drug side effects

  1. Pradaxa quickly climbs the list of dangerous drugs

    Lawsuits mount over new blood thinner

    New and improved? When it comes to blood thinners, they got the "new" part right... but they're definitely not improved.

    Pradaxa, first in a new generation of blood thinners, was supposed to be safer than warfarin -- a blood thinner so dangerous it's been used as rat poison over the years.

    As you can imagine, patients couldn't wait to get off warfarin -- so Pradaxa sales quickly shot past the $1 billion mark, making it the newest blockbuster drug. And now, it looks like it might be on the wrong end of the next blockbuster lawsuit, too -- because Pradaxa has been linked to thousands of serious problems, including bleeding problems, and hundreds of deaths.

    Last year, Pradaxa was responsible for more reports of adverse events than any other drug -- including 542 deaths, 2,367 cases of hemorrhaging, 644 strokes, and 291 cases of acute renal failure.

    If that's not enough, it was also a suspect in 15 cases of liver failure, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

    That's quite a long list of problems for a drug that's barely been on the market for two years -- and since up to 99 percent of all drug side effects go unreported, the real numbers could be much higher.

    As a result, there are attorneys ready to make a career off this. According to USA Today, one major firm has 70 lawyers devoted to Pradaxa litigation

    It's tough to choose between rat poison and becoming the next potential client in a lawsuit, which is why it's important to know about preventative approaches that can thin the blood naturally.

    And it starts with learning why your blood has thickened in the first place.

    In many cases, I've found that thick blood is the result of excess levels of a protein called fibrinogen. One way to reduce those levels is with fish oil, as the omega-3 fatty acids can help thin the blood. The enzyme nattokinase is another excellent natural blood thinner.

    Don't fly solo on this one, and don't start swapping fish oil for meds on your own as there are certain conditions that require medication to thin the blood.

    Work with a holistic doctor who can run some tests to help determine why your blood thickened and then help you figure out the best -- and, just as importantly, safest -- natural solutions.

  2. Natural cures for the ringing in the ear called tinnitus

    Sound therapy helps beat tinnitus

    You don't have to be particularly religious to appreciate the melodic ringing of church bells. But a ringing in the ears is another story.

    It's a condition called tinnitus, and it can range from a slight and occasional nuisance to a constant and maddening presence.

    There's no drug that'll cure it, but natural therapies can work wonders. And now, researchers say some cases of tinnitus can be eased through a combination of simple talk therapy and a little bit of relaxing ocean sounds.

    In the new study, 247 tinnitus patients were sent to audiologists but not given any specific treatment other than whatever that audiologist recommended.

    Another 245 patients were sent off for a combination of two treatments: a sound machine pumping out calming ocean waves in an attempt to "retrain" the ears, and cognitive behavioral therapy (that's a type of psychotherapy).

    A year later, these combo patients reported improvements in quality of life as well as less fear and fewer negative thoughts related to the condition, according to the study in Lancet.

    But it wasn't exactly a cure, either, because the ringing was still there -- the treatments just helped the patients to live with it better.

    That might be an improvement for patients who suffer from tinnitus caused by psychological factors. But most cases of tinnitus have a real cause inside the body -- and a much better and more permanent solution is to find that cause and correct it.

    In many cases, tinnitus is the result of poor blood circulation in the inner ear. Neither talk therapy nor the sounds of ocean waves -- or even the two together -- will do a thing to correct that. But circulation-enhancing supplements such as ginkgo biloba or vinpocetine can improve blood circulation and improve the condition.

    For many other tinnitus patients, the real "cure" isn't a cure so much as avoiding the cause.

    Caffeine, nicotine, and food sensitivities can all cause or worsen the condition. It's also a side effect of common drugs, including antidepressants, diuretics, aspirin, NSAIDs, and antibiotics.

    Learn to find and tune out the cause, and you can tune out the ringing for good. The ocean sounds are nice, but they're entirely optional.

  3. The myth of the 'senior moment'

    The "senior moment" -- it's one of the most common stereotypes in movies and on television. But the "senior moment" used so often for cheap laughs isn't nearly as "common" as you've been led to believe. In fact, most seniors barely experience any significant form of cognitive decline over the years.
  4. Sex can help women age better

    Sex doesn't just get better with age -- age gets better with sex, especially for women.

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