July 1, 2015

Restricted Payment Options Create Potential Hazards For Americans Purchasing Medication Online

Senior Female Pharmacist Smiling In Pharmacy

Rising health care costs have forced many Americans to find alternative sources for their prescription medications.  Pharmacies in Canada and Mexico fill and ship prescriptions to the US daily, and for years these transactions were paid for with credit cards.  Credit card companies approved the transactions that were made with legitimate pharmacies, and Americans received their medications and were able to maintain the regimen that their doctor had prescribed.

Recently credit card companies have begun to deny transactions made with these pharmacies.  By denying Americans the means to purchase their medications, the credit card companies (who are bowing to the influence of pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington) are creating the potential for a health care crisis of epic proportions.  Rather than begin purchasing their medication from American pharmacies (which is the goal), people will begin to purchase only some of their medication, skip doses in order to make the prescription last longer or stop taking their medication altogether, leading to serious health-related consequences. 

The majority of these people are over the age of 55, and are a part of the already overburdened Medicare system.  If they begin altering the way that they take their medication, or stop taking it completely, their health issues will be exacerbated, resulting in more doctor visits and hospital stays, and pushing Medicare to it’s limits.  The resulting higher costs will be passed on to the American taxpayer.

Another potential risk of denying payments to legitimate pharmacies is the potential for Americans to begin buying their medications from so-called “rogue” pharmacies.  The risks from these illegal operations include

  • Fake medications being dispensed that contain bogus or harmful ingredients
  • Online scams that take the customers money and disappear without sending the medication
  • Obtaining personal information and defrauding the customer
  • Dispensing medication without a valid prescription—effectively allowing people to “self medicate” without the supervision of a licensed physician

Pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington are not acting in the interest of the American people, but rather are only out to increase their profits.  They have no regard for the health and well-being of the American people, and by cutting off access to legitimate medication options, they are forcing people to make choices that could ultimately endanger their lives.

People who are unable to purchase their prescriptions at affordable prices are forced to make decisions regarding their own health care, or the care of their loved ones, based on money rather than medicine.  By skipping doses to extend the life of a prescription, choosing which medications to purchase rather than purchasing what their doctor has recommended, or cutting pills to make medication last longer, Americans are placing themselves at risk and placing the resulting burden on the taxpayers.  Americans should have the right to make their own healthcare decisions without having to do so based on cost rather than medical need.  The credit card companies that are denying them this most basic of rights need to be reigned in, and forced to allow legitimate purchases from legitimate foreign pharmacies, before the health of the American people is even more severely compromised.

June 15, 2015

Xeljanz vs. Humira

Filed under: Arthritis,joint pain — Tags: antidepressant, prescription drugs — drwatson @ 9:03 pm

Pills drugs white

Humira and Xelijanz are drugs designed to help treat rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is basically a chronic disease that falls under the category of autoimmune disorders. The disease causes the body’s immune system to attack its own, healthy tissue, resulting in swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints. Both of these drugs can help reduce the significance of these symptoms, and are most beneficial to patients with moderate to severe forms of the disease.

How Do They Work?

Xelijanz is considered a JAK, or “Janus Kinase”, inhibitor. Janus kinases are chemicals within the body that are responsible for triggering inflammation. Inflammation can come in the form of pain, redness, swelling, or a combination of all three. Remember that inflammation is the body attempting to repair itself. Since rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation from the immune response, Xelijanz helps decrease inflammation by lowering immune response.

Humira helps accomplish the same end result, but by an entirely different process. It works on TNF, or “Tumor Necrosis Factor”. TNF is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body, and that is also involved in the immune and inflammatory response. By blocking the actions of TNF in the body, patients are able to experience less pain, swelling, and discomfort caused from rheumatoid arthritis.

Administration

Despite their ability to both help treat rheumatoid arthritis, both drugs follow a very different route of administration. Xelijanz should be taken in tablet form. Administration involves 5mg tablets taken twice per day orally. Humira should be taken via injection. Patients should administer a 40mg injection underneath their skin every two weeks.

