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.
July 20, 2012 |
Silymarin, an extract of milk thistle widely used around the world for treating liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, provides no more benefit than a placebo, researchers reported this week. Some estimates are that as many as a third of the estimated 3.2 million Americans with hepatitis C -- as well as many more millions around the world -- are consuming the drug in an effort to alleviate their symptoms. The new research by a team headed by Dr. Michael W. Fried of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine suggests that they are simply wasting their money.
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.
August 9, 2010 |
Statins are widely considered to be one of the safest drugs available. An estimated 24 million Americans take the cholesterol-lowering drugs, and most of them feel no different after their daily dose. "The vast majority of patients tolerate statins extremely well," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at UCLA. But like any drug, statins carry a risk of side effects. With so many people taking them, and millions of other potential users out there, doctors and patients need to be alert for symptoms that could be related to the drugs.
April 3, 2008 |
Amgen Inc. said its experimental drug for osteoporosis boosted bone density among postmenopausal women in a clinical trial. The treatment, denosumab, was more effective than a placebo at increasing bone density in a study of 332 women, the Thousand Oaks-based company said.