Older Drugs May Be Better Than New Fashions
Most of all you hear about new drugs. Pharmaceutical companies may charge higher fees for new drugs before generics are on the territory, so it’s worth promoting them and funding research that makes doctors wonder how good they are. Older drugs are not as popular.
But doctors and scientists had more time to familiarize themselves with older drugs. If there is a long-term risk or minor side effect, it may not be obvious at first. Thus, even if the prescribers are talking about the new drug, the old drug is sometimes the safer choice.
This is one of the “golden rules of drug therapy” by clinical pharmacologist Andrew Herxheimer , who died this month at the age of 90. The medical journal BMJ remembered him with a blog post of his nine rules designed to help patients. Here are the first three:
- Think about what you could do instead of medication.
- Unless you have a specific reason, avoid taking new medications. Stick to those that are known from many sources and have been used for over 10 years; Bad news about drugs often comes out years later.
- Before deciding to use a medicine, decide if it should relieve a symptom, cure a disease, correct a deficiency, or prevent something. There is no point in preventing something in the future if it will cause you some trouble now.
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Photo by psyberartist .