Some research may be encouraging ineffective prescriptions, says new study

ScienceDaily | 11/26/2018 | Staff
reantes (Posted by) Level 3
The researchers focused their attention on the blockbuster pain drug pregabalin (Lyrica). One of the world's bestselling drugs, pregabalin is widely used for conditions that are not approved by Health Canada or the FDA ("off-label"). Relying on the published record of trials, they reconstructed the timeline of pregabalin drug development to understand what evidence was available to clinicians and clinical guideline creators when they were making treatment decisions and recommendations, and how testing was coordinated. Their underlying finding was that after pregabalin received its first approval, research was often better at creating the perception that pregabalin might work against other diseases than it was at proving it. For example, they found that despite nearly a decade passing since the publication of a small study suggesting that pregabalin might work to treat patients with low back pain, no large, rigorous follow-up trials have been published to date.

McGill Professor Jonathan Kimmelman, Director of the Biomedical Ethics Unit in the Faculty of Medicine, and the study's senior author, first came up with the idea for the study after watching the documentary film "The Merchants of Doubt." The film showed how the tobacco, chemical, and oil industries have manipulated science to sow doubt among regulators and the public about the relationship between their products and public health. Prof. Kimmelman wondered whether there might be an analogous process going on in medicine. Instead of sowing doubt, he thought pharmaceutical companies might want to create the perception that their drugs might be useful for conditions other than those for which they are approved. The researchers found something more complex at work, however, with many of the studies in their sample being publicly funded and others not reporting any industry funding at all. "We were surprised to find that the problems we document are partly driven by...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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