High cost of medication

I am often shocked when patients tell me how much they paid (or were asked to pay) for a medication I prescribed.  I am especially surprised, because I make a point of writing for generic medication, rather than more expensive brand medication.   Generic medications are versions of a brand drug which the Federal Drug Administration…

Which sunscreen is best?

This month, my dermatology colleagues at Northwestern University published an article in JAMA Dermatology (JAMA Dermatol. Published online July 06, 2016. doi:.10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.2344) in which they looked at the most popular sunscreens purchased on Amazon.  They found that 40% did not meet the minimal standards set by the American Academy of Dermatology.  Prices varied 3000% ($0.68 an…

Accutane: The best acne treatment

Accutane (isotretinoin) and Acne Acne is a very common problem that often occurs during puberty and resolves without permanent changes in the skin in most people.  However, some people develop severe acne in which large, inflamed, painful cysts occur on the face, chest and back.  This form of acne leads to permanent scars. Isotretinoin was…

Shingles and the vaccine

What is shingles? Shingles or herpes zoster is a painful rash that is caused by the reactivation of the chicken pox virus (varicella).   When you get chicken pox, the virus does not leave your body.  Instead it hides in your nervous system (sensory ganglia) and is suppressed from becoming active by your immune system.  When…