…would seem to be the message from three papers published over the past few days in different venues.
First, the NEJM published this past weekend a report showing that using a cholesterol-absorption inhibitor (ezetimibe) in combination with statins reduces LDL below what each drug achieves on its own but, alas, there is no similar additive effect on the progression of atherosclerosis.
Then, JAMA published today that rimonabant, the cannabinoid receptor inhibitor that promotes weight loss, has no effect on the progression of atherosclerosis either, although the authors do warn that more studies are needed before we know for sure if this is the case.
Last, a study in PLoS Medicine published yesterday claims that people with Alzheimer’s disease are better off without neuroleptics for the treatment of their psychiatric symptoms. These drugs seem not to have significant beneficial effects to outweigh their side effects.
It would seem that every time we look at a drug using higher-magnification lenses we uncover something to discorage us from its use. At this rate, I don’t look forward to a future in which the only thing you can buy safely from a drugstore will be aspirin.
P.S. Who comes up with the names of these clinical trials? ENHANCE and STRADIVARIUS? You must be joking! If only their outcomes were as uplifting as their names…