Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Evidence Gap

The Evidence Gap

For Widely Used Drug, Question of Usefulness Is Still Lingering

By ALEX BERENSON

When the Food and Drug Administration approved a new type of cholesterol-lowering medicine in 2002, it did so on the basis of a handful of clinical trials covering a total of 3,900 patients. None of the patients took the medicine for more than 12 weeks, and the trials offered no evidence that it had reduced heart attacks or cardiovascular disease, the goal of any cholesterol drug.

“I don’t think the answer on Zetia is in,” said Dr. Robert J. Temple of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The Evidence Gap

Cholesterol Drugs

Articles in this series will explore medical treatments used despite scant proof they work and will consider steps toward medicine based on evidence.


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