Side Effects

Like almost all pharmaceutical drugs, both Xelijanz and Humira have side effects that should be noted. Some of the more common side effects associated with Humira include headaches, rashes, and infections. Since the drug ultimately dials down on immune response, patients won’t be able to react as effectively to foreign invaders, resulting in sickness more often than average.

In more serious cases, patients may experience heart failure, leukopenia, hepatic failure, and even cancer. Due to the similarity of both drugs, Xelijanz results in many similar side effects, most of which revolve around soured immune response. Some of these include upper respiratory tract infections, sore throat, diarrhea, headaches, and urinary tract infections.

Which is More Effective?

Both drugs appear to be equally effective, so patients must ultimately decide how they would like to take the medication. A prime advantage Humira is that it only needs to be taken (via injection) once every two weeks, while Xelijanz needs to be taken twice per day, which can be difficult to keep up with.

 

 

June 10, 2015

How CPPI Is Gaining More Support On Social Media

photodune-5769074-social-media-xs

CPPI has definitely made a lot of progress with regards to their cause via social media as well as the web. Through this, the organization has managed to engage the American patients and consumers thoroughly. They have included the use of Facebook, Twitter, and CPPI’s own website to place ads, be more open, honest, and communicative. They have also recently started getting in touch with organizations that they hope would offer their support to them.

User Engagement Through Social Media

Ever since the Facebook page has been launched, the likes have continued increasing day by day and the overall response has been overwhelming. Facebook posts are made regularly and these posts talk about the pertaining issues that need to be resolved, such as the importance of having talks with the members of Congress.

CPPI’s Twitter profile has managed to do the same and has driven a significant amount of traffic with a comprehensive engagement on social media.

When it comes to the CPPI website, there have been banner ads placed that have been viewed by a lot of people and notable actions have been taken in relation to these banner ads.

Many individuals (197 people so far) have also signed up for newsletters of CPPI. And it is believed that this number will likely grow considering that the cause has so much social media support already. Also, the great thing about social media is that if one person is supporting a specific cause, then they will likely share it with the people in their network as well. When something is shared on social media, more people automatically get to know about it, resulting in more support.

Supporters To The Cause

There is a small group of allied organizations that are offering support to the cause. These include the National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Alliance for Caregiving, and National Indian Council on Aging. Follow-ups will be conducted with these organizations. Apart from these, there are also five to six organizations that have been identified for offering potential support for the cause. These include the National Retirees Legislative Network, Mayo Clinic, Pew Center Health Care Project, as well as Center for American Progress.

CPPI understands how important it is to keep the members engaged, especially through social media. When they have a large following, they will most likely be able to create a lot more awareness for their cause and reach out to a lot more people. The best part is that many of the Americans relate closely with their cause and the efforts that they are putting in to make sure that the citizens can get access to affordable and high quality medications from Canada.

June 2, 2015

The Truth About ASOP Claims

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A project known as the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) was initiated to offer protection to American consumers against the risks associated with online drug purchasing. However, ASOP give Americans information that favors their funders all under the umbrella of protecting Americans.

The truth is that Big Pharma is the founder of ASOP. The fact that Big Pharma is among the most profitable organizations in the world mean they are willing to do everything in their power to maintain that position including using scare tactics.

It is true that some online pharmacies are rogue and getting rid of them requires collective efforts. However, ASOP gives the impression that any online pharmacy that is not owned by Americans is rogue and is out to harm Americans which is not the case. They employ distorted “statistical analysis” in scaring people from purchasing drugs from online pharmacies. Therefore, they make folks believe that the only way of buying safe medications is by choosing American online pharmacies.

There is evidence to prove otherwise and this is in form of many harmless and valid online pharmacies in Canada that have supplied Americans with safe medicine for years. We can attest to this fact because we know many patients who have relied on these pharmacies for their different ailments for years and have never experienced any harmful health effects.

