In epilepsy, the normal behavior of brain neurons is disturbed. The drug valproic acid appears to help the brain replenish a key chemical, preventing seizures.
David Mack/Science Source
November 6, 2013 Valproic acid has been a mainstay of epilepsy treatment for decades. But how the drug works has been a mystery. Researchers have now figured out the drug boosts a particular chemical in the brain. The finding may help scientists develop better treatments someday.
The schizophrenia drug Risperdal was at the heart of government investigations into improper marketing that stretched back more than a decade.
JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images
November 4, 2013 A company subsidiary pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the promotion of antipsychotic Risperdal for the treatment of dementia in elderly patients. The Food and Drug Administration never approved the drug for that use.
Scans from patients with fungal meningitis show evidence of a stroke (left) and arachnoiditis.
New England Journal of Medicine
October 30, 2013 Health problems linger from a fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened hundreds across the country a year ago. Some people are still receiving treatment. And some who got better relapsed for reasons that aren't entirely clear.
October 28, 2013 A hot-selling drug for multiple sclerosis was derived from an old chemical that is used industrially to make foods sour. The twice-a-day pill called Tecfidera comes at a lofty price, despite its humble origins.
What's in your neighbor's medicine cabinets may influence overdose risk in the community.
October 18, 2013 Accidental drug overdoses have long been seen as problems more common in neighborhoods that are poor and troubled. But prescription opioids have brought overdose deaths to the middle class, a study in New York City finds. Opioid overdoses were more common in higher-income neighborhoods than heroin overdoses.
Streptococcus pyogenes shouldn't be taken lightly. Left untreated, an infection with germ can trigger an autoimmune disease that damages the heart.
September 26, 2013 In some countries, it's easier to get HIV drugs than an old-fashioned form of penicillin that prevents heart damage from rheumatic fever, scientists say. The world's supply of this type of penicillin has dwindled over the past few decades, but rheumatic fever hasn't.
Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled in the U.S. since 1990. Opioid painkillers like OxyContin are the cause of three-quarters of those deaths.
Toby Talbot/Associated Press
September 10, 2013 In the latest attempt to stem an epidemic of opioid painkiller overdoses, the FDA tightened prescribing guidelines. The drugs should only be used for patients with severe pain when other treatments have failed, the agency says, not for moderate pain.
The proportion of people in different age groups who have taken sleeping pills in the past 30 days.
August 30, 2013 About 9 million American adults have taken sleeping pills in the past month. Their popularity generally increases with age and is highest among people 80 and older.
A brain scan followed by quick drug treatment in the right patients can stop a stroke in its tracks.
August 27, 2013 Many stroke patients are getting treatment with a drug that dissolves blood clots. The approach was once controversial. But giving the drug to eligible patients within a few hours of a stroke's first symptoms can prevent disability.
The Ebola virus forms threadlike structures under the microscope.
August 21, 2013 An experimental drug rescued three out of seven monkeys from lethal doses of Ebola. The study marks the first time researchers have shown that a drug can successfully treat Ebola in animals even after the infection is well underway.
Don't fear the 'shrooms.
August 20, 2013 People who had taken LSD, psilocybin or mescaline at any time in their lives were no more likely than those who hadn't to wind up in mental health treatment or to have symptoms of mental illness, a Norwegian study finds.
The active ingredient in Propecia, a baldness remedy approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997, is showing new promise as a way to prevent some prostate cancers.
August 14, 2013 Doctors have debated for years whether a drug that curbed the growth of some prostate cancers caused more serious ones to grow faster. Now, a long-term study calms those fears and raises the possibility that a cheap, generic pill could be used reduce prostate cancer risk.
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Who's deciding which boxes he gets to check?
August 14, 2013 An analysis of 16 recent medical guidelines found evidence of financial ties between key experts and industry. Most of the recommendations expanded the definitions of common illnesses, lowering the threshold for treatment.
When dealing with aches and pains, sometimes the best way to get better is to feel better — and fast. Some popular medicines of old favored additives like cocaine.
Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine
August 10, 2013 In the old days, a case of the nerves, constipation or a general lack of vitality could lead someone to try a patent medicine. Though filled with sketchy ingredients, the old remedies may have worked sometimes, too.
August 5, 2013 Doctors in states where corruption is more common appear more likely to be influenced by drug company payments than those in states with fewer corruption-related crimes. Male doctors, overall, appear more likely to be swayed by drug industry payments than their female colleagues.
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