I understand it’s tough to ask the question “Why?” to your child’s doctor when the she makes a treatment or testing decision. But if you are going to be an active and informed partner in your child’s health care you need to know when to pose that question.

I am not suggesting you question every decision the doctor makes, but sometimes it’s appropriate.

Here are a few hints as to when you may want to question the doctor.

What will happen if I don’t give my child the medicine? 
 This is usually a good question to ask if the medicine is just to treat a symptom and not the underlying cause of the problem – for example, a decongestant for a stuffy nose or cold, or an antibiotic for what may be a viral infection.

It’s important to remember that every drug has the potential for side effects. Even a drug a child has taken many times may still cause a problem.

Another thought is that perhaps there’s a reason for the symptom. For example, the body’s immune system works better at a higher than normal temperature. There may be a reason for a fever that accompanies many illnesses. Treating it with a drug may only prolong

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As children grow up, they learn an important lesson: when you are sick, taking medicine usually helps you feel better in a reasonably short time. That acquired knowledge has helped generations of kids suck down foul-tasting cough medicine and other remedies.

In fact, “taking your medicine” has become cultural shorthand for doing something that may be unpleasant in the short run, but benefits one over the long term. This is certainly aided by the fact the United States has one of the safest drug supplies in the world; when you take a medication in America, you can count on it not only helping you feel better, but being safe for consumption.

Except when you can’t.

Illegal, unregulated pharmacies have become more prominent in recent years. Advertising and selling largely over the Internet, these criminal enterprises developed a niche selling medication to patients at cheap prices found nowhere else. But these savings come with a price: the drugs are often counterfeit, and are sometimes laced with dangerous substances. Antifreeze, road paint and rat poison have all been found in these discount fake medicines, and the National Association

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For the first time in decades, Americans are actually spending less on their medication That’s according to a recent study by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics which found  the total spending on medicines fell 3.5 percent last year –from $329.2 billion in 2011 to $325.8 billion in 2012. The study attributes much of it to an encouraging trend: the declining use of brand-name drugs and the greater availability of less expensive generics. But it’s not all good news. The study’s authors say that the decrease spending on medications was driven also by consumers cutting back on health care overall – and going to the doctor less and less, because they can’t afford to.

Problems paying for medical bills and medications remain the most pressing financial problem Americans face, even more so than problems with making their mortgage payments or paying other big household bills. And, saving money on health costs frequently means cutting corners elsewhere—both findings according to an annual national

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An estimated 56,000 persons in the United States become infected with HIV every year. Of the 1.1 million persons living with HIV in the United States, approximately 250,000 are not aware of their infection and their risk for transmitting HIV to others. Of those who are unaware, many are diagnosed late in the course of their infection, after a prolonged asymptomatic period during which further transmission may have occurred. Persons who are diagnosed late in their infection miss a valuable opportunity to start HIV care and are at greater risk for AIDS-related complications (than those diagnosed earlier). Therefore, it should be a priority to identify HIV-infected persons and actively link the newly diagnosed to medical care, prevention and retention programs in the HIV care system. However, depending on the availability of publicly funded programs on a state by state basis, HIV medications are often not readily accessible to those who are uninsured.

Of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, approximately 25% are uninsured and even more than that will experience a gap in health coverage at some point during

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Last month, many of us made New Year’s resolutions and we were being deluged with advice about how to eat sensibly, how to exercise our way to fitness, and how to develop and keep healthy habits. But let’s get down to basics: how well do you follow your doctor’s advice?

Doctors will be increasingly held accountable for your overall health and wellness, and your progress towards sustained good health, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA aims to increase the quality of care given and reduce the costs, thereby ensuring that the right care is given in the right place at the right time. More care has not proven to be better care, and reducing unnecessary and expensive screens and tests will go a long way to reducing health care costs.

But patients have a responsibility too – and that is to listen to your physician and follow their recommendations regarding nutrition, exercise and taking your medications as prescribed. “Medication adherence” or “medication compliance” are terms used to describe what patients do once they receive a prescription from their provider, including filling, and then re-filling when indicated,

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