The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

September 30, 2013

No medication is free of side effects

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a history of type 2 diabetes, and my doctor keeps giving me drugs that I am very concerned about, as I see them repeatedly advertised by lawyers soliciting new clients because of deadly side effects. Actos, Byetta and Januvia are the main three. When I tell him that I want an alternative, he gets visibly upset and argumentative. Are these drugs safe to take? Shouldn’t I experiment with other tried-and-true medications? — M.

ANSWER: I see the lawyers’ solicitations myself for some medications, and that makes me more uncomfortable to prescribe these medications. However, Actos, Byetta and Januvia ARE tried and true. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have side effects (no medication is free of side effects), nor does it mean that they won’t work for some people (no medication works for everybody). Look at the fine print in any ad for a medication, and you can read the terrible side effects that are possible. But, in the right place and for the right person, any of these medications may be better and safer than the alternatives.

Pharmaceutical companies have made mistakes in the past when they have tried to hide known side effects from the public. There needs to be a legal redress for such situations. There also needs to be a system for justice if a prescriber gives a medication to a person he knew (or should have known) should not have received it for a medical reason. However, the current system of lawyers seeking out people who had a bad outcome (just because some people have bad outcomes) leads to distrust on both sides and hesitation to use what may be the best medication for fear of unreasonable legal action.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 76 and have been losing hair on the top of my head for more than two years, but I have been growing lots of unwanted hair on my face, arms and abdomen. I also get painful acne now and then. I had lab tests, and my testosterone level was 613 (normal is 20-60). My estrogen was normal. A sonogram and MRI showed normal ovaries and one enlarged adrenal gland.

Text Only
Top News
  • Well affected by mercury spill is working again

    Mercury remains in one of Clinton’s Archer Daniels Midland wells, stemming from a November 2013 spill. But according to an independent study, threat levels are below Iowa Department of Natural Resources standards.
    The affected Well No. 4 returned to operation earlier this month.

    July 31, 2014

  • Blake Holovach Holovach converting back to a starting pitcher

    When Blake Holovach takes the mound tonight along the Mississippi River in Davenport, it’ll be in the first inning, which he wasn’t accustomed to in the past.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Relay for Life: Stepping toward awareness

    Statistics reveal that cancer continues to remain the second most common cause of death in the United States, claiming one out of four deaths every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • Holly Youngquist Friends of the Library book sale is underway

    Friends of the Library Book Sale is open now. The sale is open to all until 8 p.m. today and on Friday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, Saturday, Aug. 2, is box day. From 9 a.m. to  3 p.m., books will sell at $3 per box.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cremation service helped pet owner in her time of need

    I wanted to share some positive news about a business located in Clinton that I’m guessing most residents aren’t aware even exists. It’s Northridge Pet Cremation on Main Avenue and for me they were recently a godsend.

    July 31, 2014

  • Darryl Hogue Fulton superintendent settles in to new position

    One month into the permanent River Bend School District superintendent job, Darryl Hogue has experienced the long hours, stress and the learning curve that comes with any new position.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • State Dept: 'No American is proud' of tactics

    The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • Senior game RVC North claims win

    Much like Northeast softball pitcher Addie Oberman did on Monday night for the River Valley Conference North squad, Tevin Stoecker came in to pitch in relief, and quieted the opposition.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Consumer advocates watching Exelon-Integrys deal

     Energy watchdog groups are worried that Exelon's plan to buy one of its business competitors will be bad for northern Illinois electricity customers.

    July 31, 2014

AP Video