Talking about drugs

Do we really need CME on what doctors should tell patients about the drugs they prescribe? According to this study, I'm guessing the answer is "yes." From the New York Times writeup of the study:

    Although there were variations, depending on the type of medicine prescribed, 74 percent of the doctors mentioned the trade or generic name of the medicine, and 87 percent stated its purpose. Sixty-six percent said nothing about how long to take the medicine, 45 percent did not say what dosage to take and 42 percent failed to mention the timing or frequency of doses. Physicians mentioned adverse side effects only 35 percent of the time...

    [Dr. Neil S. Wenger, the senior author on the study], said, “You prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medicine, a medicine that has to be taken for a lifetime, and the person never refills the first prescription. And we wonder why. Now it‘s clear why: we never told them that they were supposed to keep taking it.”

From recent personal experience, I have to say my physician follows the line on this one, not mentioning the name, duration, side effects, or dosage of a drug she prescribed for me. Thank goodness for my pharmacist and the Internet, where I was able to find what I needed to know (from reputable sources—I made sure of that), in a whole lot less time than it took to get said doc to return my call. The really sad thing is that I knew more than she did about it when she did return my call eventually.

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