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The Atlantic: The Wonder Drug Myth

Tylenol-shelf We often question the one-size-fits-all approach of the pediatric vaccination schedule. While there are contraindications and exemptions, for the most part, the vaccine schedule is administered per the CDC schedule. Another topic in the autism biomed world is whether Tylenol has adverse effects for our kids. The Atlantic article below delves into Tylenol, not as it relates to autism, but to point out that not every medicine, even an over the counter medicine, is safe for everyone. Of interest is this line, In May 2009, researchers from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, suggested that in some people who suffered liver failure after taking the drug, the cause may be genetic, not the size of the dose. 

Read the full article in The Atlantic.

In the past 50 years, modern pharmacology has created dozens of treatments that improve and save lives. Cardiovascular drugs like beta- blockers have drastically reduced deaths from heart attacks and heart disease. For every million people who take a statin drug for high cholesterol, there are 50,000 fewer angioplasties, surgeries, heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths, studies have shown. And in the past 15 years, drugs have transformed AIDS from a death sentence into a managed disease. These are just some of the triumphs of pharmacology, and each case is a bona fide miracle, a life transformed. 

But not every drug can deliver a fairy-tale ending. Many of the stories we expect from drugs are partly fictions, hiding in a gauze of ambiguous results, placebo effects, and messy side effects. Though it’s widely known that the pharmaceutical industry tests hundreds of substances to get the handful that work, most people assume that those that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are actually effective. But the numbers say otherwise.

Even the best drugs have imperfect chances of working for any one person. Asthma drugs work in about 60 percent of patients. Migraine drugs are effective in only about half of cases. Drugs for Alzheimer’s disease work in about 30 percent of patients. And those are exceptional results compared to cancer drugs, which at best work about 25 percent of the time...



Yup. Wonder drugs. Scary. I used to take Wonder drugs - and bought into the culture - once upon a time.


At the bottom of the article regarding the author: "Thomas Goetz is the executive editor of Wired Magazine".

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