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Subjecting Yourself to Experimental Meds

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the test-monkeys-ho! dept.

Biotech 348

ghostlibrary writes "Even while NIH is getting new ethics regs, patientINFORM is being evangelized as a way for ordinary citizens to look up experimental treatment online, in essence circumventing their doctor, and the FDA long ago tacitly approved this. /. debated Wikis in hospital. RSI fans track risky or untested procedures from the Typing Injury FAQ and Health-Hack covers IT-related self-help medicine. Laser-eye stuff is now mainstream and doesn't need a check beyond google. Any other sites out there for those willing to dictate their own medical course? Does this mean Internet users will become test subjects more than the usual college students and elderly?"

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If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (4, Interesting)

guildsolutions (707603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544562)

Its pretty obvious... If nobody vols for these medications, then the results will never be determined. Once we leave the earth we goto a better place above anyway, or so a lot of people tell me. Its a good thing to test experimental drugs...

Just not on me.

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544624)

Once we leave the earth we goto a better place above anyway
Goto? Is that a word? Oh you mean like:
aBetterPlace:
goto aBetterPlace;

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544897)

10 live
20 die
30 reincarnate
40 goto 10

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (3, Funny)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544753)

Its a good thing to test experimental drugs..

Some of them are particularly good, I can taste the color green and I'm growing a fine pelt of electro-luminescent body hair!

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544864)

I'm not sure I'd want to taste the color green.

Now purple, there's some good eats.

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (1)

Anti Frozt (655515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544935)

Well, Purple is a fruit [snpp.com]

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544763)

Some go to a worse place.

Re:If nobody voulnteers no cures will be found (4, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544824)

Provided the volunteers are informed of the risks of their choice by an independent medical expert. New-age/prayer treatments, or radical new drug treatments tend to sound attractive when argued by their supporters, but aren't always good choices.

If I had a terminal condition I'd ideally like my doctor to lay out all my options, and explain them fully. This includes the conventional (but probably not so effective or pleasant), and the unconventional (and not have to worry that I or my family will sue him later). The reality is that traditional doctors can be a bit CYA, while the research doctors may be inclined to not tell me what I need to know. The laws and our social behavior are set up in such a way as to continue this situation.

The next best option is to do my own research and run it by a couple conventional doctors and see how their answers disagree. It's not perfect but it's a step towards the ideal. This facility would seem to offer that, provided people who use it consult with an actual medical expert.

Bottom line, if I am dying from a particularly untreatable form of cancer, I may be inclined to try something new. I just need to know what the options are, and what the odds are. Only I should be allowed to gamble with my life.

sentence 1: wtf (5, Insightful)

Bootle (816136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544565)

Does that even remotely make any sense? Sure as hell doesn't to me...

Re:sentence 1: wtf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544594)

Indeed. My first reaction exactly.

Re:sentence 1: wtf (2, Insightful)

shamowfski (808477) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544597)

Nope. But I didn't think any of it made sense. I wish they made grammar check. It'd be this huge dude the just knocked the crap out of you for posting shit that doesn't make any sense.

Re:sentence 1: wtf (0)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544698)

"that", not "the"

I'll bet now you're glad there's no grammar check... :P

Re:sentence 1: wtf (0)

twigstamc420 (235143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544733)

Amen!

Re:sentence 1: wtf (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544876)

Glad I'm not the only one. Thought maybe there was something in my meatloaf when I tried to read it.

Re:sentence 1: wtf (1)

ahsile (187881) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544855)

Indeed. I'm lost in the horrible grammar.

Ah yes (2, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544566)


This is just ripe for law-suits galore.

Just wait and watch, until people figure out whom to sue to get the maximum out of. And then we can see this whole thing wither away...

(Yes, I know. I'm quite cheerful on Mondays...)

Re:Ah yes (2, Insightful)

stanleypane (729903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544674)

This is just a shot-in-the-dark, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is some wort of waiver that must be signed prior to beginning treatment/testing. I couldn't imagine these meds being gauranteed in any way, either.

Hell, I live near Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and I can tell you they are *constantly* putting ads in the paper for experimental programs related to drug abuse and various other experimental treatments. Something tells me an institution as such has looked into the possible legal troubles they may encounter before doing anything like this.

Re:Ah yes (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544747)

Well, yes - usually patients are asked to sign a form where they give their souls away to the devil^W doctor. Or some such thing.

But still, it really depends on the extent to which the medication may affect and a lot of other factors - for instance, I'm quite certain that I cannot feed a man cyanide with the intent of "helping" him in any way.

Negligence and a tonne of other factors would need to be considered - and if something goes amiss, well! Lawsuits, lawsuits.

Re:Ah yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544789)

I'm quite certain that I cannot feed a man cyanide with the intent of "helping" him in any way.

Sure you can, it's called homeopathy.

