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Online Pharmacy Frauds

American Sites Selling not so 'Canadian' Drugs


It’s a billion dollar business. ‘Canadian’ drugs online mean huge profits for pharmacies that span the web.

But the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations found that about 86 percent of online pharmacies claiming to be Canadian are actually hosted by US companies.

Researchers tracked about 11,000 Internet pharmacies that claimed to be accredited Canadian sites, and found that less than 25 percent were legit. The rest were hosted by companies or individuals outside Canada, 86 percent from the US.

online pharmacy

Americans flock to Canadian sites because they pay less- typically 20-25 percent says researcher Maria Bekiaris in her article Cut-Price Medicine. In large part it’s because the Canadian drug industry is regulated while the US industry is not she says.

It’s not even legal for Americans to buy drugs from accredited Canadian sites, specifically under the U.S. Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA), 1987.

The FDA advises that these Canadian sites are not safe, let alone fraudulent, unregulated ones.

“Patients who buy prescription drugs from Websites operating outside the law are at increased risk of suffering life-threatening adverse events…we know from history that tolerating the sale of unproven, fraudulent, or adulterated drugs results in harm to the public health,” states its website.

That’s why the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy offers the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program (VIPPS), a list of approved on-line pharmacies. People may also call the association at 1-(847) 391-4406.
It’s the only professional organization that represents eight Canadian provinces plus all 50 American states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, New Zealand, South Africa and two Australian states.

The VIPPS list won’t safeguard against drug abuse though. An American study investigated how easily people could get drugs on the Web. Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse conducted the study two years ago and published the results in its paper You’ve Got Drugs! Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet.

Researchers tracked 495 sites that sold risky and addictive drugs. Only six per cent asked for a prescription.

“Our findings are alarming” researchers said in conclusion. “These drugs are as easy for children to buy over the Internet as candy. All they need is a credit card.”

This easy drug access, the study suggested, has attracted addicts and young drug abusers.

Although U.S. Customs and the FDA have occasionally intercepted shipments from Canada, they have never prosecuted an American consumer because they do not have the manpower they say, Patricia Barry of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association says on its website.

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Methadone - Uses, Side Effects, and Withdrawal

methadone

Methadone is an opiate narcotic analgesic. Methadone has two main functions. It is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain in patients when non-narcotic pain relievers do not achieve adequate results. It is also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms and dependence in patients who are addicted to opiate drugs, such as heroin or morphine.

Methadone for Pain Relief

When used to treat moderate to severe pain, methadone works by changing the way the nervous system and the brain respond to pain. Methadone is considered an opiate (narcotic) analgesic.

Methadone is used every four to 12 hours to relieve pain. The prescribing physician will decided on the correct dosage based on the needs of the individual patient. Dosages may be increased or decreased depending on the level of pain relief achieved.

Methadone should not be stopped without first discussing this with the prescribing doctor. Doctors generally decrease the dosage to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone for Treatment of Narcotic Addiction, Withdrawal, and Dependence

Methadone has been used for over 30 years to safely and effectively treat narcotic withdrawal and dependence. Heroin or morphine type drugs release an excess of dopamine in the body and cause users to need heroine or the drug of choice to continuously occupy the opioid receptor in the brain. Methadone works by occupying the opioid receptor and is the stabilizer to allow addicts to change their behavior and stop heroin or other opioid drug use by eliminating withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone suppresses narcotic withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours. It reduces cravings associated with heroin or other opioid drugs and blocks the high and does not provide an euphoric rush. Patients on methadone do not experience extreme highs and lows associated with different heroin levels in the blood stream.

Methadone withdrawal is slower than heroin withdrawal. Addicts on methadone do not experience the harsh side effects of heroin. Many patients require continuous treatment for several years.

Methadone treatment programs are highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Patients on a methadone treatment program for opioid addiction are required to report to methadone clinics and physician offices to obtain doses of methadone.

Side Effects of Methadone

Methadone can cause a number of side effects. Any of the following side effects, if severe, should be reported to the prescribing physician:
  • weakness
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • drowsiness
  • weight gain
  • vision problems
  • mood changes
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • swelling of the hands, arms, feet or legs
  • sweating or flushing
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • dry mouth
  • missed menstrual periods
  • decreased sexual ability or desire

Patients need to contact their doctor immediately if they experience any seizures, itching, hives, or have a rash.

Warning Regarding Methadone Usage

Methadone may cause an irregular heartbeat or slowed breathing, both can be life-threatening. Patients should contact their physician immediately if they experience:
  • difficulty breathing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • shallow or slow breathing
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • severe dizziness
  • faintness
  • confusion

The risk of these side effects is greatest when methadone is first used. Doctors may start a patient on a low dose and gradually increase the dose as the body adjusts to the medication.

Never take more methadone than prescribed. If taking methadone for pain management, pain may return before it is time for the next dose of methadone. Do not take an extra dose. Methadone can build up in the body and cause a life threatening side effect. Talk to the doctor if the pain medication is not lasting long enough between doses.

