52% improvement…

Posted on Friday 26 October 2012

Just in passing, this ad flashed before me:

and I saw 52% improvement out of the corner of my eye. So I went back and looked. It’s 52% improvement in the the HAM-D17 score over 8 weeks as opposed to a 43% improvement of the placebo group over the same interval resulting in a 2 point mean difference over placebo. I wonder who they think they’re fooling?
    October 26, 2012 | 1:13 PM

    Or you could get up every day and throw a dart to feel better or not. As long as you don’t put anybody’s eye out, it will cost less and have far fewer negative effects.

    October 26, 2012 | 3:58 PM

    They’re fooling a lot of doctors. Many are putting patients on Pristiq despite the availability of generic venlafaxine.

    What is it about these drugs that makes doctors suspend prudent prescribing?

    October 26, 2012 | 4:22 PM

    Appeals to authority are no less scientific now than they ever were as arguments in themselves, but with the help of the contemporary 24/7 echo chamber public relations drives become “common wisdom”. Everybody knows that mental illness is caused by a glitch in the brain that can be treated with drugs and that the drugs work.

    October 26, 2012 | 7:33 PM

    So the “true” drug effect is a whopping 9%– well worth all the money (and side effects)! LOL. All this study says is that placebos should be a first line of treatment for non-suicidal mildly to moderately depressed patients.

    Joel Hassman, MD
    October 26, 2012 | 9:47 PM

    From what I see about Pristiq prescriptions, docs give out samples of it in the office first over 75% of the time and people stay on it, especially if the free stuff keeps coming for awhile.

    Again, per the earlier insanity post, when do docs figure out that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results will finally stop. These “purified”forms of prior meds life Lexapro instead of Celexa, Ambien CR instead of Ambien IR, Invega over Risperdal, umm, not making peoples’ lives better.

    Just the company profit margins. Oh, and those docs who are proud sponsors and benefactors of these scripts getting written. Hey, medicine is now under a business model, enjoy the process!

    October 27, 2012 | 1:23 PM

    I think 43% improvement is pretty damn good! Even if it is only on something like a HAM-D scale which doesn’t necessarily measure all the things that really count in life. I agree with Tom: The take-home lesson should be, let’s get these placebos in wider distribution. Let’s see, what do they consist of? Encouragement, hope, a bit of attention, and a pellet of starch. Do you think the average psychiatry practice could duplicate that these days? Well, they might be able to come up with a pellet of starch … but don’t bet the farm on it.

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