Re:Ah yes (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544878)

No, you feed him water which was a cyanide solution diluted 100X diluted 200 times over.

Of course, it is just plain water at the end.

Re:Ah yes (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544958)


Yeah, and then you sugar-coat it!

Re:Ah yes (0, Offtopic)

kmartshopper (836454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544712)

Heh... Yeah, I was going to say, "Sounds like a case of the Mondays."

Re:Ah yes (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544779)

Yeah, I just moved to a new city (Cincinnati) and I'm dressed like a penguin. Mondays like this are quite bad, I assure you...

ATTN Admins (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544569)

Please shut down this CID 20721 [slashdot.org]

THanks Yuo!

Be careful (5, Interesting)

thewiz (24994) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544571)

My life was saved by an experiemntal drug. The doctors couldn't get my heart restarted after my third open-heart surgery via defibrillation or other methods. The anaesthesist was one of the doctors evaluating a new medication that showed promise for restarting hearts and used it on me. As you can tell, it worked.

I've also been on the bad side of experimental drugs and have suffered thru some major side-effects. It's not a great feeling when the medication you are taking to eliminate pre-ventricular contractions makes you feel like you're living underwater.

As for people volutarily subjecting themselves to experimental medications and treatment: TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST! He knows your particular case better than any other doctor and can help you evaluate if you are a good candidate for the experimental treatment. It's a good thing that it's becoming easier to find out about available experimental treatments, but don't think it's going to be the "magic-bullet" cure until you find out more and talk with your doctor.

Re:Be careful (4, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544790)

"As you can tell, it worked."

That, or you're a zombie.

Re:Be careful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544823)

Shhh... You're not supposed to tell him....

Re:Be careful (2, Interesting)

guildsolutions (707603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544830)

My mothers life was also saved in such a way, it was nearly 16 years ago and she's still living today. My father and our family lawyer signed tons and tons of papers releasing the hospital/doctors from malpractice and other legalities... But they finally got her heart started and... Thankfully, she's still with us today... 16 years later.

As I said above, these drugs have to be tested on someone. When the time comes to say.. "Your dead.. but we can try this and see if you will be alive.. well, Lets try it!"

I would rather be alive than dead anyday, even if I do go to the place above, and I still have my mother here today.

Re:Be careful (2, Funny)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544884)

As you can tell, it worked.

Oh really? You expect us to believe that you are alive *just* because you posted on slashdot? Ha!

I'm afraid we'll need further proof...

Re:Be careful (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544974)

When I was a teen, I got to try a "brand new drug" too, for acne, called Acutane.

It was hell.

In the end I don't know if my acne would have gone away by itself or if it went away thanks to the medicine, but having talked to other people 15 years later who underwent the same treatment, I know that they gave me a much larger dosage (5 to 15 more depending on their case) than what is currently prescribed nowadays.

If I could go back in time, I would not take that drug again.

No. (2, Funny)

shamowfski (808477) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544572)

Last time I checked, my computer could not innoculate me.

Its your life (3, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544578)

If you understand the risks, side-effects, and possible benefits, anyone who is mentally fit should be able to insert whatever materials they wish into their own body presuming no perceived liabilities to others (which would preclude crack, PCP, etc).

Re:Its your life (3, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544664)

How exactly are "crack, PCP, etc" automatically liabilities to others?

Re:Its your life (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544705)

Its a judgement call, a subjective one to be sure, but on average PCP will cause you to ignore pain in yourself and others. Crack will make you extremely irrational. The impact of these states tends, on average, to be an unacceptable social cost. They also have no medicinal value whatsoever in their present forms (not subjective).

Re:Its your life (4, Interesting)

stanleypane (729903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544795)

No medicinal value? Cocaine was once used as a local anesthetic. What do you think helped spur the creation of synthetic drugs such as novacaine or lidocaine?

Ditto for PCP. It was originally procuded as an anesthetic for humans later used by veterinarians. Now, neither uses them because of their potential for abuse. Ever heard of Ketamine? Another popular anesthetic used by vets. It is in the same family of drugs as PCP.

Re:Its your life (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544850)

As I stated explictly in my post, these drugs have no medicinal value in their present forms. I accept that there may be some component or reformulation that is of value. I offered this qualification for a reason.

As for Ketamine... (0)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544950)

Ketamine is not intended for human consumption, therefore your comment is a non-sequiter. Find me one vet who will tell me otherwise and I will retract this statement.

Re:Its your life (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544707)

It's not "automatic" with anything but a good majority of users of any addictive, mood altering, substance (i.e. alcohol, crack, PCP, etc) become a liability in some way.

Re:Its your life (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544715)

O - your brain
. - your brain on drugs

* - your asshole
. - your asshole with diahhrea. Or something.

oh god I'm cracked out

Re:Its your life (0, Offtopic)

stanleypane (729903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544730)

Damn, I posted in this discussion and I can't moderate. Mod this guy up.