Considerations Regarding Methadone Use

Methadone is an effective treatment for patients in severe pain. It can be used safely and has shown positive results in opioid addicted patients.

Methadone should be stored in a safe place and never be used by a person that was not prescribed the medication. Keep track of how many tablets or how much solution is left to help determine if any is missing.

Always keep appointments with doctors, clinics, and laboratories. Physicians will need to check on every patient's response to methadone. Methadone is not a refillable prescription. Patients will need to see the doctor each time a prescription is needed.

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How To Break Any Addiction

addiction

No matter the addiction -- drugs, gambling, shopping, smoking, alcohol or more -- people who want to kick their habit this year might find help in a new Harvard University publication.

Overcoming Addiction: Paths toward recovery” offers guidance for breaking unwanted addictive habits. The advice applies universally, because what all addictions have in common, the Harvard experts say, is the way the brain responds to pleasurable experiences.

Five Simple Steps to Breaking the Addiction

To break the additive behavior and patterns, researchers at Harvard University recommend the following steps to increase the chances of success:

  • Seek help and create a support network -- get input, advice and support from peers as well as professionals. Start with a doctor or a community mental health center for advice, a plan and -- if necessary -- medication to help with the break. Ask family, friends and co-workers for encouragement and backup.
  • Set a quit date -- some people find it helpful to choose a significant date, a birthday or anniversary, perhaps.
  • Make a change in environment -- removing reminders and temptations from the home and workplace can make the break easier. For example, ridding the home of alcohol, bottle openers and wine or drink glasses might help a person trying to stop drinking. Don’t let others bring reminders into the home. And, if necessary, break relations with people who enable the condition or additive behavior.
  • Learn new skills and activities -- find something to replace the addiction and help conquer urges. Many people find that exercise is a good substitute activity to help fight temptation.
  • Review past attempts at quitting -- note what worked, what did not, and what might have led to falling back into old habits. Then, make appropriate changes.

Additional Tips to Remember

Additional helpful hints any person should remember when they are trying to break free from a habit or addiction include:
  • Surrounding oneself with close, supportive friends and family. When trying to stop a an unhealthy behavior, friends and family can be great support, can offer encouragement and insight. They can also pick a person up when they are down.
  • Change the life routine. -- Addictions take up a lot of free time. Smoker often find themselves with an enormous amount of time of their hands and don’t know what to do with it. Many times, they will simply fill it with smoking! Pick up a new hobby like reading or pick up the phone and call a friend. Take a walk, exercise or play a game, anything not to think about all the healthy free time now available.

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When all else fails, everyone needs a pep talk. If that doesn’t work, try again and keep trying until the addiction is under control.
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Cigarette Smoking Causes Addiction: The Debate Ends

cigarette smoking

One in every five deaths in the United States is caused by smoking. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) which functions under the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) conservatively estimates that the U.S. economic burden of smoking is $193 billion every year.

Smokers Use Tobacco Because They are Addicted

NIDA puts an end to the age-old controversy whether cigarette smoking is an addiction or not. It says conclusively that most smokers smoke because they are addicted. Nicotine, an ingredient of tobacco causes the addiction. The American Heart Association says that nicotine addiction has remained one of the toughest addictions to break.

There is sufficient research and documented evidence to show that most smokers are aware of the dangers of smoking, and wish to quit the habit. However, over 85% of smokers that try to quit smoking go back to it, most of them within a week.

How Nicotine Works

Research has established that nicotine impacts the brain in numerous ways. NIDA says that the research findings have shown how nicotine triggers reward pathways, which are a part of the nervous system that manages the sense of pleasure. One of the critical brain chemicals associated with the urge to take a drug is dopamine. Research shows that nicotine enhances dopamine levels in the brain.

When such alterations in the brain occur over a prolonged period of time due to persistent exposure to nicotine, it causes addiction. The delivery mechanism of nicotine to the brain is very efficient in the case of cigarette smoking. Nicotine reaches the brain very fast and the level of drug peaks within 10 seconds of smoke inhalation. This property of nicotine adds to its abuse potential.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Smoking

The addictive nature of tobacco is also evident from the fact that the addicts suffer from withdrawal symptoms very quickly once they stop smoking. Most smokers start feeling nervous, anxious, depressed and irritable, and experience an abnormal increase in appetite, disturbed sleep patterns and attention deficit. As a result, most of them feel compelled to go back to cigarettes.

Smoking cessation leads to peaking of the symptoms within the first few days, but there is a gradual reduction in the severity of symptoms with the passage of time. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms varies from one person to another.

New Research Reveals More Addictive Elements

Nicotine may not be the only culprit present in tobacco smoke that causes addiction. Research funded by NIDA reveals that there may be other ingredients too that influence the addictive potential of tobacco. The role of other ingredients in causing addiction is not yet conclusively established, but there are indicators pointing in that direction.

Research conducted on animals by NIDA’s research teams has identified acetaldehyde as another critical chemical found in tobacco smoke that causes an exceptional increase in the reinforcing properties of nicotine. In addition, Acetaldehyde may also be a direct contributor to the addiction of cigarettes.

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