Pharmacology

The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is far higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine.

In fact, the deaths due to overdose of opiods - legal painkillers - is higher than cocaine and heroin combined, according to a new paper. In a first-of-its-kind review of existing research, the McGill team has put the spotlight on a major public health problem: the dramatic increase in deaths due to prescribed painkillers, which were involved in more than 16,000 deaths in 2010 in the U.S. alone. Currently, the US and Canada rank #1 and #2 in per capita opioid consumption.


Harrisvaccines has been granted United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conditional licensure of the company's Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) Vaccine. 

 PEDv is a highly contagious swine disease that entered the United States in April 2013. PEDv causes vomiting and diarrhea in older animals and extreme dehydration and mortality of up to 100 percent in piglets that are less than one week of age. Since entering the U.S. a year ago, PEDv has spread to nearly 30 states and throughout North America, causing the death of millions of piglets. PEDv is not a zoonotic disease, and therefore cannot spread to humans, but it has cost the pork industry and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.  

Due in large part to the popularity of energy drinks and chain coffee shops, caffeine intake by children and adolescents has risen substantially - some drinks are marketed to children as young as four.

Unlike nicotine, caffeine has slipped under the cultural radar as a harmless drug, even for kids, but some research is happening. A new paper about a small study says that after puberty, boys and girls experience different heart rate and blood pressure changes after consuming caffeine. Girls also experience some differences in caffeine effect during their menstrual cycles. 


The class of drug known as p110δ inhibitors, currently being used to treat leukemia, has the unexpected side-effect of boosting immune responses against many different cancers, according to a study led by pharmaceutical company Genentech in San Francisco

p110δ inhibitors have shown such remarkable efficacy against certain leukemias in recent clinical trials that patients on the placebo were switched to the real drug - but they have not been tested in other types of cancer.  The p110δ enzyme is a member of the PI3-kinase family, and is sometimes called PI3Kδ. p110δ and the other PI3Ks are hot drug targets for the pharmaceutical industry as they are implicated in many cancers and are readily druggable.
Most of you are likely aware that THC is the chemical in marijuana that gets you “high,” thus it is considered the main “psychoactive” constituent of marijuana. Roger Adams first isolated the constituents of marijuana in the 1940s, but it was not until the 1960s that Mechoulam and Gaoni determined the structure for THC.

This article’s focus is on the pharmacology of THC and its effects on one aspect of the endogenous cannabinoid system. The primary mechanism of action by which THC produces its psychoactive effects is the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor, whereas the CB2 receptor is mostly involved in immune function and deserves its own discussion.

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.