:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Tuesday, December 28, 2004  

The public's mistrust and anxiety over painkillers

There's a fascinating piece in today's New York Times about the anxiety that patients feel about Celebrex, Bextra, Aleve, etc being deemed safe or not. Psychologists have broken it down nicely -- presenting the patient's perspective on this issue. Not surprisingly, mistrust in the FDA and physicians are important factors that contribute to the public's anxiety:

"Some doctors say they are concerned their patients may be overreacting, but psychologists who study how people evaluate risks say the widespread anxiety, raft of lawsuits and feelings of broken trust are neither surprising nor, necessarily, unwarranted.

"[Patients] hear that there was one study that didn't find an increase in heart attacks, but then they think, 'O.K., but how many studies have been suppressed?' " Dr. Loewenstein said. "There's a danger of a cataclysmic reduction or collapse of trust in physicians and in the government, and what we're seeing now could be a leading indicator of that." ...

"When it means that someone else is controlling whether or not I may be in danger, whether it's not letting me have the flu shot or not telling me about the potential risks of these medications, then people will react in ways that can seem out of proportion to the actual risk," Dr. Gray said...

So the fact that the warnings involved a drug that people took each morning thinking it would make them healthier is particularly troubling to the public, some experts say, as is the fact that health officials who were supposed to look out for them may have instead neglected to alert them about serious side effects...

"The degree of alarm and outrage is because something that's supposed to make people safe is really putting them at risk," Mr. Sunstein said.


posted by Anjali Taneja | 12/28/2004 08:01:00 PM | |


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