An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases,
December 15th, 2019
Should Oseltamivir Become an Over-the-Counter Drug?
News broke last week that oseltamivir — most commonly known by its clever (expired) brand name, Tamiflu — may be heading to pharmacies soon as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, available without a prescription. After hearing this, I immediately thought of several reasons both supporting and opposing this change — an ideal question for a poll! Oseltamivir (brand […]
October 28th, 2018
New Flu Drug Offers Convenience, Fast Activity, and a Novel Mechanism — at a Price
Last week, the FDA approved a new drug for treatment of influenza, baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza). The drug is indicated for treatment of symptomatic influenza in patients 12 years of age or older. As with existing treatments, it should be started within 48 hours of symptom onset. In a comparative clinical trial in otherwise healthy outpatients, baloxavir and oseltamivir […]
May 29th, 2017
Healthcare Providers Shouldn’t Come to Work While Sick, but They Do — Here’s Why
Let’s start with two questions: Have you ever seen a doctor, nurse, PA, pharmacist or other person directly involved in patient care wearing a surgical mask because they have a respiratory tract infection? Has this mask-wearing person ever been you? Bold prediction: Virtually every reader who works in a hospital or large office practice answered “Yes” to #1. Some […]
October 20th, 2016
Back to School: Questions from “ID in Primary Care” — Shared and Answered!
Once again, we’re giving our “Infectious Diseases in Primary Care” post-graduate course in beautiful Boston — where the weather is perfect, the air crisp and clear, and we are all watching with excitement as the few remaining baseball teams and presidential candidates make a mad dash to the end of their respective races. (You might have heard something […]
November 29th, 2015
Flu Vaccine Keeps Taking Hits, Still the Best We’ve Got — Don’t Stop “Belivin'” [sic]
For reasons understood only by the geniuses in Mountain View, CA, for some reason my Google news feed picked up this bit of “scientific” reporting: Let me allow the author, an unfortunately named “Clapway” (gonorrhea researcher?), to speak for him/herself: However, is the flu vaccine really worth it? The author of this article never takes it and […]
September 13th, 2015
Station Eleven Is a Very Good Read — Even for ID Doctors
One of my colleagues, an MD/PhD, stopped me after our clinical conference a few weeks ago. He does basic science research, doesn’t see patients anymore — but he still comes to our clinical conference. Definitely scores points for that. And for being a very smart, interesting, and nice fellow. This was our conversation, reproduced verbatim: HIM: Hey Pablo […]
January 28th, 2015
Quick Question: Should We Still Be Recommending This Year’s Flu Vaccine?
From a football-obsessed primary care provider, written to me on one very snowy day in New England: Hi Paul, I’ve been reading about this year’s flu vaccine, and how ineffective it is. Not surprisingly, my patients have been hearing this too, and it has only increased their reluctance to go through with it. Should I just […]
January 11th, 2013
How to Make the Flu Vaccine More Popular, Warts and All
In a week that saw both our hospital’s influenza-induced bed crunch make the New York Times, and my son, mother-in-law, and me succumb to this seasonal plague despite our receiving flu shots, I have been highly attuned to all things influenza. But the focus here will be on that perennial whipping boy of preventive Infectious Diseases, the […]
September 8th, 2012
People Fear EEE and West Nile, but not Influenza — Can Someone Explain Why?
OK, here’s a quick quiz — match the viral infection with the average annual US deaths: 1. Eastern Equine Encephalitis A. 36,000, mostly in the elderly 2. Influenza B. < 10, mostly in the elderly I know, it was an easy one — 1 goes with B, and 2 with A. Here’s a good reference for more on […]
January 29th, 2012
Pre-Super Sunday Scombroids
Some quick ID/HIV links while we await big guys playing the big game with a big (or at least bigger) ball. Did you see how this doctor cheated Medicaid out of more than $700,000 by prescribing HIV meds to people who didn’t have HIV? Not surprisingly, he’s going to jail. Proof that if there’s money behind a […]