The Truth About Cheap COVID-19 Miracle Drugs

By Sinnerman | simple health | 21 Apr 2021


Too Good To Be True

For approximately the past 12 months, we've been hearing about how researchers have found that certain widely available cheap drugs are a miracle cure for COVID-19. Unfortunately, a lot of these claims have been hyped up by the media before any conclusive evidence had been found, and worst of all a lot of physicians worldwide have bought into the hype and started prescribing these medications to their patients. 
Now you might be thinking, well we're in a pandemic, we don't have time to thoroughly test everything and sometimes when you're desperate you have to try things even if they have a small chance of working. While I understand this sentiment, we are still exposing people to uncertain treatments with very real side effects. Anyone remember Hydroxychloroquine? Aside from its many side effects which include arrhythmia (i.e., the rhythm of your heart gets all jumbled up which might kill you), it's also a drug that is widely used for lupus. Imagine what a shortage in a drug that is essential to your life could do to you because of unfounded hype.

Evidence Based Medicine

EBM is defined as "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients."
Simply put, it is your physician's job to recommend medications and interventions based on valid, peer-reviewed, and reproducible evidence. 
But what about the many papers that show evidence of a drug like hydroxychloroquine working? That's a great question and unfortunately not all evidence is equal. First and foremost, there are different types of studies you can conduct but for the sake of simplicity, I'll only mention randomized clinical trials (RCTs). These studies involve studying two sets of groups and comparing the outcome in each; the first group receives the intervention (e.g.,, a medication) while the second receives a placebo (a "fake" medication). RCTs are most of the time essential to validate your hypothesis. However, the method by which you conduct your study is as important as the study type itself. A lot of bias can be introduced into someone's study which could make it seem like they successfully proved something worked.

So how am I, your average Joe, suppose to apply all this in real life?

Unfortunately, these days the media hypes everything up before confirming anything. Clickbait titles such as "This Cheap Drug Can Cure COVID-19" should be avoided. However, other researchers review each others' works and will scrutinize a paper to the fullest of details. Over time, as more and more data becomes available, we can figure out whether a drug is truly effective or just hyped up nonsense. Keeping an eye out for guidelines and articles by the FDA, CDC, and EMA (European Medicines Agency) can help you understand the current status of a medication and these societies' recommendations. Just because a doctor tells you to take something during a pandemic, doesn't mean you're not allowed to question this experimental approach.

Effective Therapies for COVID?

As of today, the available drugs that have been proven to work beyond a reasonable doubt are very limited and applicable only in certain situations.
Dexamethasone, for example, is used in the setting of someone who is severely ill and not in someone with a mild cough, sitting at home, binge watching The Office. Another drug is called Actemra (Tocilizumab), which is also used under certain conditions.
However, you should not have to worry about which of these medications to get, as it's your physician's job to order them. Keep in mind, however, to always ask about what you're receiving and the side effects associated with a drug. 

It's true that in a pandemic we have very limited options and are essentially blind to treatment strategies, however, you should always ask about things you don't understand and try to make an effort to research those things. Do NOT however rely on social media for this info (looking at you Facebook). I will explore in another article why social media can be harmful to you and how it spreads disinformation.

Thank you for reading, enjoy your day/night!

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Sinnerman
Sinnerman

Doctor by day, gamer by night.


simple health
simple health

While not focused on cryptocurrency, this blog will hopefully be of use to people looking to understand the latest news in health and medicine. After all, we've all seen the impact a pandemic can have on the global economy. If readers have suggestions about topics or articles that need explaining, I'm happy to write about them.

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