FaegreBD which is a big lobbying firm in Washington DC is responsible for running ASOP. They have many clients both past and present and some of them include Baxter Healthcare, the Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance (PDSA), Eli Lilly and Orexigen among others. These are “big clients” with a lot of influence capable of swaying decisions in their favor. For example, PSDA consists of over 25 stakeholders all found in the pharmaceutical distribution supply.

Big Pharma receives support from NABP, ASOP and so on and claim to care about the big number of people (100,000-700,000) who succumb to illness from counterfeit drugs purchased online yearly. ASOP adds that they are committed to protecting patients globally from the harmful effects of counterfeit drugs in order to provide patients with safe and approved medicine which they can access through the legitimate pharmacies. They go on to say this is their top priority.

Though this may seem fair, our concern is that, “Why don’t they apply the same rage when there are folks harmed by pharmacies approved by VIPPS? This mostly happens through dispensing errors committed and this end up harming American patients. They don’t seem to use the same cry for safety in these cases when those they claim to be their members approve and encourage the production and distribution of medications for unapproved purposes.

Safety of medications is an important issue and should resonate throughout the entire pharmaceutical supply chain. This priority should never be substituted for a greater “hunger” for more profits. We do not dispute the claims made by ASOP but they should be unwavering in their pursuit of ensuring the safety of American patients regardless of who is invlved.

 

 

June 1, 2015

How Obesity Can Lead To Decreased Life Expectancy

Filed under: life expectancy,weight problems — Tags: obesity, weight gain — drwatson @ 8:53 pm

ObesityMost of us know that obesity can lead to decreased life expectancy. However, very few of us actually know why this occurs, or exactly how much time is taken “off the clock”. In recent medical news, research is suggesting that obesity can shorten lifespan by about 8 years, and decrease the number of “good years” by about 20. The reason for this is simple: individuals who are obese are more likely to suffer from diabetes and heart disease (or both). This definitely emphasizes the importance of exercising regularly and eating healthy.

How Were These Conclusions Drawn?

Researchers used a computer model to help predict how longevity is affected in individuals who are overweight. The calculations showed that someone with heart disease or diabetes could expect to deprive someone of about 20 years of healthy living. On top of that, individuals who were considered “very obese” (with a BMI of 35 or more) could expect to die eight years sooner than expected. Finally, individuals with a BMI score of 25 to 30 could expect to die three years sooner than expected. To sum things up, the conclusions aren’t very promising, especially for those people who are already suffering from obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Meet The Lead Researcher

Professor Steven Grover from the McGill University in Montreal was the lead researcher for the experiment. His team’s computer modeling study demonstrated the dangers associated with being obese. The more an individual weighs, the greater impact it will have on their health. This is especially true for individuals who become obese at a younger age.

The Hard Facts About Obesity in Our Society

As unfortunate as it might sound, the hard truth is that about 10% of children are obese when they start school (around the age of five). But it gets even worse. By the time children have reached 11 years of age, and are in primary school, about 20% are obese. Note that these are numbers for schools across England. It’s very likely that they’re higher in deprived areas as well as most areas in the United States. This is actually quite scary, because these children are, after all, the future of the world.

What Can You Do To Prevent This?

Despite the seemingly depressing previous paragraph, there is some good news: you can prevent this from happening to not only yourself, but also your children. Studies have shown that exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet can.

September 17, 2014

How NOT to Increase Your Sperm Count (it’s something you carry everyday)

Filed under: pregnancy,sperm — Tags: cell phones, fertility, sperm count — drwatson @ 8:31 pm

increase_sperm_countIt is estimated that about 14% of couples in middle and high income countries have a difficult time conceiving, and several countries are seeing declines in semen quality that can’t be explained. A relatively new study has published evidence that carrying cell phones in your pocket can negatively affect the semen quality of men.

