Could ALKS 5461 Cure Depression?

If you are reading this post chances are you or someone you know suffers from or has suffered from depression.  It’s a disease that affects nearly 19 million adults in the U.S. every year.

Well, there may be good news coming for depression sufferers.   There is a new drug in development called ALKS 5461 that could finally end major depression in people.

What is ALKS 5461?It

ALKS 5461 is a new mood enhancing drug that acts similar to heroin but is completely safe and doesn’t cause addiction.  Now many of you are saying, “whoah, wait a minute….heroine??”  Yeah, but not really.  It’s a combo of 2 molecules, buprenorphine (used as an opiate without negative side effects) and ALKS 33.  ALKS 33 is where the magic is.  It basically blocks the buprenorphine from the receptors that make people feel euphoric and addicted.

In a recent placebo study, the patients that received the ALKS 5461 pill all responded favorably to the medication with improvement from their depression.

Scientists are optimistic that ALKS 5461 will alleviate major depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  That is some really good news coming if you suffer from one of these disorders.

ALKS 5461 is developed by the same company, Alkermes Pharmaceuticals, that makes Vivitrol.  This drug is a monthly injection that takes away the high from using alcohol or street drugs.  It really sounds like Alkermes Pharmaceuticals is on a roll here.

If ALKS 5461 can deliver what it promises, then it could really change the landscape of the depression community.  However, doctors warn that even if it does cure your depression, you should still undergo psychotherapy to understand the root problem of your depression.

If you think you could be a candidate for ALKS 5461, don’t hesitate to call our office or book an appointment online for an evaluation.  We are here to help make you feel better.
Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett


Is Snoring A Sign of Bad Health?

Many of us have dealt with or currently deal with a spouse or someone in your household that snores.  Maybe even you are the snoring sufferer?  While the most obviously side effects are loss of sleep and sleep pattern disruption, there can be some more serious side effects to address.

Let’s take a look at what causes snoring and if it’s something you should have checked out.

Snoring happens when the airway through the nose and mouth are obstructed.  There are many causes for this.  It could be from a sinus infection, a deviated septum, the throat and tongue muscles being too relaxed, being overweight which causes a bulky throat, or large tonsils and adenoids.

If you are snoring because of the aforementioned sinus infection or maybe a cold, this usually only last a few days.  In these cases you generally have no reason to worry about the short-lived snoring.  However, if your snoring is an ongoing occurrence then you should take notice about potential health risks and seek some medical attention.  If you are not sure you snore on a regular basis you can ask your spouse or if you live alone you can record yourself at night for a few days to see if you snore.

Habitual snoring seems to occur more often in men than women.  Studies have indicated that up to 34% of men snore on a regular basis while as many as 50% have reported snoring.   This habitual snoring can be a strong sign of sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is when your airways are blocked and you have long periods of non breathing.  Many times these interruptions in breathing can last for more than 10 – 20 seconds.  This can be a very serious and life threatening condition.

Do you have sleep apnea?

The major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are

  • loud and habitual snoring
  • choking, snorting or gasping during sleep
  • long periods of time between breaths
  • sleepiness during the day, even if you had a full night of sleep
  • waking with a dry mouth
  • irritable, agitated, or depressed
  • restless sleep
  • frequent trips
  • to the bathroom during the night

Effects of untreated sleep apnea

  • high blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • strokes
  • fatigue
  • memory loss
  • personality changes

So if you think you have sleep apnea, what can be done about it?

The first step is to see your general practitioner for diagnosis and referral to a sleep disorder center.  Once you’ve been diagnosed a sleep disorder center will most often perform an overnight test to determine the severity of sleep apnea.  For less severe cases a MAS, a mouth guard, can help push the bottom jaw open to free the airway.  In more sever cases a CPAP will be required.  A CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and pumps air through the upper airway.

Whether you are a part-time or full-time snorer, don’t treat it as something trivial.  Get checked out and make sure that further treatment isn’t required.  If you need help with determining if you have sleep apnea, feel free to contact our office or book an appointment online.  We’ll be more than happy to help!
Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett


What To Know About the New FDA Approved Diet Pill Belviq

The first diet pill approved by the FDA in thirteen years hit pharmacies across the country in June, 2012.  We’ve had people ask, what exactly does Belviq do? Is it safe? And who should take it?

Let’s take a look at these questions.

Belviq works by controlling your appetite.  It activates receptors in the brain for serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel satisfied.  But does it work?  The drug’s maker Arena Pharmaceuticals said that during a trial said that nearly half of the people that took the drug lost on average 5% of their starting weight over a 12 month period.
Who should take Belviq?

