Unintended consequences

The more we reassess old medical dogma, those standards that have governed testing and treatment in so many areas of medicine for decades without being questioned, the more we find that much of it was not only ineffective, for many conditions, old unquestioned dogma may even be more harmful than doing nothing, the real main standard we should be sticking to much more than we tend to do.

Here’s another recent study about something that we’ve been doing for years, namely treating early osteoarthritis (OA) with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen or ibuprofen because well, those drugs not only help reduce the pain of OA, they are also anti-inflammatory and that’s bound to help sore knees (or digits or hips or whatever joint ails you).

These researchers compared a group of patients taking NSAIDS for OA with a group that used all sorts of other medications (yes, including acetominophen, which is also commonly used by people with OA) and they concluded that those with OA who were taking NSAIDS had significantly more progression of their disease (joints looked to be in worse shape) after 8 years than those who weren’t using those drugs.

First do no harm.