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Medication

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Increased antibiotic use is associated with an increased risk for hospitalization. The study looked at primary care medical records linked to hospital admissions in 1.8 million patients from 2000 to 2016, and analyzed those who had received systemic antibiotics. Infections of interest included urinary tract, ear, and respiratory (those with more serious chronic conditions like cystic fibrosis and chronic lung disease were excluded from the study). The results showed that the more antibiotics a patient was prescribed, the more likely they were to be hospitalized for a subsequent infection in 3 or more months. Those with 9 or more antibiotic prescriptions were 2.26 times more likely to be hospitalized, while those with 5 to 8, 3 or 4, and 2 antibiotic prescriptions were 1.77, 1.33, and 1.23 more likely, respectively. BMC Medicine Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study claim that the overuse of antibiotics for common infections is “unproven –…

In this webinar with Dr. Chutkan, hosted by Our Health Talks, you will learn the following: How Dr. Chutkan’s “Live Dirty, Eat Clean” mantra applies to health todayDr. Chutkan’s produce-cleaning regimeHallmark foods in a “clean eating” dietRisk of antibioticsDoes having a GI issue make someone more susceptible to contracting illness? Explaining IBS vs. IBDCan nature exposure and sunlight help in combating the spread of COVID-19? What are some self-care practices that you using right now? How is the practice of medicine going to change after all this?Do you think it’s a good idea to increase dosage of probiotic supplements right now? Are you recommending prebiotics in conjunction with probiotics?Is sourdough considered a healthful fermented food?What is the role of hand sanitizers in the COVID-19 battle?How are you staying educated on our understanding of the disease right now? How do you think we could better prepare for the next time something…

Certain medications could make you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and could worsen infection. NSAIDs: You may have already heard that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and aspirin used to reduce pain, fever, and inflammation) may aggravate coronavirus infection. Because these drugs may affect the immune response, they can potentially elongate the infection time and increase the possibility of complications. While some studies support this line of thinking, the evidence is minimal and more studies are needed. Experts agree that they know very little about how NSAIDs effect coronavirus infection and are looking further into the association. In the meantime, the recommendation is that patients should use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce pain and fever.  Corticosteroids: Because of their immunosuppressive characteristics, the routine use of corticosteroids is discouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations are in place because corticosteroids dampen the immune system, hypothetically increasing the risk of…

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs – acid blocking medications prescribed for reflux and GERD) are linked to increased rates of acute gastroenteritis in the winter months when enteric viruses are at their peak. In a cohort matched study containing 233,596 patients receiving proton pump therapy and 626,887 not receiving the therapy, researchers found that the PPI group had 1.81 times higher instances of infection. JAMA Takeaway: Previous studies have linked long-term PPI use to a host of health complications, including dysbiosis, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, declining bone health, and even an increased risk of death. If you are taking a PPI and are considering tapering off the drug, check out our article on this subject and work with your healthcare professional for support to be sure this is the right decision for you and your condition.

If you’ve read our newsletter in the past, you’re familiar with our motto of lifestyle interventions first and foremost, and medications as a last resort for treating physical ailments. But even we were shocked to find out that older individuals, on average, are on 15 prescription medications each year. A recent New York Times article highlighted these findings from the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists – “People aged 65 to 69 take an average of 15 prescription medications a year, and those aged 80 to 84 take 18 prescriptions a year. And that’s in addition to the myriad of over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals they may take, any of which — alone or in combination — could cause more problems than they cure.” An overwhelming majority of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies have harmful side-effects, especially when taken improperly. Legacy prescribing – when a drug is prescribed and…

Could your medication be the cause of your weight gain or inability to lose weight? A recent study presented at the United European Gastroenterology week this year found that commonly prescribed medications significantly alter the gut microbiome, increasing the risk of infection, weight gain, obesity, and a host of other diseases and conditions related to gut bacteria imbalance (or dysbiosis). The study looked at stool samples from 1,883 individuals, some healthy and some with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and assessed the impact of single drug use as well as multiple drug use on the gut microbiome. Out of 41 drug categories analyzed, 18 were associated with significant alterations in the microbiome. These alterations varied depending on the medication, and included microbial changes such as bacterial overgrowth in the upper GI tract, alterations in fatty acid production, increased levels of E. coli and Eubacterium ramulus, and heightened antibiotic resistance within the…

Annette is a patient born in Argentina who I saw in consultation for Crohn’s disease. Like most people from that part of the world, she received the bacillus Calmette–Guérin, or BCG, vaccine against tuberculosis as a child. Since the vaccine is prepared from a strain of live tuberculosis that has lost its virulence in humans, one of the possible side effects is a false positive skin test for tuberculosis, which is exactly what happened to Annette when she was screened for tuberculosis in middle school. As a result of the positive test, she was treated for active tuberculosis infection with three antibiotics for a total of nine months, even though she never had any signs or symptoms of tuberculosis, and an X-ray of her lungs failed to show any evidence of the disease. In her senior year of high school Annette developed abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. She was…

Antibiotics disrupt flu vaccine success. A study published this fall found that in those who hadn’t had the flu shot or the flu in the last three years, receiving antibiotics just before the flu shot made it less effective. Cell Takeaway: This is the first human study of its kind, and illustrates the key role our gut bugs play in determining our immune response, as well as how our microbiome can impact the success – or failure – of medication. If you plan to receive the flu vaccine (and even if you don’t!), avoiding antibiotics is an important step in cultivating a strong, responsive immune system.