Two New Cholesterol Drugs Get Advisory OK, Despite Doubts

A federal advisory panel has recommended that two powerful new cholesterol-lowering drugs be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, despite concerns that the drugs’ long-term effects are still being studied. The medications belong to a new class of biotech drugs that lower cholesterol in a different, more powerful way than statins, which have been the standard treatment to protect against heart disease for the past 20-plus years. Called PCSK9 inhibitors, they’re taken by injection every two to four weeks …

Some Heartburn Drugs Could Up Heart Attack Risk

Could some heartburn drugs be risky for your heart? A new Stanford University study, which used data mining to look at health information from nearly 3 million patients, found that the hugely popular proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) — including Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid — were associated with a 16 to 21 percent increase in heart attack risk. This higher heart attack frequency could be seen in otherwise healthy PPI users of all ages, including under age 45, researchers reported. Get …

Your Birth Month Could Affect Your Disease Risk

Did you celebrate a birthday last month? Congratulations. You were born in the month with the lowest lifetime risk of disease. That’s one of the findings of an intriguing new Columbia University study that found an association between birth month and risk of disease. Although a link between when birth month and some conditions, such as asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has been found in past, smaller studies, the Columbia researchers designed a computer algorithm to take a …

‘Women’s Viagra’ Gets OK From FDA Committee

The first drug designed to boost a woman’s sex drive was given the green light Thursday by a government advisory panel, which recommended that the pill be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but only with certain safety restrictions. The committee voted 18-6 in favor of approving the pill flibanserin for women on the condition that drugmaker Sprout Pharmaceuticals take measures to reduce the risk of its side effects. The FDA is expected to announce a final decision by …

Is the Era of Cheap Generic Drugs About to End?

En español | Prices for generic drugs most commonly used by older Americans fell by the smallest percentage since 2006, with 1 in 4 rising in price — some by more than 1,000 percent, according to a new report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI). The report looked at 2013 price trends for 280 generic prescription medications widely used by those age 50-plus. The majority of these generics saw price decreases, some of them substantial, but the overall decline slowed …

The Best Sunscreens You’re Not Using

Who’s better at using sunscreen lotion, men or women? Truthfully, they’re both pretty lousy at it, according to a new government study. Even sadder: New testing of sunscreen lotions finds you can’t always believe the claims on the label. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found a paltry 14 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported that they regularly use sunscreen on both their face and other exposed skin. Women are better when it comes …