While many  men may not realize it, they might be inadvertently reducing the quality of their semen via consistent exposure to RF-EMR (or “Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation”). This was suggested by the University of Exeter in the UK, who later went on to post their research in the Environmental International journal.

The study was conducted by Doctor Fiona Mathews, who is an experienced lecturer in the field of mammalian biology. Together with her team, they carried out over 10 studies that had showed how semen quality could be affected due to cell phones being too close to the proximity of the area where semen are produced.

They pooled together over 1,500 semen samples from men attending research centers and fertility clinics. The researchers analyzed three different areas of spear quality:

  • Concentration (the number of sperm per unit)
  • Viability (the proportion of the sperm)
  • Motility (the ability for the sperm to get around and towards an egg)

From the control group, sperm showed between 50 and 85% motility. However, this fell to about 8% on average where there had been a heavy exposure to cell phones. This was according to researchers. The results for overall sperm concentration remained unclear. Nonetheless, there was enough evidence to suggest that there was a correlation between the two.

According to Doctor Mathews, the evidence “strongly suggests” that consistent exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation in trouser pockets can reduce the overall quality of sperm. More specifically, it can lower sperm motility to only 8%! Whether or not this could actually affect infertility is unclear.

However, it is important to note that the quality of the sperm does go down, which can lead to clinical implications later, although this has yet to be proven in the research. The researchers performed a variety of tests, each of which were consistent with their original hypothesis. They were conducted under controlled conditions, and included men that were in the general population.

The researchers concluded that the evidence from these long-term studies utilized a randomized controlled trial in the general population, and it is for these reasons that one should consider the conclusions being quite strong. Mobile phones are exposing men to a higher risk of infertility in regards to semen quality, which is something that men should start considering as they move forward in today’s cell phone-dominated world.

Other studies have also suggested that being stressed can also reduce semen quality in men. While researchers did not investigate the underlying reasons, they did have good reason to think why this is true – the release of “glucocorticoids”, which is basically a hormone that could negatively affect semen quality. It’s just one more reason to avoid stress in today’s fast-paced society as a man.

March 27, 2014

Low Vitamin D Levels Can Damage the Brain

Filed under: brain injury,vitamin D,vitamins — Tags: brain, vitamin D — drwatson @ 6:59 pm

vitamin_d_and_brainVitamin D plays a crucial role in helping you maintain bone health. However, a new study at the University of Kentucky is suggesting that a lack of Vitamin D can actually cause damage to your brain as well as other vital organs.

Vitamin D and The Brain: Results from A Study

The results were published in the Free Radical Biology and Medicine, and were astonishing: middle-aged rats were provided with a low Vitamin D diet for several months. During this time, drastic damage began to occur within the brain. More specifically, they weren’t able to retain information or learn.

Researchers believe that many brain proteins were discovered to have been much higher than normal, which could have lead to the massive amount of cognitive decline. The researchers also claim that the lack of vitamin D will increase in the U.S., and its effect on brain health is something that should not be overlooked.

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Given the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more widespread, especially amongst older individuals, it is even more imperative to make it a priority. Middle-aged to old-aged individuals tend to be the major targets for cognitive decline, and a lack of Vitamin D certainly doesn’t help the situation. So, what’s a great way to increase Vitamin D levels in a way that is effective and safe?

Well, you could always catch some rays. Commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, sunlight is a primary source of Vitamin D. In fact, it may even be a better source of Vitamin D than most food source. If you’re stuck between having to choose between walking and taking a car, going somewhere on foot will almost always be the better option for catching more rays.

Among the elderly population, low levels of vitamin D is common. But if you couple this with the fact that long-sleeved clothing and sunscreen is becoming equally as common, you’ll see the reason why Vitamin D deficiencies are increasing. Moreover, low Vitamin D levels have also been linked to Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as certain cancers and heart disease.

You should spend at least ten to fifteen minutes each day in the sun. While more time in the sun would be better, this should be enough to provide you with a sufficient amount of Vitamin D for the day.

