Time is short today so here are two quick picks of blog posts well worth reading on topics related to our normal discussions:
Joseph at The Corpus Callosum discusses a paper and a news report on putting drug safety risks in objective perspective relative to other risk behaviors we encounter daily, like driving a car. Depending on one’s aversion to risk, some drugs can be considered relatively safe or dangerous, but Joseph points out that one must also consider the benefits of drugs in these risk assessment. But safety is not absolute: all beneficial activities and behaviors carry some risk.
Second is a post from the WSJ Health Blog on a paper in Archives of Internal Medicine reporting on a survey of internal medicine residents about their knowledge of dietary supplements (defined as “vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites”).
More than a third of those who took the quiz wrongly believed that dietary supplements had to be approved by the FDA before being sold. Attending physicians fared better than the overall group, though 15% still thought supplements required FDA approval. And roughly 60% of both residents and attending physicians were unaware that serious side effects of dietary supplements are supposed to be reported to the FDA.
The authors then tested whether an online interactive curriculum they developed could improve supplement knowledge.
The total average pretest score was only 59% (986/1675). The average score rose to 91% (1526/1675) after completion of the curriculum (P<.001).
The bottom line seemed to be that if young docs and attending physicians had poor knowledge of supplement regulation and adverse event reporting, patients and consumers must really be in a fog.