Health Diaries > Prescription Drug Watch

Monday, Feb 13, 2012

Side Effects of Xanax

Xanax (Alprazolam) is a benzodiazapene anti-anxiety medication marketed by Pfizer with generic forms manufactured by various drug companies. It is not fully understood how benzodiazepines such as Xanax function in the brain but it is thought to achieve its effect by changing the action of the neurotransmitter chemical GABA in the brain and spinal cord.

Typically administered in .25, .5, 1 and 2 mg oral tablets, Xanax is commonly used for treating anxiety, seizures and insomnia though many doctors use the drug for other purposes such as dental surgery.

There are many drugs and other substances (such as grapefruit and St. John's wort) which interact with Xanax so it is very important to read your pharmacist's insert on drug facts and take care to avoid contraindicated substances.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take Xanax and patients should make sure their doctors are aware of any preexisting health issues before they are prescribed a new drug.

Xanax is potentially habit-forming and side effects of Xanax may include behavioral changes such as risk taking, fearlessness, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts, hostility, hyperactivity, trouble concentrating or changes in sex drive. Other physical and mental side effects may include memory peoblems, lightheaded feelings, fainting, hallucinations, chest pain, seizure, increased sweating, dry mouth, nausea, bowel issues, weakness, swollen extremities, insomnia, and headache.

This space is provided for you to share your side effects experiences (or lack thereof) with Xanax by posting a comment below.

Filed under Benzodiazepines, Drug Side Effects, Xanax | Comments (280)

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008

Antidepressants No More Effective Than Placebos

A new study published in the Public Library of Science Journal claims that SSRI antidepressants Prozac, Effexor, Paxil, and Serzone are no more effective than placebos, except in the case of those who are "at the upper end of the very severely depressed category."

"Although patients get better when they take antidepressants, they also get better when they take a placebo, and the difference in improvement is not very great," lead researcher Irving Kirsch, a professor of psychology at the University of Hull in Great Britain, said in a prepared statement. "This means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments," he added.

The researchers got their results by examining unpublished drug trial results done by the drug companies. They got the study results from the FDA through the Freedom of Information Act.

Not surprisingly, the drug companies aren't thrilled with the results of the review. A spokesperson from Prozac manufacturer Eli Lilly said the study "does not take into account that today more than 12,000 patients have participated in Prozac clinical trials and thousands of scientific papers have referenced Prozac, supporting its use in the treatment of depression."

GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Paxil, said, "This analysis has only examined a small subset of the total data available ... and this one study should not be used to cause unnecessary alarm and concern for patients."

Filed under Antidepressants, Effexor, Paxil | Comments (27)

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

Boniva Side Effects

Boniva (Ibandronate) is a drug prescribed to treat or prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Share your Boniva side effects and experiences by posting a comment here.

The officially reported side effects of this drug are:

Common: bladder pain, chest pain, bloody or cloudy urine, cough producing mucus, difficulty breathing, fever or chills, painful, difficult, or burning urination, frequent urge to urinate, lower back or side pain, pounding in the ears, nervousness, shortness of breath, sneezing, slow or fast heartbeat, sore throat, wheezing, and tightness in chest.

Less common: bloody or cloudy urine, congestion, aches and pains, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, dryness of throat, frequent urge to urinate, fast heartbeat, hives, itching, hoarseness, numbness, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue, runny nose, skin rash, swollen glands in neck, tingling, trouble swallowing, tiredness or weakness, and voice changes.

Unknown incidence: blurred vision or other vision changes, severe and occasionally incapacitating bone, joint and/or muscle pain, eye redness and/or tenderness, heavy jaw feeling, loosening of a tooth, pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth or jaw, sensitivity to light, severe eye pain, tearing.

Filed under Boniva | Comments (163)

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007

John Travolta Says Psychiatric Drugs to Blame for School Shootings

John Travolta says he agrees with Tom Cruise's views on psychiatric drugs and says he thinks these drugs are to blame for most of the school shootings.

"I don't disagree with anything Tom says," Travolta says in the July issue of W magazine, on newsstands Friday. "How would I have presented it? Maybe differently than how he did, but it doesn't matter. I still think that if you analyze most of the school shootings, it is not gun control. It is (psychotropic) drugs at the bottom of it."

It's true that many of the school shooters were on antidepressants and many - not just Scientologists like Travolta and Cruise - believe there is a link.

While taking the drugs themselves often causes psychotic reactions, it is also frequently the case that withdrawal from these drugs causes normally peaceful people to become violent and murderous.

I agree with John Travolta that we can't jump to the conclusion that lack of gun control is the cause of school shootings. Vermont has one of the most relaxed stances on gun control in the country and has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. The people who really want to go on a shooting rampage are going to get their guns illegally, anyway.

Do people want to blame guns because they can't face the fact that questionable medical treatment may be to blame for these horrors? How many more school shootings do we need to live through before someone says enough is enough when it comes to the overprescription of antidepressants in adolescents and teens?

You don't have to be a Scientologist to see that something is very wrong and needs to be changed within the psychiatric system.

Travolta Echoes Cruise on Psychiatry

Filed under Antidepressants | Comments (37)

Wednesday, Apr 11, 2007

TV Pharma Ads Less Effective Than Print Ads

Drug companies are working overtime to make sure you take more notice of their drug ads. They've found that people recall print ads much more than tv ads.

The research and consulting firm surveyed 4,000 people by showing them visual storyboards of direct-to-consumer (DTC) TV ads and found that 36% recalled specific TV campaigns. That compares with 50% that recall specific print campaigns.

They've also found that people with the medical problem for which the drug is aimed recall the drug ad more often.

For example, 43% of people who suffer with osteoporosis recalled a TV ad for Fosamax Plus D compared with only 19% of non-sufferers.

It's amusing that while most countries have banned direct-to-consumer drug advertising (the United States and New Zealand are the only countries where this is legal and New Zealand is planning to ban it), the United States is performing studies to figure out how to make them more effective.

Study Finds TV Pharma Ads Less Effective Than Print

Filed under Drug Marketing | Comments (118)

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007

Methadone Abuse On the Rise

Because of the death of Anna Nicole Smith, we have been hearing a lot about methadone in the news. It is becoming a more and more popular street drug, similar to Oxycontin and Vicodin. Only cocaine kills more people.

Fatal overdoses of methadone rose at a higher rate than those involving any other narcotic from 1999 through 2004, according to a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The number of deaths from methadone in 2004 (3,849) represented a 390% rise from 1999, the study said.

Deadly abuse of methadone tops other prescription drugs

Filed under Methadone | Comments (74)


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