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Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

  View the entire June 2018 issue in PDF format

  • Preventing Heat-Induced Death and Illness
    (June 2018)
    This article lists practical steps to take to avoid death, hospitalization or other medical problems caused by heat stress. It also identifies over 100 drugs that can impair your response to heat and thereby increase your risk of heat-induced illness and death.
  • FDA's "Breakthrough Therapies" Designation Often Misleading
    (June 2018)
    In his editor’s column, Dr. Michael Carome discusses an analysis by researchers at Harvard University that suggests that patients and doctors are being misled about the benefits of drugs approved under the FDA’s “breakthrough therapies” pathway.
  • Antibiotic Clarithromycin May Increase Risk of Death, FDA Warns
    (June 2018)
    Clarithromycin is an oral antibiotic that is commonly used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. Learn why patients with heart disease should avoid this antibiotic unless no other suitable antibiotic is available.
  • Do Not Use the New Oral Blood Thinner Apixaban (ELIQUIS)
    (June 2018)
    Apixaban is a new oral anticoagulant (blood thinner) that was first approved by the FDA in 2012 for decreasing the risk of blood clots in certain patients. Find out why older anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin (COUMADIN, JANTOVEN), are a better choice.
  • Topical Clobetasol Propionate: Only Use to Treat Severe Skin Disorders
    (June 2018)
    All but one of the clobetasol propionate products are classified as super-high potency topical corticosteroids. They are approximately 1,000 times more potent than over-the-counter 1-percent hydrocortisone. This article offers advice on how to use these products safely.

  View the entire May 2018 issue in PDF format

  • Overview of the Antiplatelet Drug Prasugrel (EFFIENT)
    (May 2018)
    Prasugrel is an oral antiplatelet drug that was approved by the FDA in 2009 as an add-on treatment to aspirin to prevent clots from forming that may cause a heart attack or stroke in certain patients with coronary artery disease. Learn why we recommend avoiding this medication.
  • TV Drug Ads Routinely Fail to Comply with FDA Requirements
    (May 2018)
    Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars annually advertising their products directly to consumers on TV. But as Worst Pills, Best Pills News Editor Dr. Michael Carome explains, prescription drug TV ads often fail to fully adhere to FDA regulations governing direct-to-consumer ads.
  • News Brief for May 2018
    (May 2018)
    In this month’s News Brief, we report the sentencing of the former supervisory pharmacist at the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center located in Framingham, Massachusetts to eight years in prison for his role in the deadly nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012 that had been linked to tainted steroid drugs made by the company.
  • Gout Drug Febuxostat (ULORIC): Risks Outweigh Benefits
    (May 2018)
    When the FDA approved febuxostat in 2009 for treating high uric acid blood levels in patients with gout, we advised readers not to use the drug until at least February 2016 based on our longstanding “Seven-Year Rule.” Read this article to hear results of new research that prompted us to now designate febuxostat as Do Not Use.
  • USPSTF Recommends Against Hormone Therapy to Prevent Chronic Conditions in Postmenopausal Women
    (May 2018)
    This article reviews the recent recommendation issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention, against the use of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women in order to prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, cancer and osteoporosis.
  • Oral Baclofen Effective Only for Multiple Sclerosis
    (May 2018)
    Find out why the muscle relaxant baclofen is a reasonable choice for treating reversible muscle spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis but should not be used to treat spasticity due to spinal cord injuries or other spinal cord diseases.
  • Public Citizen Urges FDA to Improve Drug Ad Requirements
    (May 2018)
    In 2017, the FDA announced its intention to consider allowing drug companies to reduce the amount of risk information they disclose to consumers in direct-to-consumer prescription drug television or radio ads. This article discusses why the FDA’s proposal would be bad for consumers.

  View the entire April 2018 issue in PDF format

  • Beware of Companies Peddling Illegal Opioid Addiction Remedies
    (April 2018)
    In his editor’s column, Dr. Michael Carome offers advice on how to avoid being conned by unscrupulous companies promising miracle treatments for opioid addiction and withdrawal.
  • Topiramate: Limit Use to Treatment of Seizures, Do Not Use for Other Conditions
    (April 2018)
    Topiramate is a second-generation antiepileptic drug that was originally approved by the FDA in 1996. In this article, we discuss why topiramate is an appropriate option for treating certain seizure disorders but should not be used for treatment of migraine headaches.
  • Extended-Release Niacin (NIASPAN): Now Designated as Do Not Use
    (April 2018)
    Extended-release niacin is approved by the FDA to reduce elevated cholesterol levels and to reduce the risk of recurrent, nonfatal heart attacks in patients with histories of previous heart attacks and elevated cholesterol levels. Learn why we just changed the designation of niacin extended-release tablets from Limited Use to Do Not Use.
  • Nebivolol (BYSTOLIC): Limited Use for Hypertension
    (April 2018)
    When the beta blocker nebivolol was approved by the FDA in 2007, we advised readers not to use the drug until 2015, in accordance with our seven-year rule. Find out why we now have designated nebivolol as Limited Use and whether it is the right choice for treating hypertension.
  • FDA Issues a Public Health Advisory Regarding the Dangerous Plant Kratom
    (April 2018)
    Read this article to learn about recent FDA public health advisories warning against the use of kratom and kratom-containing dietary supplements, which have been falsely touted by some marketers as safe treatments that have broad healing properties.

Additional Information from Public Citizen

  • (May 25, 2018)
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed with Public Citizen that over-the-counter oral health care products containing benzocaine should never be used in infants under any circumstances, even with the advice and supervision of a health care professional, because of the risk of methemoglobinemia, a life-threatening blood disorder that impairs the body’s ability to use oxygen.
  • (May 23, 2018)
    The FDA’s action today to protect infants and children from exposure to over-the-counter oral health products containing benzocaine, which can cause methemoglobinemia, a life-threatening blood disorder that impairs the body’s ability to use oxygen, comes too late for some infants and children.
  • (May 22, 2018)
    In testimony before a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Public Citizen urged the committee to recommend that the FDA reject INSYS Development Company’s new drug application for buprenorphine sublingual spray for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acute pain where the use of an opioid analgesic is appropriate because the risks of the drug outweigh the benefits.
  • (May 1, 2018)
    In testimony before a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Arthritis Advisory Committee, Public Citizen urged the committee to recommend that the FDA reject Eli Lilly and Company’s new drug application for baricitinib for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis because it lacks any unique benefit over the very similar FDA-approved drug tofacitinib but causes unique life-threatening harms.
  • (May 1, 2018)
    In testimony before a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Arthritis Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Public Citizen argued that because of the major limitations of the PRECISION trial, no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the trial regarding the cardiovascular safety of celecoxib relative to ibuprofen and naproxen.