Re:Its your life (2, Funny)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544885)

Don't worry. I've got mod points. I've got you covered.

Re:Its your life (2, Interesting)

dustman (34626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544762)

How exactly are "crack, PCP, etc" automatically liabilities to others?

In exactly the same way drinking and driving is a liability to others.

You're not going to run down some schoolkids every time you drive after a sixpack, and you're not going to kill random strangers every time you get juiced on PCP, but you're statistically an unacceptable liability.

Re:Its your life (2, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544802)

you're not going to kill random strangers every time you get juiced on PCP, but you're statistically an unacceptable liability.
What you say applies to drink without the driving. Drunk people are much more likely to engage in violent, anti-social behaviour than sober people. But that's a piss-poor reason for prohibiting booze (or PCP), because it indiscriminately punishes the well behaved and the ill-behaved user equally.

I bet you $100 that more people are killed by drunks than PCP users, even after you excludie drink-related traffic accidents.

Re:Its your life (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544891)

But that's a piss-poor reason for prohibiting booze (or PCP), because it indiscriminately punishes the well behaved and the ill-behaved user equally.

This is an amusing theoretical stance on the basis of the virtues of liberty, but it is of no practical value. As for your qualification that drunk drivers are more dangerous than PCP users, it is also fallacious, useless, and misleading.

Re:Its your life (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544930)

But, part of his implied statement was, what's it to you if they're not operating heavy machinery, or on the highway?

People should be allowed to drink bleach, whip-up a batch of the nastiest crank you've ever seen, and sit in their homes snorting away, if that's their thing. None of this bothers any of us, until they wander out into the street, or on the highway.

What's the worst that can happen? Dude wins a Darwin award? That makes us all better, if you think about it.

Re:Its your life (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544977)

What's the worst that can happen? Dude wins a Darwin award?

No, he puts his infant daughter in the oven (has happened).

Re:Its your life (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544910)

There are far more drunks than PCP users.
(anyone still use PCP out there?)

Are there PROPORTIONALLY more people killed by drunks than PCP users is the question you need to ask.

Re:Its your life (1)

Boing (111813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544943)

It's not as clear a line as Ars-Fartsica implied, but the general premise is that mind-altering drugs make you incapable of recognizing your social responsibilities.

It's more clear with an example. PCP can cause auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and psychosis in certain people and in certain quantities. Let's say Sober Joe is a peaceable guy... never has a bone to pick with anyone, never been in a single fight. Joe takes some PCP, has the aforementioned reactions, and knocks out a cab driver because he assumed he was being kidnapped.

In this extremely contrived example, it's pretty obvious that PCP was the catalyst of the assault... Joe wouldn't have committed it unless he was high. It would be fair to say that PCP is to "blame" for the assault. But you can't put PCP on trial, it's just a chemical. So your options are to blame Joe, who remember is a good god-fearing guy who happened to submit to peer pressure, or to ban PCP because of its probability that it will cause people to disregard societal rules. In the U.S., we do both. But that's the argument that makes mind-altering substances "automatic liabilities" in most peoples' minds.

There's no question that there are flaws in that heuristic... many people would claim that marijuana doesn't have significant violent or hallucinogenic effects when compared to alcohol. Or even more controversially, that it is much more benign than many pharmaceuticals in its effects; yet alcohol is legal, and we give legal mind-altering substances with ill-defined long term effects to children, but Marijuana is a Schedule 1 Narcotic in the US. But there is a solid (if not irrefutable) argument that it's necessary to draw a line somewhere.

Re:Its your life (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544737)

While in a general sense I completely agree with you (and have even taken that route myself and assisted others with it), I would clarify that your "no perceived liabilties to others" addendum precludes things like antibiotics and antivirals. If you use them wrong you can turn your body into a breeding ground for "superbugs", which can then go on to cause immense harm.

Re:Its your life (1)

mattmentecky (799199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544745)

If you understand the risks, side-effects, and possible benefits, anyone who is mentally fit should be able to insert whatever materials they wish into their own body presuming no perceived liabilities to others (which would preclude crack, PCP, etc).

If you go on these experitmental drugs, they have horrible side effects that require more treatment to recover from which in-effect increases or impacts your insurance, as a group, does that not affect me? Much in the same way that you automatically cast off recreational drugs (crack PCP heroin) as a drain on society.
Or more directly, what if one of these drugs accidently makes you drop dead while youre...oh say, driving a truck down the highway?

Re:Its your life (1)

kmartshopper (836454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544761)

If you understand the risks, side-effects, and possible benefits, anyone who is mentally fit should be able to insert whatever materials they wish into their own body presuming no perceived liabilities to others (which would preclude crack, PCP, etc).
Yes, and anyone that does such should pay, with their own money, for any hospital bills they incur. The reason people's freedoms in this regard are limited, is because their actions, over time, inflict a financial burden upon society that the individual does not pay for.

