CureFacts' Principles

Our guidelines for choosing better medical treatment

 

When it comes to choosing better medical treatments and avoiding unnecessary and damaging treatments, CureFacts relies on the following 6 principles:

  

 

  1. Science > Regulation
      
    In science we trust
      

    • We prefer to look at the scientific evidence, and not at current regulation.

    • Many medical treatments have strong scientific evidence that support their effectiveness and safety; however, many of these proven treatments are not regulated as medication by a government (mainly since they are regarded as safe and therefore have been exempted from regulation). For example, there are systematic reviews that conclude that alternative medicine1 and food supplements2,3 are effective and safe treatments, while such treatments themselves are not subject to the laws or regulations of medications of many governments. All in all, it makes perfect sense to use such helpful treatments.

    • Likewise, quite a few medical treatments are approved by the FDA or other government authorities, while the accumulated scientific evidence about these treatments sometimes leads to the conclusion that they are ineffective4 or poorly researched5. Regulatory decisions about which drugs to approve may sometimes be influenced by intense lobbying efforts6 and by conflicts of interest7,8. Therefore, we prefer to rely on science. When it comes to your health and the health of your dear ones, you'd better stick to scientifically proven treatments.
       
         

  2. When in doubt, have doubts! 
      
    Solid evidence only
       

    • In order to determine if a medical treatment is effective and safe, sufficient scientific evidence must be gathered first.  

    • Sufficient scientific evidence, in this case, means several randomized clinical trials that tested the treatment on hundreds of individuals.

    • It is also important that such randomized clinical trials (RCTs) will be done in a way that protects against bias. For a trial to be valid, there should be a an active group (that took the medication) and a control group (that took an ineffective mockup - a placebo, or a different medication), group members should be assigned randomly, and both the patients and the care giver (that provides the medication to the patient) must be "blinded" - unaware if the treatment provided to them is the active medication or the control.

    • Where there is insufficient scientific evidence about a medical treatment, it is not possible to say if a treatment is effective or safe. This is why, when it comes to rating a medical treatment, we always check the strength of evidence first.

    • When the evidence is insufficient, we simply rate the treatment as "Gray" (unclear). In such cases, you might consider looking for other treatments that have been proven to be helpful. In fact, choosing a "Gray" (unclear) treatment is no more than gambling without knowing the odds. And when it comes to health issues, you should minimize such gambling, and prefer scientifically valid medical treatments (if such options exist). 
       
           

  3. Any treatment goes, if proven 
      
    Taking consumer’s perspective
       

    • Helpful medical treatments come in many forms: from the more "official" and regulated treatments (surgeries, prescription drugs, medical devices, over the counter drugs) to the less regulated treatments (food supplements, alternative medicine).

    • All these treatment types can be tested, even the non-regulated ones, and many non-regulated treatments are in fact tested by clinical trials9,10, that can scientifically validate their effectiveness and safety.

    • From a patient's point of view, any type of treatment that is scientifically proven to be helpful for her or his medical problem should be taken into consideration.

    • If, for example, your back aches, you should consider different types of treatments according to your specific condition: a surgery, a medical device, a painkiller, a lotion, herbal medicine, exercise therapy or a massage may each help.

    • Think of it from a consumer's perspective: regulated or not, if a treatment is scientifically proven to treat your problem in an effective and safe manner, it may be the service or product that you want to purchase.
       
          

  4. New ≠ Good
      
    New may just mean expensive and risky
      

    • Contrary to the common belief that new is better, when it comes to medical treatments new may still be experimental and may often be more dangerous than helpful.

    • In fact, one study reports that when 946 new prescription drugs were inspected, the conclusion was that compared with older generations of drugs, only 8% of the new drugs were more effective. According to another article, 24% of the new drugs are dangerous. In other words - with new prescription drugs (compared to older ones), your chances for very risky side effects are 3 times higher than your chances for a better treatment.

    • So, if older and safer drugs exist, why take your chances with new drugs? Keep it safe, instead of betting on an undergoing experiment!

         

          

  5. Ineffective = Damaging
      
    Futile treatment means delay of treatment
      

    • Ineffective treatments seem harmless, right? Well, actually, they cause severe damages to millions of patients who use them, by delaying the usage of helpful treatments, which leads to a deterioration in the medical condition of these patients.

    • In addition, any treatment, including ineffective treatment, causes side effects and sometimes cross-medication interactions, which may be harmful to the patients.

    • Besides, you would not buy a car that does not run, would you? So why should you spend time, money and efforts on a treatment that does not work? It is a much wiser to use only effective treatments and to avoid ineffective treatments.
       
           

  6. Only life expectancy & life quality matters 
      
    And... Life quality also includes treatment costs
      

    • The reasons we undergo medical treatments, are to live (longer life expectancy) and to live better (not suffer from pain, not suffer from disabilities, etc.).

    • Therefore, a helpful treatment should do just that: help us live longer and/or better.

    • This said, you should pay close attention to the advertised benefits and effects of a treatment. For example - if a treatment is proven to lower blood pressure, and you suffer from high blood pressure, treatment still does not mean that you will live longer. Sometimes, under such medications, the blood pressure becomes too low, and people die because of it. In fact, when life expectancy was measured for some patients who took medications for reducing blood pressure, the result was that such treatments actually shorten life expectancy in patients. Not exactly the outcome you want for a helpful treatment...

    • Expensive healthcare costs may also influence our life quality. Therefore, inexpensive treatments, if helpful enough, are a better choice. For example, generic prescription drugs may be a better choice than new, patented formulas.

    • All in all, choose treatments that provide real benefits (longer and better life), at reasonable costs.
       
       
          


 

  

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Looking for a medical treatment? Here are the guidelines for choosing better treatments.
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