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I never say never - advice from a pharmacologist Larry Hoover

Posted by madeline on May 10, 2006, at 7:58:05

In reply to Re: I never say never llrrrpp, posted by Larry Hoover on May 10, 2006, at 7:15:29

If I may, I am going to weigh in with my two cents.

I have a doctorate in pharmacology. I specialize in drug discovery and development. I am in academics, not big pharma. I want to comment on the following statement that you made.

"Yes, precisely, the studies are poorly designed. They are set up the way they are so that they can get the drug made legal. That is their primary task, to leap through hoops. The idea that they might actually be trying to learn something is ...well....quite civil of you to allow them. Any learning occurs by serendipity. Psych drugs are a business. They follow a business plan, not a treatment paradigm."

1. No clinical trial is ever perfect. Ever. The sample size simply can not be big enough to adequately predict the outcome. The FDA relies heavily on predictive statistics. We all know that there a lies, damn lies and statistics.

2. Never take a drug until it has been on the market for more than 5 years - 10 years is even better. This enables the field to do independent testing (and they do) and allows plenty of time for new side effects to come up. Do not be afraid of asking your pdoc how long a drug has been around.

3. Physicians are not pharmacologists. The drug companies do active recruiting to entice them to prescribe their meds. Patients have to be wary of this fact. There might be an older, safer drug that is just as effective. You have to do your own research.

4. Big pharma is not the evil empire. Yes they are in it to make money, but they help a lot of people. If it weren't for their capital resources, I can promise you, there would be a lot fewer options on the market today. Keep in mind big pharma discovered the SSRI's to begin with while most of the rest of the field was staggering in the dark.

I'm not defending the status quo, could it be improved? ABSOLUTELY! But I think no matter how many improvements are made, there is no replacing an informed consumer.





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