Slight rewrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544888)

presuming no perceived liabilities to others (which would preclude driving, stealing, and/or fighting while on crack, PCP, or Alcohol or any other molecule etc.).

Remember: Drugs don't kill people. People kill people.

I got no insurance (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544894)

Some of us, like me, have no insurance. This doesn't just mean no doctor visits, but no doctor. Period.

I'm all for people consuming anything and everything they want -- crack, heroin, asperin, ibuprofen, cialis, PCP, sugar, caffeine, water -- whatever you want.

I'd rather try an experimental drug, rather than pay out the nose for what little sick-care I can afford. Hopefully, it'll be something I like.

Re:I got no insurance (-1, Flamebait)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544925)

I'm all for people consuming anything and everything they want -- crack, heroin, asperin, ibuprofen, cialis, PCP,

Once again, an interesting theoretical tack that is of no practical value in society. And yes I am assuming that you are just another honkey who priases unqualified freedom as long as you don't have to live next door to it, in which case you quickly become a proponent for regulation...

Re:Its your life (1)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544959)

I agree. When you've gone to four years of post-secondary education, followed by four grueling years of medical school to understand *all* of the risks, side-effects and possible benefits, and then gone on and done clinical work for a minimum of two years and up to twelve years, you should be able to insert whatever materials you wish into your own body presuming no perceived liabilities to others.

In all honesty, what you're proposing is lunacy. Even if you majored in biology in college, the amount of information you "know" about your body is insignifant in comparison to someone who's halfway through their first semester of medical school. My long-time girlfriend is finishing up her second year of medical school. Her and her friends estimated that they covered one college semester's worth of material per class every two weeks.

At any given time, they had 5 classes. So basically it was like a full load of college courses every two weeks.

But hey, you probably know enough about your body and our collective genetic material from your 30 minutes on google to diagnose and treat yourself.

WTF on the challenges? (4, Interesting)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544598)

I'm as cynical as the next guy, but how the fuck can someone challenge the publishing of information as violating the Freedom of Information Act?

Re:WTF on the challenges? (2, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544814)

It took me a while to figure out that you were referring to:

Meanwhile, the APS/AAI statements cite other federal policies and regulations the NIH proposal seemingly violates, including the Freedom of Information Act and an Office of Management and Budget circular that says the NIH must perform a "cost comparison study."
from the evangelized [libraryjournal.com] link in the original story.

To address your question, I think at least one site lost information in paraphrasing. APS states "While this outcome arguably could be defeated by reliance on FOIA Exemption Four, 5 U.S.C. [section] 552(b)(4)...". And the FOIA [usdoj.gov] shows that this exemption is "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential". However, this does not mean that this information cannot be published (as far as I can tell - IANAL), merely that it doesn't have to be published. However, I think that the previously mentioned link has misrepresented the APS position on this. (I'm not saying I agree with the APS, merely that I don't believe they are using the FOIA to justify blocking the information, merely saying that the FOIA does not forbid blocking the information.)

Day Job: Lab Rat (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544609)

Moderately Off-Topic Anecdote time!

One of my favorite unknown alt.country singers, Slaid Cleaves, tells the story of his day job: lab rat for experimental medicines at a center in Austin, Texas.
I take drugs for a living. I'm a human guinea pig. A lab rat. A medical research volunteer. Pharmaco International pays me to stay in their facility for about $100 a day. Some studies only last a couple of days. Some are comprised of several weekend stays. Right now I'm in the middle of a long term study. 22 days. We are in the facility for the entire time, except for a few 20 minute walks around the building for fresh air. No visitors. No outside food. Hospital type meals are provided, along with newspapers, movies, pay phones and a clip board that tells us where to be and when for certain "procedures."
The rest of the story (including the lab's phone number, if you're interested) can be found at Slaid Cleaves' web site [slaid.com] .

Re:Day Job: Lab Rat (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544709)

Pharmaco == also the place where Robert Rodriguez holed up to earn the $7K he spent making El Mariachi.

Re:Day Job: Lab Rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544936)

Hm, I wonder if a past history of using certain drugs might affect the results of future tests.

I'd argue the opposite.. (2, Interesting)

Quickfry (799118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544627)

Why would Internet users subject themselves this type of thing more than others? If we have the ability to find out about the experimental meds online, we'd know better what we were dealing with, and know enough not to subject ourselves unnecessarily.

