If you believe that the latest blockbuster medication is worth a premium price over your generic brand, or that doctors have access to all the information they need about a drug’s safety and effectiveness each time they write a prescription, Dr. Jerry Avorn has some sobering news. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of patient care, teaching, and research at Harvard Medical School, he shares his firsthand experience of the wide gap in our knowledge of the effectiveness of one medication as compared to another. In Powerful Medicines, he reminds us that every pill we take represents a delicate compromise between the promise of healing, the risk of side effects, and an increasingly daunting price. The stakes on each front grow higher every year as new drugs with impressive power, worrisome side effects, and troubling costs are introduced.
This is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at issues that affect everyone: our shortage of data comparing the worth of similar drugs for the same condition; alarming lapses in the detection of lethal side effects; the underuse of life-saving medications; lavish marketing campaigns that influence what doctors prescribe; and the resulting upward spiral of costs that places vital drugs beyond the reach of many Americans.
In this engagingly written book, Dr. Avorn asks questions that will interest every consumer: How can a product judged safe by the Food and Drug Administration turn out to have unexpectedly lethal side effects? Why has the nation’s drug bill been growing at nearly 20 percent per year? How can physicians and patients pick the best medication in its class? How do doctors actually make their prescribing decisions, and why do those decisions sometimes go wrong? Why do so many Americans suffer preventable illnesses and deaths that proper drug use could have averted? How can the nation gain control over its escalating drug budget without resorting to rationing or draconian governmental controls?
Using clinical case histories taken from his own work as a practitioner, researcher, and advocate, Dr. Avorn demonstrates the impressive power of the well-conceived prescription as well as the debacles that can result when medications are misused. He describes an innovative program that employs the pharmaceutical industry’s own marketing techniques to reduce use of some of the most overprescribed and overpriced products. Powerful Medicines offers timely and practical advice on how the nation can improve its drug-approval process, and how patients can work with doctors to make sure their prescriptions are safe, effective, and as affordable as possible.
This is a passionate and provocative call for action as well as a compelling work of clear-headed science.
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|Title of eBook: Powerful Medicines|
|Release Date: 12-10-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Powerful Medicines|
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|Note||ePub, short for electronic publication is one of our favorites and should be yours for a couple of reasons. ePub offers reflowable text giving you flexibility to manipulate how the content is presented. Moreover, lots of cool features are now being developed for the reader like advanced video and audio. ePub is now an industry standard, so all of the "non-propreitary" hardware manufacturers are now supporting it.|
1: THE PREGNANT MARE'S LESSON
In a former British colony, most healers believed the conventional wisdom that a distillation of fluids extracted from the urine of horses, if dried to a powder and fed to aging women, could act as a general tonic, preserve youth, and ward off a variety of diseases. The preparation became enormously popular throughout the culture, and was used widely by older women in all strata of society. Many years later modern scientific studies revealed that long-term ingestion of the horse-urine extract was useless for most of its intended purposes, and that it caused tumors, blood clots, heart disease, and perhaps brain damage.
The former colony is the United States; the time is now; the drug is the family of hormone replacement products that include Prempro and Premarin (manufactured from pregnant mares' urine, hence its name). For decades, estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women was widely believed to have "cardio-protective" properties; other papers in respected medical journals reported that the drugs could treat depression and incontinence, as well as prevent Alzheimer's disease. The first large, well-conducted, controlled clinical trial of this treatment in women was not published until 1998; it found that estrogen replacement actually increased the rate of heart attacks in the patients studied. Another clinical trial published in 2002 presented further evidence that these products increased the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Further reports a year later found that rather than preventing Alzheimer's disease, the drugs appeared to double the risk of becoming senile. The studies resulted in a reduction, but not an end,