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  View the entire February 2018 issue in PDF format

  • Do Not Use Fentanyl for Non-Cancer Pain
    (February 2018)
    Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid that has been involved in an increasing number of overdose deaths in the U.S. Learn why this drug should be used only by cancer patients with breakthrough cancer-related pain.
  • FDA Dragging Its Feet on Improving Presentation of Risk Information in TV Drug Ads
    (February 2018)
    In 2007, Congress passed legislation aimed at improving the disclosure of risk information in TV ads for prescription drugs by mandating that ads present this information in a “clear, conspicuous, and neutral manner.” Worst Pills, Best Pills News Editor Dr. Michael Carome takes the FDA to task for never implementing the requirements of this 2007 law.
  • Incorrect Dosing of Obeticholic Acid (OCALIVA) Could Be Fatal, FDA Warns
    (February 2018)
    Obeticholic acid is a second-line treatment for patients with a rare liver disease called primary biliary cholangitis. In this article, we discuss how to appropriately dose the drug in order to avoid life-threatening liver damage.
  • Clozapine for Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia: Use With Great Caution
    (February 2018)
    No other schizophrenia medicine is more dangerous than clozapine. Learn about the drug’s serious unique risks and why it should be used only by severely ill schizophrenia patients who have failed to respond adequately to other antipsychotic medications.
  • Drug-Induced Movement Disorders
    (February 2018)
    Abnormal involuntary movements (movement disorders) occur as adverse events associated with many widely used medications and can cause substantial hardship for affected individuals. Find out which drugs are associated with these adverse effects.
  • News Brief for February 2018
    (February 2018)
    In this month’s News Brief, we report on Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s petition to the FDA to ban a cancer treatment ingredient from use in pharmacy compounding because of serious health risks to humans and no evidence of benefit.

  View the entire January 2018 issue in PDF format

  • Do Not Use Olmesartan for High Blood Pressure
    (January 2018)
    Olmesartan (BENICAR) is one of eight drugs in the family of commonly used blood pressure-lowering medications known as angiotensin II receptor blockers. Learn about the severe, life-threatening gastrointestinal adverse effects of olmesartan that could land you in the hospital.
  • Opioid Maker Executives “No Better Than Street-Level Drug Dealers”
    (January 2018)
    Worst Pills, Best Pills News Editor Dr. Michael Carome discusses the recent arrest of John Kapoor, the billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics — the drug company that markets fentanyl sublingual spray (SUBSYS), a highly addictive, dangerous opioid drug. Kapoor has been charged with “leading a nationwide conspiracy” to profit by bribing doctors to inappropriately prescribe the company’s fentanyl spray product.
  • Study Links Sleeping Pills to Hip Fractures in the Elderly
    (January 2018)
    Every year, more than 300,000 older Americans are hospitalized due to hip fractures, and almost all of these fractures are caused by falls. Read about new research further linking use of sleeping pills to an increased risk of falls and serious injury.
  • Milnacipran For Fibromyalgia: Do Not Use
    (January 2018)
    Milnacipran (SAVELLA) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2009 for the treatment of fibromyalgia in adults, which remains its only approved use. In this article, we review data showing that the drug is ineffective for treating fibromyalgia and dangerous.
  • Do Not Use Mirabegron (MYRBETRIQ) for Overactive Bladder
    (January 2018)
    Overactive bladder is a bothersome — but not serious — medical problem that becomes more common with age. Find out why mirabegron is the wrong choice for treating this condition.

  View the entire December 2017 issue in PDF format

  • The Dangerous Diabetes Drug Pramlintide: Do Not Use
    (December 2017)
    In this article, we explain why the serious adverse effects of the injected diabetes drug pramlintide far outweigh the drug’s limited benefits.
  • At the Behest of the Opioid Drug Industry, Congress Undermined the DEA
    (December 2017)
    Worst Pills, Best Pills News Editor Dr. Michael Carome discusses how the opioid drug industry successfully lobbied Congress to pass a dangerous bill that effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Agency of one of its strongest enforcement tools for fighting the illegal diversion of opioid drugs.
  • Drugs That Cause Weight Gain
    (December 2017)
    Weight gain is an adverse event associated with many widely used medications and may lead to significant overweight and obesity, especially in susceptible individuals. Find out which drugs have this adverse effect.
  • Drug for Treating Nighttime Urination Too Dangerous
    (December 2017)
    Nighttime urination is a common symptom that becomes more common with increasing age. Learn why the only drug approved for treating this symptom offers only meager benefits along with unacceptable risks.
  • Rifaximin (XIFAXAN): Another Poor Choice for Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    (December 2017)
    Rifaximin was approved by the FDA in May 2015 for treating irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea as the predominant symptom in adults. Find out about the drug’s serious adverse effects that outweigh its limited benefits.

Additional Information from Public Citizen

  • (January 16, 2018)
    Public Citizen expressed concerns with the proposal to grant two years of exclusivity for certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that is included in the September 11, 2017, House of Representatives’ discussion draft of the Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2018. While Public Citizen supports many of the measures included in the Act that would enable the Food and Drug Administration to better ensure that OTC drugs are safe and effective, we are concerned that the proposal to gran
  • (January 16, 2018)
    Public Citizen sent a letter to members of U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee urging them to oppose legislation that would further erode the restrictions on the promotion of drugs for unapproved (off-label) uses that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for at least one use. The bill would threaten patient health and safety by undermining the current regulatory regime for ensuring that drugs are safe and effective for each intended use.
  • (January 12, 2018)
    Public Citizen applauds the decision by the European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee to recommend removing all hydroxyethyl starch (HES) intravenous (IV) solutions from the market, although this action comes nearly five years too late. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must now follow suit with an immediate ban on HES solutions in the U.S.
  • (January 11, 2018)
    Public Citizen filed comments supporting a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) draft guidance, in which the FDA declared that it would no longer grant orphan drug designation to drugs for use in pediatric subpopulations of common diseases or conditions unless: 1) The disease in the pediatric population constitutes a valid orphan subset, or 2) the disease in the pediatric subpopulation is a different disease from the disease in the adult population.
  • (January 10, 2018)
    In testimony before a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee, Public Citizen urged the committee to recommend that the FDA reject Lipocine’s oral testosterone undecanoate capsules (Tlando) because of serious safety concerns.