Several studies remind us that there are plenty of drugs that don’t work, but we keep on taking them anyway.
Antibiotics are regularly given for treating cough, even though some doctors are having second thoughts about prescribing them. A new study of 800 patients with a cough suggests they should have more than second thoughts, and might just as well throw away the prescription pad. The study divided the group into three: those who were given immediate antibiotics, no antibiotics, or a prescription they could use if their cough hadn’t improved after two weeks. Those who had immediate antibiotics didn’t fare any better than those who weren’t given antibiotics. After 10 days their cough was as bad as the one suffered by the other two groups – and older people given antibiotics actually suffered a worse cough than their counterparts who took nothing.
Chloramphenicol eye drops, which are routinely prescribed for children with conjunctivitis, are equally useless. A study has discovered that they are so ineffective that the researchers urge doctors to stop prescribing them, and instead should advise parents on good eye hygiene. The drug was tested against a placebo on a group of 326 children with bacterial conjunctivitis. The placebo group fared just the same as the children taking the eye drops, suggesting the drug had no positive effect at all.
* Some drugs are more than just useless. They’re dangerous as well. The guilty are named in the WDDTY book Secrets of the Drug Industry, and it’s yours by clicking on this link: http://www.wddty.co.uk/shop/details.asp?product=341.