Simpson... (0, Troll)

XFilesFMDS1013 (830724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544635)

I, for one, welcome our new medically enhanced overlords.

what??? (3, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544645)

patientINFORM is being evangelized as a way for ordinary citizens to look up experimental treatment online, in essence circumventing their doctor


How is gathering infromation on experimental treatments "circumventing their doctor"? It seems to me that it is better to be informed about potential or experimental treatments for an ailment you are suffering from - if you are interested, bring it up with your doctor. And no, that doesn't mean you should TELL your doctor you want this or that treatment; the idea is to inform yourself, not attempt to replace the years of training and practice a doctor has. Seems like a non-issue to me.

Re:what??? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544752)

except people aren't that smart. They'll go to their doctors and demand these treatments. That's why there's so many commercials for different prescription meds nowadays. People see these cures for all their ails advertised on TV, and get pissy when the doctor tries to give them reasons why they shouldn't try them. Or they may even go find a different doctor who will write the prescription.

I agree with you. When I get sick, I'll let the doctor tell me what's best. I might research it some just to have a better idea how it all works. Not many people are as smart as they think they are. It's often easy to convince yourself that you know what's best for you, but in a case like medication or treatments, your doctor probably knows more. If you think he doesn't, you could cause yourself some problems. This website makes it easier for people to think they're more capable of making these judgments then they really are.

Re:what??? (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544923)

I think the real problem is not with dumb people but smart people who fail to recognize that a doctor with a 100 IQ and a decade spent in med school, residency etc. is still better than a person with a 140 IQ and a couple of hours on the Internet.

Re:what??? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544986)

It depends on how obscure your condition is, and how much your doctor is a specialist in the field. Your family practice doctor probably knows far more than you about how to treat bronchitis or an inner ear infection, but if you have a relatively obscure condition, they likely won't know any more about it than they can read off a page that comes up on a computer screen. If it is a condition that you deal with regularly, however, you may well have read dozens of medical journal articles on the subject.

As an example: I had a family practice physician claim that only ethinyl estradiol increased risk of thrombosis, because that's all that came up on her screen; she claimed that 17-b estradiol doesn't, and that transdermal and oral 17-b estradiol are effectively the same as far as side effects and risk factors go. Yet, this is contrary to about a dozen studies I've seen conducted; while oral ethinyl estradiol causes a notably higher risk of thrombosis than oral 17-b estradiol, oral 17-b estradiol itself poses a much higher risk of thrombosis than transdermal or intramuscular 17-b estradiol. There's even a theoretical reason proposed for this functionality: in many mammals, the mother eats the estrogen-rich placenta after giving birth. This stimulates an increase in clotting factors, which helps the mother heal.

Finger joints (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544662)

After typing all day every day for, hmm, decades now my finger joints get painful. I've found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements work wonders. They take a couple of days to kick in but no pain. IIRC they act by improving the cushioning the joint better and allowing it to heal.

Re:Finger joints (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544717)

I find that C2H5OH helpsh the mosht.

Re:Finger joints (1)

shish (588640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544976)

Tried WD40, the military rust remover / joint loosener? No idea how accurate the story is, but a FOAF was alledgedly selling his model boat collection due to fingers aching too much, and the vast amount of WD40 he absorbed while cleaning them up fixed him.

Democratization of Information (2, Insightful)

under_score (65824) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544671)

In general, I really like this sort of development. It is the way the alternative health scene has worked for years (although, of course, only recently through the internet). There is a lot to be said for anecdotal evidence - but of course it is also dangerous. Many people feel under or mal-served by the medical establishment. Why not do one's best to bypass it?

Personally, I have a strong science background so I feel slightly confident about investigating remedies on my own. I do fear for people with poor educations though. That's one thing that the web is good for - it helps people self-educate.

Federal control sucks. All meds are experimental.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544675)

...until you actually try them on yourself. I've seen many drugs have outcomes dependent on the individual. All the epidemiological tests in the world say nothing about how a drug will affect you. I say drop all the federal controls and prescriptions. Anyone should be able to do their own research, and walk into any pharmacy to get what they want. The current system consolidates status quo and concentrates power in the hands of multinationals and litigation-phobic doctors. The power to control our own medical destiny belongs with the individual, along with all the responsibility. The FDA control of medicine does not give us a world safe from risk, so why have it. I suspect the average heroin addict has as good a track record as those that legally prescribe. From AIDS and cancer patients waiting futilely for hope denied, to old-age pensioners going to Canada to get cheaper drugs, to the war on drugs that might cause pleasure, federal control of medicine has been an abject failure. I'd rather have informed individuals in total control.

/. abbreviation (4, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544694)

...and the FDA long ago the tacitly approved this. /. debated...

Can we please refrain from starting sentences with the /. abbreviation?

Re:/. abbreviation (2, Interesting)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544818)

Are you referring to your own subject?

Without a medical degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544700)

Dr. - My 4 years of med school, 3 years of residency, and continuously studying CME have led me to believe that the experimental treatment you are requesting is too risky.

patient: - But I read about it on /. so it must be good....

