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expert-perspectives

The Expert Is In: Liver damage from dietary supplements

Liver damage is a well-established risk of many prescription drugs. However, recent research out of the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia reveals herbal and dietary supplements may be causing liver damage in some U.S. regions as well. Bodybuilding and non-bodybuilding herbal supplements alike were implicated in the find, which spotlighted a small slice of one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

The findings came as no surprise to Chengguo Xing, Ph.D., professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Xing is investigating how to reduce liver damage associated with a kava dietary supplement, which was found earlier this year to prevent tobacco-smoke induced lung cancer in a mouse model.

Here’s what Xing had to say:

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research-and-clinical-trials

New compound shows promise in treating chronic pain

A new compound in development at the University of Minnesota shows promise as a breakthrough drug for treating chronic pain.

The new compound, developed by Philip Portoghese, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy, appears to be the first of its kind. A patent has been applied for, and the University’s Center for Translational Medicine has been conducting proof-of-concept studies. As a potential medication, the compound offers benefits lacked by current medications: It does not induce the body to develop tolerance or dependence, as opioid painkillers do. It is more potent than other opioid pain medications. It reduces and inhibits neuropathic pain, post-operative pain, burn pain, spinal injury pain and inflammation.

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education

50 years out: Will your genes define your Rx?

Tylenol should relieve pain, cough suppressants should ease cough and serious ailments should reliably respond to vital medication. But when a prescribed medicine doesn’t do its intended job, it can be difficult to decide who or what is to blame.

It doesn’t help that sometimes the problem doesn’t lie within the medicine or the doctor; it can lie within your genes.

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patient-care

Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?

For women with epilepsy, controlling health-threatening seizures is especially important during a pregnancy.

Taking the right dose of medicine can be key… and challenging.

As a baby grows, a pregnant woman’s body weight must also grow to support her baby. Consequently, a pregnant woman may require more medication to keep seizures at bay than she did pre-pregnancy. Pregnant women with epilepsy regularly visit the doctor to have blood drawn and adjust their antiepilepsy medicine dosage.

Now, new data analyses from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Harvard Medical School find one fifth of pregnant women may someday be able to control seizures with fewer visits to the doctor.

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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: With codeine abuse on the rise, it’s important to remember regulation can work to curb misuse

Over the past few months, recreational use of codeine cough syrup has captured national headlines as abuse of the combination cough suppressant/antihistamine has climbed among adolescents. The coverage intensified when pop music star Justin Bieber was linked to the drug by the media last month.

Ingredients for a codeine/promethazine cocktail popularized by the rap industry as “sizzurp,” “lean” and “purple drank” were reportedly found during a police search of the star’s home in late January.

David Ferguson, Ph.D., a pharmacology and drugs of abuse expert from the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy is surprised to see the drug making headlines again.

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patient-care

Time to see the specialist? Medication woes might call for pharmacist

For the millions of Americans with chronic conditions like asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, taking all the right medications at the right times can be a challenging, if not impossible, task.

With the insight that comes from seeing several thousand patients each year, Allyson Schlichte, Pharm.D., understands the medication challenges facing many Americans. But by some accounts, she’s an unusual “doctor” to meet in the hospital exam room.

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