Monday, August 06, 2007

migraine news roundup 40

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As many as half of people living with chronic illnesses do not take their medications in the manner dictated by their doctors. There are a few reasons for this, including rushed doctor visits, confusion, forgetfulness, financial concerns and a resistance to taking medication on a long-term basis.

Millions Skip Meds, Don't Take Pills Correctly

Some tips to help patients take their medicines correctly, from the nonprofit National Council on Patient Information and Education:

— Before leaving the doctor’s office with a new prescription, ask detailed questions including: How and when do I take this? When do I quit? What food, drink, other medicines or activities should I avoid while using this medicine? What is it supposed to do? How do I know if it’s working? What are its possible side effects? What do I do if have those?
— Bring to each doctor’s appointment a complete list of all prescription and nonprescription medicines you take, so the doctor can check if a planned new drug will interact badly with an existing one. If you use one pharmacy exclusively, the pharmacist can print out a prescription list for you.
— If you have problems understanding the instructions that come with the medicine, ask the pharmacist for help. There may be a simpler brochure, large-print instructions, or translations into languages than English.
— Patients who forget doses could try setting up pill boxes at the beginning of each week with morning, noon and night doses in separate compartments. Technology including “talking” pill boxes that sound an alarm when doses are missed also are under development.

For all you fellow law nerds out there, this Q&A with an expert on seizures discusses SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts' recent seizure.

Health Blog Q&A: Epilepsy and the Chief Justice

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog recently discussed combination medications, such as Trexima.

Combo Pills Prove Alluring But Tricky

A British study has established a link between stress and mental health disorders.

Stressful Jobs Double the Risk of Depression

High-stress jobs make young workers twice as likely to suffer from major depression and anxiety disorders, according to a British study of mental health in the workplace.

Psychiatric assessments of nearly 1,000 people in the early stages of their careers revealed that one in 20 can expect to experience serious depression or anxiety every year as a direct result of work.

The study is the first of its kind to establish a firm link between stressful working conditions and poor mental health among people who had no previous history of the disorders before their career began.

Previous studies across Europe and the US have found that cases of depression have risen in the past two decades, mirroring increases in reported work stress.

According to the New York Times, health care economists say both liberals and conservatives are off the mark in their proposals for health care reform.

Sending Back the Doctor's Bill

But many health care economists say both sides are wrong. These economists, some of whom are also doctors, say the partisan fight over insurers and drug makers is a distraction from a bigger problem: the relatively high salaries paid to American doctors, and even more importantly, the way they are compensated.

“I always find it ironic that when I go to doctor groups and such, they always talk about the cost of prescription drugs,” said Dana Goldman, director of health economics at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research institute in Santa Monica, Calif.

Prescription drugs cost, on average, 30 percent to 50 percent more in the United States than in Europe. But the difference in doctors’ salaries is far larger, Dr. Goldman said.

Doctors in the United States earn two to three times as much as they do in other industrialized countries. Surveys by medical-practice management groups show that American doctors make an average of $200,000 to $300,000 a year. Primary care doctors and pediatricians make less, between $125,000 and $200,000, but in specialties like radiology, physicians can take home $400,000 or more.

Finally, some great advice for traveling with your medication.

Health Tips: Packing Your Prescriptions

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