Getting timely information about drug dangers is always challenging. It’s been our experience that drug companies and the FDA generally downplay problems until they have no choice but to admit there’s a serious complication. The diabetes drug Avandia is just one recent example. Thanks to crusader, Steve Nissen, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, many doctors and patients have been alerted to the cardiovascular risk associated with this medication.
There is now a Web site where patients enter the drugs they take and learn how risky they are. This risk assessment is individualized according to the person’s health status and other medications. The site, iGuard.org, categorizes risk in a Homeland Security-type color code (red equals VERY scary). The site also sends out email alerts as soon as there is information about a new drug hazard. The site is free for users and worth a visit because personalized drug interaction information is hard to find in a user-friendly format. J&T
Thanks, Joe & Terry! What do you think of the guides published by Public Citizen’s Health Research Group? It costs $15 to subscribe to their site and you then have access to all their background materials, fully searchable. Plus they email alerts whenever there is news. It’s at http://www.worstpills.org.
Is the free site as comprehensive as Worst Pills, Best Pills?
We have always worried about dogmatic decrees…such as “DO NOT USE.” There are some people who actually do quite well on Actos for diabetes control or Ultram to relieve pain, but the admonition to avoid such drugs completely doesn’t take that into account.
In addition, we hate to second-guess a doctor. There may extenuating reasons to prescribe a particular medication. One of the appealing factors about http://www.iGuard.org is that a patient can sign a physician up to receive alerts or warnings so that there can be shared decision making.
What about vaccinations? Sure, some drugs are dangerous, but do you know what the risks are for that flu shot?? http://jmday.com/?p=41