Why randomised controlled trials don’t tell you what you want to know

 Body of Evidence

Earlier this week the Daily Mail  published my feature on side-effects and how patients aren’t properly warned about them. Antidepressants, for instance, can cause compulsive heavy drinking but you wouldn’t know it from the drug information leaflet. 

The article is about campaigning psychiatrist Dr David Healy, who believes patients need a more truthful account of the side effects they risk. It describes his new website – Rxisk.org – that makes it easier to report side-effects and provides a forum where you can swap experiences with other pill users.

Information about side effects is often poor because it gets  hidden by the companies running the trials. A campaign by doctors and journals is now well under way to force drug companies to be more transparent.

Turning garbage into gold

But that’s not enough, according to Healy. He believes there are serious problems with the randomised controlled trial (RCT), the so-called…

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