Deprescribing: fewer drugs, better health outcomes?

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

We all know about prescribing. It’s what our docs do when they pull out the prescription pad so we can start or keep taking a specific drug for a specific medical reason.

But have you heard about deprescribing?

Basically, deprescribing happens when a health care professional decides to taper or stop recommending one or more prescription drugs for any given patient. The practice is aimed at minimizing what’s known as polypharmacy (that’s when adult patients are taking multiple medications at the same time) while at the same time improving patient outcomes.

What’s the problem with polypharmacy? Plenty, as it turns out.
Continue reading “Deprescribing: fewer drugs, better health outcomes?”

Heart scans: the triumph of profit over science

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

This kind of ad is part of a growing marketing strategy to cash in on your fears. They’re run by for-profit hospitals, medical centres, and sometimes just non-professional entrepreneurs who park their huge mobile body imaging vans in church, community or big box store parking lots.

For example, an ad from the Heart Hospital of Austin in Texas reads:

“Find a new way to tell Dad you love him! Show your love with a HeartSaver CT Scan!”

The website Track Your Plaque warns:

“The old tests for heart disease were wrong – dead wrong. Heart scans are the most important health test you can get!”

A radio ad for the Princeton Longevity Center in Princeton, New Jersey asks:

“Does your annual physical use the latest technology to prevent heart disease before it strikes?”

And this center’s website further promises that its full-day exams – which include heart scans and usually are not covered by health insurance plans – can detect the “silent killers that are often missed in a typical physical exam or routine blood tests.”

Yet most major health agencies (like the American Heart Association, the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society) do not recommend routine use of heart scans in low-risk people without heart-related symptoms.  Continue reading “Heart scans: the triumph of profit over science”