You may also consider consuming more food that contains this vitamin D, including fortified milk, eggs, and oily fish. A last option is to take a vitamin D supplement.

Conclusion

If you are unsure whether you are low in Vitamin D, consider getting a blood test done. Although, if you live in a climate where there is less sunlight, chances are you require Vitamin D. Always consult your primary healthcare professional before thinking of making any chances to your diet, starting supplementation, or regarding any health questions you may have.

March 6, 2014

Heart Attack Blood Test

Filed under: heart attack — Tags: heart attack — drwatson @ 7:40 pm

heart-attack-blood-testAccording to The Heart Foundation, it is estimated that close to one million Americans are going to experience a heart attack this year. Unfortunately, the majority of these are going to strike without warning. Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute in California claim that they have devised a blood test that will help predict if an individual is at high risk of having a heart attack.

How Does The Heart Attack Blood Test Work?

Led by Professor Pet Khun, the research team states that there is currently no viable way to predict the occurrence of a heart attack in patients across the country. This medical discovery should change the way people undergo treatment for prevent heart attacks in the future.

The test itself works quite simply – after blood work has been completed, the test will identify “endothelial” cells in the blood. According to the researchers, it is these cells that are responsible with ongoing heart attacks. By accurately determining their frequency and quantity, doctors will be able to take more educated leaps towards predicting and preventing a heart attack.

Are Endothelial Cells Bad?

Researchers claim that endothelial cells will enter the bloodstream when disease starts building up inside of the arteries. These are essentially responsible for causing inflammation and ulcerating within the arteries, not to mention, they can lead to blood clots and eventually a heart attack. So, what can be done about these cells?

The newly-created procedure is referred to as “HD-CEC” (High-Definition Circulating Endothelial Cell). With it, researchers were able to identify endothelial cells in their samples from over seventy different patients who had already suffered heart attacks and some who didn’t. In short, the test was able to successfully separate those patients who had heart attacks from the ones who didn’t.

Basically, patients who had suffered a heart attack in the past had a much higher level of endothelial cells in their blood than the healthy patients. And to further concrete their findings, additional research had been conducted which included the identification of circulating tumors in patients who were diagnosed with cancer.

Professor Khun’s Final Thoughts

When interviewed, Professor Kuhn went on to add that the goal of these experiments were to determine and establish evidence for the fact that endothelial cells are much more prominent in unhealthy patients than healthy ones – which his research definitely concluded.In fact, the results were so precise and significant that he believes that he can already take the next step to create a test that helps identify the early stages of a heart attack.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the only research team attempting to establish a primary way of detecting a heart attack. In fact, researchers at the University of Edinburgh are attempting to accomplish something similar. Either way, new medical technology continues to emerge across the medical industry, creating more opportunities for people to evaluate their health and prevent health risks.

February 19, 2014

Caffeine and Memory

Filed under: Memory — Tags: caffeine, memory — drwatson @ 8:49 pm

memory and caffeineThere have been countless studies to suggest that caffeine offers some health benefits. And now, newer research is leading towards the conclusion that caffeine, when taken after a learning session, can help boost long-term memory.

The research team, by Daniel Borata, was determined to analyze and break down the effects of caffeine. More specifically, they wanted to see whether or not it could be used as a safe and reliable cognitive enhancer.

The Study Between Caffeine and Memory

Researchers analyzed 160 participants, each of whom were between the ages of 18 and 30. On the first day of the study, each participant was shown a picture of an object. They were then told to identify the object as either an “outdoor” or “indoor” item.

Shortly after, they were randomly given either a 200MG caffeine pill or a placebo tablet. The next day, participants were then shown the same pictures that they had seen previously, along with some newer ones. This time, they had to determine if the image was new, old, or similar to the original picture.

Does Caffeine Boost Memory?

From this experiment, researchers immediately noticed that individuals who had taken the caffeine pill were able to perform far more effectively at identifying the pictures that were similar versus the group who had taken the placebo. In short, the caffeine group was able to perform better cognitively.