Trust in Medical Professionals (4, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544704)

Doctors are like help desk technicians - you come to them with a problem, they have tests they can perform, and in the end they try to help you fix whatever's ailing you. But also like a tech, doctors are not always perfect - they have to make educated guesses about the problem and can definitely make mistakes. (The analogy continues, but it's important to realize the difference in necessary education before a person becomes a doctor. The risks of a PC crash are nothing compared to an allergic reaction that results in death.)

Now just like calling a computer tech, your visit to the doctor may not be that fruitful. It is possible that you will discover something your physician doesn't - after all, it's your body. In many cases, the doctor may not be willing to spend hours of research time finding a possible treatment for you. It's not surprising that you're willing to spend those hours on Google or other resources.

What I'd suggest is that you do your research and present your findings to your doctor. Work with him or her to approach these findings from an objective (try) standpoint and leave your emotions at the door. If your doctor will not work with you and you believe that one of these treatments may be successful, find another doctor who will be more receptive.

A few months ago, I went to the doctor with what I feared to be bronchitis or pneumonia. He told me I had the flu and prescribed a couple of things. I was skeptical of his anti-viral Rx, and when I went to get them filled the pharmacist told me that these drugs were only supposed to be prescribed on the first or second day of symptoms (I was in my fourth). I felt like the doctor (not my regular, but someone filling in) just gave me something to get me to leave. I did some research, and sure enough, there was no reason he should have prescribed those pills other than to mollify me.

Like telling a user "run a defrag."

Re:Trust in Medical Professionals (2, Insightful)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544837)

It is possible that you will discover something your physician doesn't - after all, it's your body.

While I agree with everything you said in your post, you shouldn't forget that the doctor may also find something that you would never be able to diagnose (in your analogy think of a keylogger that AdAware or SpyBot don't detect). Just because you found something online that you think may help you, you should always remember that the doctors are the experts in the field. And as always, you should get a second opinion for anything really important.

Experimental drugs... (3, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544719)


I've tried plenty in my time...didn't know you could get paid for doing so...

^_^

Re:Experimental drugs... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544908)

You sir are a fag

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Thanx

Re:Experimental drugs... (1)

dlZ (798734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544965)

"CHECK OUT MY PICS @ www.tubgirl.com"

Where the hell did you get my vacation pictures???

Experiment test subject (3, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544723)

I volunteered as a test subject a couple of years ago, several times. Partly because of the money (though you didn't get that much), but also, I guess, for the thrill of it (I wouldn't do it today).

Most of the experiments were totally harmless, but I have a couple of good horror stories. One experiment was a medicine for lowering blood pressure. It worked let me tell you, I almost passed out when running up some stairs the second day, and I'm normally fairly fit. It also contained beta-blockers, which turned out to give me horrible nightmares. Serveral nights I dreamt of being paralyzed, drowning while being tied up, buried alive etc. When waking up from the nightmares I was panicking, but I had problems moving. My body felt sluggish, and my heart was punding very hard but slow, though it *felt* like it should be racing.

A lasting positive effects of the experiments was that I lost my phobia of needles and blood after giving blood samples once every hour for 24 hours.

Re:Experiment test subject (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544785)

Actually, that was the purpose of the experiment. The drug was a phobia-reducer, the side effects are lowered blood pressure. They just told you it was a blood pressure med so as not to skew the results.

Can you dictate the treament to your doctor? (2, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544727)

On the news in England [bbc.co.uk] : a man afflicted with a degenerative brain condition has won a court ruling last year that will force doctors to give him water and food even if he cannot ask for it possibly a reaction to the then-ongoing Schiavo case in the US. Doctors are protesting that this "undamentally altered the nature of doctor / patient relationships and was not in the best interests of the patient."

I have not read the ruling, but I think it should be self-evident that if this guy wants to be sustained even when he can't ask for it, this should be done.

Doctors claim the ruling means they "would have to provide treatment which they knew would be of no benefit or could even be harmful", which is why I am making the post here. Indeed patients should not be able to force any particular doctor to give them treatment that, in his judgement, is medically unnecceary. Of course, they should be free to find a doctor who agrees with their choice of treatment. Of course, this can be bad for them, as the heading story points out, but it is their problem.

