December 12, 2005 |
Every day on the front lines of medicine, doctors quietly weigh treatments. They consider which ones might help patients and which ones might harm them. And sometimes, rightly or wrongly, which ones might simply please or appease them. I'm a pleaser at heart. My family and friends know it, and so do most of my patients. However, when I think about doctors dispensing prescriptions merely to please, I feel my gut wrench. I first witnessed placebo medicine in the 1970s. Back then, a few doctors at my university hospital treated patients with saline injections and little blue sugar pills.
July 6, 2010 |
Many people who suffer with lower back pain rely on glucosamine supplements for some relief. But does the stuff really work? A new study shows that glucosamine was no different from a placebo in treating lower back pain. The study, released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., was a large, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial that included 250 adults with chronic lower back pain. It was conducted at the Oslo University Outpatient Clinic in Norway. Chronic lower back pain plagues millions of people in the U.S., and treatments include physical therapy, medication and the use of glucosamine supplements.
June 5, 2012 |
A drug already on the market to treat severely clenched fingers may also be useful in treating the excessively curved penis caused by Peyronie's disease, researchers reported Monday. If the findings are validated in larger trials, the drug, called Xiaflex, could become the first effective medical treatment for the condition, which apart from embarrassment can cause impotence and pain. The company that manufactures the drug, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Malvern, Pa., said it hopes to have approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market the drug for this purpose by the end of the year.
January 24, 2012 |
Drinking three cups of black tea daily over months may help lower blood pressure, a study suggests. In a research paper released this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine , black tea was tested against a placebo to see whether drinking the beverage over time had any effect on lowering blood pressure in male and female test subjects, ages 35 to 75. The 95 study participants had systolic blood pressure readings ranging from 115 to...
April 23, 2014 |
Two drugs given to people who suffer migraines reduced the frequency of their headaches in early trials, scientists said. The test results “may potentially represent a new era in preventive therapy for migraine,” Dr. Peter Goadsby, an author on studies of both drugs, said in a statement. One of the researchers called migraine headaches the third most common medical disorder in the world. Both drugs must undergo larger trials to confirm the results. Both drugs are intended to prevent rather than treat migraine headaches, and the studies of them are the first to test monoclonal antibodies for migraine prevention, the scientists said.
January 24, 2011 |
Antidepressants can help people recovery from major depression, but some people dislike the medications because of their effects on sexual function. An antidepressant approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, however, appears to have fewer sexual side effects. The drug, called Viibryd (or vilazodone), is the first antidepressant that is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor combined with and a 5HT1A receptor partial agonist. Many of the so-called SSRI antidepressants, such as Prozac or Zoloft, work on the serotonin system of the brain.