The FDA approved the sale of the drug for people that have a BMI of 30 or more.  Need to know what your BMI is?  Find out here.

Are there side effects and what are they?

The most common side effects of Belviq in non-diabetic patients are headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth and constipation; in patients with diabetes, side effects include low blood sugar, headache, back pain, cough and fatigue.  There was some concern that the drug could cause problems with heart valves in patients.  In fact this concern is what caused the FDA to reject the drug’s approval in 2010.  Further studies showed that the doses were low enough not to cause concern for heart problems.

While this drug can provide effective weight loss results, it’s been shown to be even more effective is paired with a lifestyle of health diet and exercise.

If you think you might be a candidate for Belviq or would like to talk to our office about ways to lose weight, we would be more than happy to consult with you.  Just give us a call or book an appointment online.

Here’s to your health!
Dr. K. Bennett
Sunshine Medical Walk In Clinic

Is Drinking Coffee Good For Your Health?

The Magic Bean, Black Gold, The Giver of Life, Liquid Sunshine….we’ve all heard the names coffee lovers affectionately give their favorite morning beverage.  We know these people, and maybe you are one of them.  You think you can’t function or start doing any work in the morning without your cup of java.  The question is, is coffee good for your health?

According to new information from Harvard University, drinking coffee in moderation may actually lower your risk for heart failure.  So there’s some good news for all you coffee lovers out there.  However, be careful when consuming your morning coffee.  The study also found that drinking more than two cups of coffee per day actually decreased the benefit and eventually went away.

Heart failure is a major factor on health in the United States.   According to the CDC there are about 5.8 million people that suffer from heart failure.  This is where the heart just can’t pump enough blood to the body to function properly.   Not only does coffee seem to help with heart failure, but the studies have shown it helps with Parkinsons disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver cancer, ADHD, obesity, depression, and gallstones.  So, if you don’t drink coffee now you might want to think about giving it a try with your morning routine.

Although these studies do seem to offer hope for people with heart issues, it’s definitely not to be taken as a cure all if you have heart problems.  Most often these studies find links between cause and effect but are not to be taken as a golden rule for health care.

If you are suffering from heart problems or think you might be a candidate for future heart problems, you should seek professional medical advice.  Today’s advanced medicine paired with monitored exercise can greatly benefit people with heart problems.

If you would like to talk to a medical professional from our office feel free to give us a call at 615-942-9271 or book an appointment directly from our website.


Here’s to your health!

Dr. K Bennett


What Are You Anxious About?

Anxiety disorders affect about 19 million adults in the United States every year.   There are many forms of anxiety disorders that we see.  There are panic attacks, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), PSTD (post traumatic stress disorder), social anxieties, various specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

These disorders usually begin developing in individuals at an early age.  Many people develop them in early childhood years or young adult years.  Often times these disorders can be so debilitating it can affect the overall health of the individual.

Let’s take a quick look at the common anxiety disorders and see what can be done about them.

Panic disorder:  This is a feeling of terror that occurs suddenly and without cause.  People suffering from this can experience sweating, rapid or irregular heartbeats, or feelings of going crazy.

Specific Phobias:  This can be anything from snakes, to heights, traveling, or riding in a car.  The fear becomes so extreme; it prevents the person from performing routine tasks.

OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder): This is a disorder which causes someone to perform a certain routine over and over for fear of something going wrong.  An example would be someone constantly checking a locked door over and over and over and over.  Fear is the motivator of this disorder.

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder):  This occurs have a traumatic event has happened to a person.  They have lingering fears of the same thing happening again and again.  They are not able to get past the traumatic event that occurred to them.

General Anxiety:  This is excessive or unrealistic fears that are not provoked any event or circumstance.   A paralyzing fear that something is wrong or is going to be wrong.

Social Anxiety: This is a generalized fear of social situations where the individual is afraid of being ridiculed or being judged by others.

There are many symptoms that are associated with these disorders.  Many include: loss of sleep, shortness of breath, cold sweat, uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, dizziness, nausea, and feeling of fear or panic among others.  If you have these symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an anxiety disorder.

Because there are no specific physical tests to diagnose these disorders, it’s important to see a healthcare professional for an evaluation to determine if you might be suffering from one of these maladies.

If it’s determined that you suffer from one of these problems, there are many forms of treatment that can be administered.  Those include medication, counseling, relaxation therapy, and dietary and lifestyle change.

If you think you might be having some sort of anxiety problem, feel free call our office for an appointment or book online.

Here’s To Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett