your mood and lead to depression. SSRIs like Celexa increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, which can help improve mood.
August 19th, 2011
01:34 PM ET
Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it true that acid causes permanent brain damage? I'm worried because years ago I took it once!
I wouldn't worry. Some past LSD users experience occasional flashbacks - hallucinations or reliving of a "trip" - that last a few minutes and aren't permanent.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.