The Recommended Dosage of Caffeine to Boost Memory

These studies suggest that taking about 200MG of caffeine per day can boost long-term memory. This is the average amount considering that the team had experimented with both 300MG and 100MG doses. In the end, they concluded that 200MG tablets were the most effective at helping people increase cognitive power.

The team also went on to say that memory performance was not increased if the participant was given the caffeine dose one hour before the test. So while the test wasn’t absolutely conclusive, it did point investigators in the right direction, and allowed them to see the infinite possibilities that caffeine can have on the human mind.

Additional Statements

The research team later made a statement which mentioned both the potential risks and benefits of using caffeine as a cognitive enhancer. According to the latest information from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), the average person in the United States consumes about 300MG of caffeine every single day. The primary sources for this amount lies mainly in coffee and soft drinks.

On a final note, there have been studies that also suggest that caffeine can be used for additional health benefits. For example, caffeinated drinks, when consumed in proper amounts, can reduce the risk of liver disease as well as reduce suicide risk.

However, the potential downsides include disrupted sleeping patterns as well as irregular heart function. Needless to say, this research does suggest amazing cognitive benefits for individuals who consume around 200MG of caffeine per day. The team will continue to assess their theory and create a firmer conclusion later on down the road.

January 29, 2014

Negative Side Effects of Energy Drinks: Blood Pressure

Filed under: blood pressure — Tags: blood pressure, energy drinks — drwatson @ 7:53 pm

Negative Side Effects Of Energy DrinksEnergy drinks are consumed on a daily basis by many people. From Red Bull to Monster to less popular brands, it seems that new energy drinks are being created every single day. Some energy drinks have had much controversy surrounding them, like Four Loco and 5 Hour Energy, while others, like Red Bull and Monster, have gone relatively unscathed. Regardless of the brand or the controversy surrounding it, new studies have shown that there are negative side effects of energy drinks, surrounding cardiovascular health.

Energy Drink Side Effect 1: Increased Heart Rate

The main cause for concern when it comes to energy drink consumption is the increased heart rate. Cardiologists measure something called the QT interval, which is a measure of the electrical system of the heart that indicates heart’s rhythm. QT intervals were increased by as much as 10 milliseconds per energy drink consumed, which has doctors extremely concerned. While 10 milliseconds may not seem like a large increase, for the heart’s rhythm, it is. Since many people who consume energy drinks have two to three or more per day, and increasing QT by 30 milliseconds is enough to cause potentially life-threatening heart arrhythmias, doctors believe that, in light of this new study, energy drink consumption can lead to arrhythmia, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, heart disease, and even death.

Energy Drink Side Effect 2: Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Any time you increase the heart rate, you will experience increased blood pressure. Think of your veins as garden hoses. If you pulse water through at a steady and consistent pace, it will flow rather well and the pressure inside the hose will remain stable. However, if you pulse water through very rapidly, this causes more water to be pushed through, causes the pulse generator, in your body’s case the heart, to work harder and causing the resulting pressure to be greater. This increased blood pressure combined with the arrhythmia created by the ingredients in energy drinks can lead to heart attack, heart disease, or death.

Energy Drinks Have No Guidelines

What is also unsettling is that energy drinks are not subject to guidelines imposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on other products, like soft drinks. A can of soda normally has about 70 mg of caffeine. However, since most energy drinks are sold as dietary supplements instead of food, they can contain between 160 and 500 mg of caffeine per serving, or more. Combine that with the taurine and other chemicals in the products and the health implications could be disastrous.

Overall, doctors say that balance in everything, including energy drinks, should not pose any threat to your health. However, the amount of energy drinks a person consumes can easily add up to a dangerous situation for his or her heart and overall health. Limiting the amount of energy drinks you consume can help to mitigate any health impacts, but to be safe, water, tea, and other types of drinks that are not chemically infused and that don’t contain exorbitant amounts of caffeine are the best way to go.

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