Dr. Cohen’s Biography
Jay S. Cohen, M.D. is a nationally recognized expert on medications and side effects. His work has been featured in newspapers and magazines across America, including the New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, Consumer Reports, Wall Street Journal, Modern Majority, Women’s Day, and many others. Dr. Cohen has appeared on more than 100 radio programs including National Public Radio, the People’s Pharmacy, and the Gary Null show.
Dr. Cohen’s began his medical career as a general physician. In 1973, he joined the faculty at UCLA as medical director of the first major research project in America to study acupuncture. At UCLA, Dr. Cohen worked in-depth with the research subjects, which stirred his interest in psychology. Subsequently, he trained as a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Diego. Since then, Dr. Cohen has spent half of his time practicing psychiatry and psychopharmacology.
Dr. Cohen has spent the other half of his time conducting independent research in pharmacology, for which he first developed a keen interest in medical school. Since the early 1970s, he has undertaken independent research on the cause of the continuing epidemic of medication side effects that kill more than 106,000 Americans and cause more than 1 million hospitalizations each year. Despite the lack of funding, Dr. Cohen has published more than 20 times in medical journals on this subject.
Dr. Cohen has long been a critic of the drug industry’s marketing of stronger and stronger drugs with cookbook, one size fits all doses. He argues that medication doses should be adjusted for patients’ size, age, states of health, or use of other medications. Despite the absence of funding, Dr. Cohen has published more than 20 times in medical journals on this issue. In his best known book, the critically acclaimed Over Dose: The Case Against The Drug Companies (Tarcher/Putnam), Dr. Cohen challenged the methods of the medical-pharmaceutical-FDA industry. The Journal of the American Medical Association said this about Over Dose:
Jay Cohen, MD, long a thorn in the industry’s side, has written a highly readable, user-friendly, and well-researched account of a serious clinical issue plaguing the everyday practice of medicine. This popularly-written book is well worth reading and is very likely to provoke modifications in the prescription practices of many physicians who pick it up.
Unfortunately, not enough doctors have changed their methods, and the side-effect epidemic continues.
Dr. Cohen is also the first physician to coin the term “medication sensitivity” to identify the 10-20% of the population who are highly sensitive to medications and who react again and again to standard dosages of prescription drugs. In his own practice, he often starts patients at 1/4 or 1/8 the doses drugs that are recommended by the drug industry.
Dr. Cohen has frequently presented his research findings and clinical experience as a featured speaker at major medical conferences including the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Grand Rounds at Scripps Clinic and Medical Center. As keynote speaker at a U.S. Food and Drug Administration conference, he presented his findings and debated the FDA’s top medication experts. In his books and medical journal articles, and on his MedicationSense website, he warned about problems with antidepressants such as Prozac and Paxil, anti inflammatory drugs such as Celebrex and Bextra, the antibiotics Cipro and Levaquin, and hormones such as Premarin and Prempro long before these drugs became public controversies.
Dr. Cohen’s view is not anti medication. He acknowledges that medications help millions of people, but many others are harmed unnecessarily. Side effects also force millions of people to discontinue treatment they need. His recommendations would end many of these problems.
A strong advocate of patients’ rights of informed consent, Dr. Cohen believes this includes a right for information on all serious side effects before being prescribed a new medication. Patients also should be informed about lower, safer, effective doses of medications information that most patients and doctors do not receive today. Flexible dosing is the key to reducing the high rate of side effects from prescription drugs. Dr. Cohen’s goal is to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks of medication treatment.
In his psychiatry practice, Dr. Cohen specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, which also include panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, social phobias, and situational anxiety reactions (flying, public speaking, etc.).
Dr. Cohen describes himself as integrative physician, a doctor who integrates the best from both mainstream and alternative methods. Five of his books offer proven-effective natural remedies for medical disorders such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and migraine headaches in adults and children. “If a natural remedy can do the job, why do doctors first start with drugs?”
Dr. Cohen is an expert on the rare, disabling, neurovascular disorder, erythromelalgia. Bedridden by this illness for 5 years and disabled a total of 12, he was able to gradually piece together a treatment protocol that allows him to function nearly normally and to have returned to his practice in 2007. Dr. Cohen is also an expert on nutrition and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition.
Dr. Cohen’s most recent book is the controversial, immediate best-seller Prostate Cancer Breakthroughs. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2011, he was scheduled for radical surgery when he learned about new tests that could better define his disease than the medical model he had followed. The new tests showed that he did not require surgery or radiation treatment, a decision that he arrived at after getting additional opinions from national experts. Now enrolled in an active surveillance protocol that has not required invasive treatments or drugs, Dr. Cohen works with a national expert on this approach and continues to do well. Prostate Cancer Breakthroughs tells men how to get the new tests and to consider the new, gentler treatments that are available — information that most men do not usually not obtain from their doctors. Dr. Cohen says, “A revolution is underway in our approach to prostate cancer, but it will not take hold for another 5-10 years. But men with prostate cancer don’t have time to wait. They need the information now.”