That said, I fail to see how giving someone food and water can be "harmful". It may be "of no benefit" only to the extent that the person's life is of no benefit, which is not for the doctor to judge especially when the patient has spoken on the matter.

frost piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544728)

eat it /bots

All medications are experimental forever (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544736)

All medications are experimental for three fundamental reasons:
  1. Clinic research is not statistically adequate: testing a medication on 10,000 people will not catch adverse side effects that kill 1-in-20,000 (e.g., kill 1,500 per year when 30 million peapl take the drug). Aspirin given to millions of children for more than 100 years before discovering Reyes syndrome.
  2. Genetic variations: People aren't genetically uniform. A drug that tests safe and effective on Chinese patients may kill Caucasians (and the Chinese and Caucasians are hardly genetically uniform). For childhood leukimia, there are currently 3 different drugs and they use genetic testing to determine which one to use (the wrong one is lethal).
  3. Environmental factors: The other substances that you ingest affect drug behavior. Two different drugs may be metabolized via that same pathway and thus if you take both, it slows the the processing of the drug (may increase or decrease the drug's effects). Foods also affect the results. For example., grapefruit deactivates certain digestive enzymes that otherwise limit absorption of some drugs (e.g., you get a higher dose of the medicine if you take it with grapefruit juice).
The point is that there's rarely enough data and too many genetic and environmental variations to judge all the effects. No medicine is ever proven safe. At best, you can create statistical confidence estimates on the likelihood of adverse reactions, but the genetic and environmental factors make these hard to do.

Well, all I can tell you is that.... (1, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544831)

....(while exceedingly rare) if your erection lasts for longer than four hours, call your doctor.

Re:All medications are experimental forever (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544987)

Clinic research is not statistically adequate: testing a medication on 10,000 people will not catch adverse side effects that kill 1-in-20,000 (e.g., kill 1,500 per year when 30 million peapl take the drug).

Right. Given a large enough test sample, the probability of statistical probability being probable is improbable.

Desperation? (2, Interesting)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544743)

I suppose if there's an experimental drug out there that needs testing and it's aimed at my particular affliction/malady, I'm game for it if the docs can't do much for it with exhisting medicine or techniques. [And the side effects aren't worst than the disease--such as 'anal leakage'].

But, then again, there ain't no cure for the summertime blues.

Re:Desperation? (1)

Bluesy21 (840772) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544933)

Dude I don't know what you're talking about....Anal Leakage f***ing rules!

What is a doctor? (4, Interesting)

qualico (731143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544794)

Next time your in a doctor's office, ask to see their drug indications guide.
You should be given a thick manual with pages of fine print on all the available drugs and the interactions/warnings of each.

The scary part is that it will be choked full of advertising.
For example; notice the thick tabbed glossy insert for "Viagra".

This may not be as fraudulent as this:
http://www.whistleblowerfirm.com/pharmaceutical-fr aud/ [whistleblowerfirm.com]

However, it does beg the question, "What is a doctor?"
If they are being swayed by advertising and free samples, than they are nothing more than a sales agent.

That be said, there are no doubt a class of doctors who see beyond this garbage and choose to educate themselves to offer an unbiased and professional service for their clients.

Good on ya, if you have found the later, otherwise you might as well just subject yourself to experimental meds.

Re:What is a doctor? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544975)

If they are being swayed by advertising and free samples, than they are nothing more than a sales agent.

Exactly. I routinely fought w/my doctor about how many meds she was prescribing for me and why. Yes, diruetics are supposedly the first method that doctors should try when faced with someone who has high blood pressure. Problem is that I was diagnosed at 18 and only treated at 22+ (due to D1 athletics). She had started treating me over a year and a half after I was already on other meds.

Diruetics cause night time muscle cramps/spasms in me but she refused to not prescribe them for me. She wanted me to take three different drugs (two for the hypertension and the diruetic). She was fully aware of how much that would cost me but what does she care?

I figure that while the Insurance companies are shortchanging the doctors on their pay the drug companies are making it well worth their while to prescribe more and more drugs even when it might not be financially viable for the patient.

That's my paranoid thought at least.

hrm.. (1)

dwntwnboi (820586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544806)

could this represent a fundamental shift of information away from the educated and priveledged to the masses via the internet and other electronic media?

i mean, i know that's what's been happening with it, but when it comes to the point where there are serious social ramifications, shouldn't analyze this further for lasting social effects before just "going for it"? or should we, on the other hand, just embrace the change and see what happens?

New Test subjects? (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544827)

Does this mean Internet users will become test subjects moreso than the usual college students and elderly?"

So when did we change from prisoners and the military. I know a WWII & Korean War veteran who claims he was subjected to radiation to "test it's effects".

patient directed medicine (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12544849)

[ Disclaimer: I come from a family of MDs, so am probably unusually sympathetic to doctors ]

There is a general problem with medicine in the US, and this story is part of it. The medical system considers us "patients" who are to be taken care of. But the insurance system considers us "customers", who have to manage our own health care, and figure out how it will be paid for.

Here's my latest example: I have good reason to suspect I have high LP-a, a condition that can be detected with a simple, inexpensive blood test. The results are easy to interpret, but the test is not standard procedure, especially for someone my age (young).

The local hospital does the test for $30. My insurance won't cover this test, so it is going to be out of pocket for me. BUT, the hospital won't do the test without a doctor's prescription (read: permission). They say this is so that it gets "billed to your insurance" correctly (even when I say that I am paying out of pocket).

