By Tracy Staton
Poor FDA. It takes flak every time a drug spawns unexpected side effects. But when it tries to warn doctors about those side effects–and offers advice for preventing them–few physicians are listening. As AMedNews reports, researchers looked at 16 drugs that got new label warnings or were mentioned in “Dear Doctor” letters from 1990 to 2010. And they found that doctors’ behavior often changed very little after those cautionary tales were told.
When the FDA recommended that patients using atypical antipsychotics–such as Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa* and AstraZeneca’s Seroquel–be monitored for signs of diabetes, rates of blood-sugar testing in those patients didn’t increase, AMedNews reports. When the agency repeatedly warned against combining the acid-reflux remedy Propulsid with the blood-pressure pill Atacand, prescribing habits didn’t change for 18 months.
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