Saturday, August 12, 2006

Alternative Therapies Ineffective. Alties Remain Silent

EoR wonders why the "evidence based" alties who so much enjoy touting any poorly designed statistically indeterminate trial that their favourite "natural" (and therefore "safe") product works wonders, but remain staunchly silent when studies show no effect?

A review of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms reports

Nearly half of adults in the United States use complementary and alternative therapies each year for a variety of reasons. These therapies are increasingly popular among women seeking alternatives to treatment with estrogen for managing menopausal symptoms. The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of complementary and alternative therapies in the management of menopausal symptoms. [...] Although individual trials suggest benefits from certain therapies, data are insufficient to support the effectiveness of any complementary and alternative therapy in this review for the management of menopausal symptoms. Many of these potential therapies warrant further study in trials with rigorous scientific designs to determine benefit and safety.

Meanwhile, Australian Doctor (28th July 2006) reports on a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

There is no evidence that dietary supplementation and modification alters the clinical course of cancer or precancer, according to a study that may dash the hopes of many patients seeking a dietary cure. The analysis of 25 randomised controlled trials in patients with cancer and 34 in patients with preinvasive lesions, such as colorectal and oesophageal, found no evidence that dietary changes altered the course of the disease of improved survival. [...] The analysis of various diets and supplements, including vitamins, antioxidants, retinol and garlic, found most trials had methodological weaknesses. A healthy diet alone or in combination with dietary supplements, weight loss of exercise had no effect on all-cause mortality. [...] Professor Ian Olver, CEO of the Cancer Council Australia, said the study was important because it underlined that just because something like diet sounded helpful, that did not make it so.

Elsewhere in the same issue, studied a concern dear to alties' hearts: Big Pharma's twisting of drug trial results (reported in BJU International 2006; 98:377-80):

Clinical trials of new drugs are expensive and difficult to organise, so most are funded by the pharmaceutical industry, raising concerns about their credibility. But analysis of 24 different studies of oxybutynin and tolterodine for overactive bladder found industry-sponsored trials were no more likely to produce positive results. All the studies, whether industry-sponsored or not, would have benefitted from closer adherence to current standards for randomised trials.


  1. Good point,check the obits it's still 3 score and ten for everybody.

    I took zyprexa which was ineffective for my condition and gave me diabetes.

    Zyprexa, which is used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, accounted for 32% of Eli Lilly's $14.6 billion revenue last year.

    Zyprexa is the product name for Olanzapine,it is Lilly's top selling drug.It was approved by the FDA in 1996 ,an 'atypical' antipsychotic a newer class of drugs without the motor side effects of the older Thorazine.Zyprexa has been linked to causing diabetes and pancreatitis.

    Did you know that Lilly made nearly $3 billion last year on diabetic meds, Actos,Humulin and Byetta?

    Yes! They sell a drug that can cause diabetes and then turn a profit on the drugs that treat the condition that they may have caused in the first place!

    I was prescribed Zyprexa from 1996 until 2000.
    In early 2000 i was shocked to have an A1C test result of 13.9 (normal is 4-6) I have no history of diabetes in my family.
    Daniel Haszard

  2. Daniel,
    Tough luck re diabetes, but there is a cost/benefit to most choices in life. You did say Olanzapine was supposed to have less motor side effects. In your case (and others it would seem) these are unacceptable. Perhaps some people would think the risk worthwhile.

    And things with effects usually have side effects. That's why homeopathic medicines are so harmless.

    As for a Big Pharma conspiracy, re selling diabetic drugs, I doubt it. They lose out badly with drug scares and scandals. They'd much rather rake in the $$$ with nice effective user-friendly drugs. With an obesity-linked diabetic epidemic underway there's even less motivation to "make their own.".


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