I can go find some doctor (I don't have a regular doctor), pay a few hundred dollars (insurance won't cover this visit), and explain in gory detail why I want this specific test, hope that they don't think I am kook and give me the prescription. Then I pay the $30.

The kicker is that the hospital still won't give me the results. Instead, they will only send them to the doctor, requiring a second visit, and more money I don't have.

So how does this make sense:
- A test is being done on me
- But doctor must consent (no mention anywhere of my own consent, by the way)
- The results, in medical file, are kept hidden from me
- And I am expected to pay for the whole thing
- Yet can not influence any of the process

Re:patient directed medicine (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544937)

The hospitals around here all farm their bloodwork out to testing centers. Could you go direct to one of those?

Pass the Drugs (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544928)

Everyone taking illegal drugs is subjecting themself to experimental medicine. They're all generating vast amounts of effects data, consumed almost exclusively by hobbyists. Until that data is processed, and the drugs are available under consistent quality control, the experiment continues.

On the flip side, lots of newer drugs delivered to the US market since Reagan "streamlined" the FDA are still experimental. Because they haven't processed the effects data, or ignored some less flattering results, the drugs are still experimental.

By some measures, experimental drugs are America's national pasttime.

Its not circumventing, it is working with your doc (4, Insightful)

rvaniwaa (136502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544941)

I have a rare [carcinoid.org] form of cancer for which I am about 30 years younger than the average person with this cancer. I don't expect my doctor to know much about carcinoid because there are so few of us (he has only treated about half a dozen people with carcinoid).
Therefore, I feel it is my job to research as much as possible, find experts in carcinoid with which to consult and the latest paper to forward on to my current doc. Medicine should be a cooperative venture between doctor and patient, never just one or the other.
--Ron

Similar: I did it, it was fun and weird (Pharmaco) (2, Informative)

timothy (36799) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544989)

I did a few Pharmaco studies -- one complete, one where IIRC I was a standby, and turned out not to be needed.

It wasn't too bad: I've described it before as a mix of summer camp, hospital, insane asylum, and low-security prison. (These last three, I guess could be usefully combined.)

The biggest problem is that I failed to think as I should have about hydration: you need to drink enough water if you're going to have a fair amount of liquid extracted through holes in your arms; at one point, after various unsuccessful stabs at my arms, the doctor (who was a bit arrogant and standoffish, but certainly not terrible) gave me a shunt, so I didn't have to get stuck any more, and advised me to drink water so I'd have more to give, so to speak.

I got more schoolwork done there than I probably did on any other weekends, which was good, because that's not something I was winning any awards for. The food was bland but edible; the only thing I didn't eat was the mayo-containing coleslaw. Entertainment was scarce -- pool, television, a bank of phones -- but there was a computer room, and I brought books.

It's regimented and strange -- but for a couple of weekends, I got iirc $600, and an understanding of the place / system, and I don't regret it. Maybe I'll do it again sometime, out of interest / curiosity at how it's changed in the last decade than anything else.

timothy

p.s. There are lots of rumors about the studies there, including the fabled "heart stopper" where they give you $40,000 to stop and then re-start your heart. Likewise, the "lose a toe" one, where they amputate a toe to test some anti-bleeding drug. I dunno about the veracity of either, but I know when I laughingly told my brother about the heart-stopping one, he paused and asked "Really? 40 thousand?" very thoughtfully.

What about the comon commercials now? (2, Interesting)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544991)

We already have seen the result of such testing
Commercials like these...

"....Most comon side effects include stomach ache, vomiting, diareah, abdominal cramps, and loose stool. Doctors advise...." bla bla bla

Also you can read here [pacificresearch.org] .

What people don't understand, is that there has to be a double-blind test done on every medicine that will be produced by the medical industry. If it is not the medical industry that's putting it out, then they have to tell you about all of these side effects. Testing in such ways is for the good of the economy, not the humanity.

Health misinformation can be very dangerous. (3, Interesting)

nilesh_tms (680889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12544995)

Misinformation on the internet can be very dangerous. Things like the Typing Injury FAQ are probably more harmful than good. RSI tends to be more of a psychosomatic issue [harvard.edu] . Sites like the Typing Injury FAQ reinforce the false idea that it is physical problem.

I say this both from experiencing it for myself and years of research into "RSI" (while I had the symptoms of). The only thing that ever made sense and was able to cure me was John E. Sarno's book "Mindbody Prescription." Do a Google search for "sarno tms [google.com] " for more info (though the link above on the Harvard site [harvard.edu] is the best starting point to understand what he is talking about).

Take random health information on the internet with a grain of salt, especially since it can cause you to exhibit psychosomatic problems if you are prone to it (which more people are than you would think).

I know this is a controversial idea, but please at least read all of the document I linked to and give it a chance.
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