005 – Questions to ask when reviewing medication efficacy studies

Personal History

  • Witnessed people experiencing difficulty on and trying to get off of medications
  • Concerns about the efficacy and legitimacy of studies and some pharmaceuticals

 

When looking at studies

  • What’s a placebo? Nocebo – negetive expectation on treatment.
    • Placebos more effective in treating issues related to dopamine.
    • The larger, more colorful, or intense the placebo, the more effective.
  • Is there a control group?
  • Is the control group on an active placebo?
  • What’s the difference between the control group and the treatment group?
  • Have the studies looked at what happens when one tries to get off the medications? What happens when one tries to get off the placebo?
  • How long is the medication shown to provide benefit compared to the control group? Example Benezos may have a 2 week window of providing more benefit then what the control group receives.
  • What population is the study on? Do you match the population?
  • What’s the recurrence rate of the symptoms on the drug verses no treatment?

 

For the professional prescribing you the medication:

  • What’s their expectation for how long you will be on this medication?
  • What’s their plan on getting you off of this medication?
  • What are the risks on being on this medication, what are the risks when getting off this medication, and what are the long term risks of this medication?
  • What are other maybe more natural ways of treating this issue?
  • What’s the company that owns this medication policy on making public their studies, does it include loose language like “all studies will be considered for publication”? This could mean the company is hiding studies that illustrate ineffectiveness or harm.

 

Things to consider if you’re already on medications:

  • If you’ve tried to quit or reduce your dose and you feel worse, these may be signs of detox and not a sign that the drug is working and you need to stay on it.

 

Resources

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