Pharmacology

Recent mass killings have again raised concern among lawmakers and the media about the possible connection between mental illness, and drugs to treat it, and gun violence.  Obviously someone who commits a mass shooting is mentally ill so renewed focus has been on the impact of a modern medical culture which over-medicates a lot of behavior. Guns have always been a part of American culture and individual murders are down, but a spate of mass shootings has occurred recently, causing people to search for a cause beyond simplistic 'ban guns' exploitation.


Tamoxifen is a widely used breast cancer drug but  some women with advanced, postmenopausal estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer
don't respond to it. 

A study in Clinical Cancer Research found that the inexpensive anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) reverses resistance to tamoxifen in mice, meaning that adding HCQ to tamoxifen could provide a new treatment option for women with the ER+ subtype, which accounts for an estimated 70 percent of all breast cancers. While many of these women are treated with tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen from fueling the tumor, 50 percent of these cancers will either not respond or will become resistant to tamoxifen over time. 


Active pharmaceutical ingredient is the term used to refer to the biologically active component of a drug product, such as a tablet or capsule. 

Drug products are usually composed of several components and the active pharmaceutical ingredient is the primary ingredient. Other, inactive ingredients are commonly known as excipients and they are things like preservatives, dyes or flavoring. These inert substances are always required to be biologically safe. That doesn't mean they can't have an effect. An inert ingredient like lactose can cause an adverse reaction in some.


Young men who use cannabis may be putting their fertility at risk by inadvertently affecting the size and shape of their sperm according to research published today (Thursday 5 June 2014).

In the world's largest study to investigate how common lifestyle factors influence the size and shape of sperm (referred to as sperm morphology), a research team from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester also found that sperm size and shape was worse in samples ejaculated in the summer months but was better in men who had abstained from sexual activity for more than six days.

However, other common lifestyle factors reported by men, including smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, appeared to have little effect.


Anti-depressants are having a bad decade. They've been increasingly implicated in acts of violence - it used to be that if a person had been treated by multiple therapists, society had done its part, and now society wonders if over-medicating and creating too many psychological labels are the problem rather than the solution.

Now antidepressants are increasingly linked to obesity. 

A new study in mice has shown that a previously developed male hormonal (testosterone) oral contraceptive method is unable to stop the production and / or the release of sperm.  


A nationwide survey indicates that heroin users are attracted to heroin not only for the high, but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers.


The therapeutic potential of marijuana and pure cannabidiol (CBD), an active substance in the cannabis plant, for neurologic conditions is debatable - though so far the debate has mostly been anecdotes against science.

A series of articles published in Epilepsia examine the potential use of medical marijuana and CBD in treating severe forms of epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome.


Counterfeit medicines have skyrocketed in recent years and the gullibility of the public has been bolstered by conspiracy theories about profits by pharmaceutical companies - they believe that every country must be making the same products free, or at least subsidizing it to get costs down. A $1 Viagra pill is believable if you want to believe.


A large study may upend our understanding of vitamin E, a vital antioxidant, and ties the increasing consumption of supposedly healthy vitamin E-rich oils such as canola, soybean and corn  to the rising incidence of lung inflammation and, possibly, asthma. 

The different health effects of vitamin E depend on its form. The form of Vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol in the ubiquitous soybean, corn and canola oils is associated with decreased lung function in humans, the study reports. The other form of Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, which is found in olive and sunflower oils, does the opposite. It's associated with better lung function.