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Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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Experts debate whether the potential risks outweigh any hypothetical benefits

A pharmacist displays a box of hydroxychloroquine tablets.
A pharmacist displays a box of hydroxychloroquine tablets.
Photo: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, President Donald Trump announced he has been taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis against the novel coronavirus — meaning he’s taking the drug, which is under investigation as a Covid-19 treatment, to prevent getting infected. There is no evidence that Trump has been exposed to the coronavirus nor is there evidence that hydroxychloroquine can prevent infection. …


Palforzia, a new drug for peanut allergies, may open the door to a new era of food allergy treatments

Photo: Valeriia Sviridova / EyeEm/Getty Images

People with peanut allergies have reason to rejoice. Today, the FDA approved a first-of-its-kind drug for the treatment of peanut allergies. Experts say the drug’s approval could usher in a new era in allergy treatment — and not just for people who are allergic to peanuts.

The drug is called Palforzia. It’s an oral treatment composed of small, precisely measured and purified doses of peanut powder, which are intended to be mixed into food and eaten daily. The drug isn’t a cure, and it’s not intended to allow people with peanut allergies to eat peanuts at will. …


Cancer-causing chemicals in the popular heartburn drug Zantac have led to its removal from store shelves. Here’s what you need to know.

Credit: SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty Images

If you are one of the 75 million Americans suffering from high blood pressure, you may have been affected by the recent recalls of heart medicines found to be contaminated with cancer-causing agents, or carcinogens. Over the past 18 months, hundreds of lots of generic valsartan, losartan, and irbesartan, drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), were recalled. And in September, the FDA stated that the same type of impurity was found in medicines used to treat heartburn, including the popular over-the-counter drug Zantac. The alert has since led to yet more recalls.

To learn that a medicine you…


How to avoid being duped by your vitamins and supplements

Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

Taking a daily multivitamin or fish oil pill is a common ritual. In fact, Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements.

But a growing body of evidence suggests that popular vitamins and supplements may not always contain what their labels claim, and potentially dangerous ingredients can get into the pills. A recent October 2018 report by California Department of Public Health researchers, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, revealed that more than 700 supplements on the market included unlabeled ingredients found in pharmaceutical drugs, and less than half received voluntary recalls from health authorities. “That’s…


Recreational CBD is booming, but what’s the holdup with its medical uses?

Illustrations: Lucy Sherston

“To imagine that a small amount of oil from a plant could prevent terrible seizures was so hard to comprehend,” says Chelsea Leyland, a British DJ, activist, and epilepsy sufferer. She’s describing the first time her family saw a video of Charlotte Figi, a toddler from Colorado whose family was able to reduce her violent seizures from 120 a day to nearly zero with a CBD-THC tincture derived from cannabis.

Three years ago, Leyland was taking lamotrigine and Keppra, two heavy pharmaceuticals with severe side effects, to prevent myoclonic seizures. Eventually, after some anecdotal advice, she bought a bottle of…


This ‘Wild West’ industry could be facing some law and order

Credit: yavdat/Getty Images

Federal officials are coming for America’s latest health trend. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is gearing up to tighten its oversight of cannabidiol, better known as CBD — the non-intoxicating chemical cousin of THC that is marketed as a natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments.

Since late last year, products containing CBD — from pills, oils, and cosmetics to drinks, gummies, and even dog treats — have proliferated across the country. The boom is largely thanks to a change in federal law in December 2018 that legalized hemp, a low-THC variety of marijuana that had previously been…


Doctors say a nasal spray may not be the best way to administer a promising new depression drug

Illustration by George Wylesol

In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first new drug for depression in decades, esketamine. The drug — which many experts are calling a groundbreaking new treatment — has the same molecular formula but different chemical structure as ketamine, also known as the illicit party drug, Special K.

Despite its reputation as a club drug, ketamine is increasingly used in medical clinics across the country for people with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), or those with clinical depression who have not been relieved of their symptoms through the use of other drugs or therapy. TRD affects one-third of…

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