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Therapeutics Letter - free newsletter looks at the evidence for and against drugs
Old 02-09-2015, 08:41 AM   #1
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Therapeutics Letter - free newsletter looks at the evidence for and against drugs

I was on the web today researching plant sterols and came across this newsletter that I thought some might be interested in.

The bi-monthly newsletter is written by a team of doctors at the University of British Columbia that looks at the evidence for and against drugs. They publish their findings in a free bi-monthly bulletin called Therapeutics Letter. The latest issue urged doctors to be more mindful of side effects when writing prescriptions for statins. Here is the link to the newsletter: Therapeutics Letter | Therapeutics Initiative.

They cover a broad range of medical topics and while I haven't read the one on statins (it's called Proven and Associated Harms of Statins), any doctor who doesn't wholeheartedly say to jump on the statin bandwagon has my vote. The written newsletters are also available as podcasts.

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Old 02-09-2015, 09:40 AM   #2
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I have collaborated with some scientists from this research group and I can vouch for the quality of its work.

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Old 02-09-2015, 10:20 AM   #3
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Thanks, that's great to know!
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:46 AM   #4
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Thanks! I started Prevastatin for borderline high cholesterol and within 6 months I had elbow pains so bad it hurt to raise a spoon to my mouth and I was brushing my teeth with my left hand. I thought about when the problems had started, did some research and threw the pills away. The symptoms gradually reversed although I still get pains if I really exert myself. I found this section meaningful:

Muscle symptoms interfering with exercise and inhibition of cardiorespiratory fitness are problematic because regular exercise is the best way for patients to prevent adverse cardiovascular events.Minor muscle damage may be very prevalent as low level ultrastructural muscle damage was detectable in muscle biopsies from 10 of 14 patients taking statins with no muscle symptoms.
Yeah, that would be me. Eventually I would have had to quit exercising (was starting to get pains in my knee joints, too). The "cure" was worse than the disease.

I'm not against pills and prescriptions but prefer to try alternatives first if a condition isn't immediately life-threatening.

Edited to add: great article on reducing polypharmacy (one patient taking many different pills), too.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link Lisa99.

Prescribing info examined:

Is prescribing information from sales representatives balanced? | Therapeutics Initiative

  • Sales representatives increase sales of the drugs they promote.
  • A recent study in Canada, the US and France showed that sales representatives seldom provide the information on harm that is needed for rational, evidence-based prescribing decisions.
  • Greater regulation of sales visits in France is associated with a higher likelihood that information about harm is provided, although serious harm remains underreported.
  • Prescribing decisions require balanced understanding of potential harm as well as benefit, especially for newer, less familiar drugs. Promotional information is unlikely to meet that need.
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