A study by researchers at Saint Louis University indicates articles in medical publications can have a lot of influence over how doctors deal with their patients – especially if the news is negative. Co-author Doctor Mark Schnitzler says many physicians trust the information in such publications as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine. He points to a couple of 2005 articles suggesting a link between nesiritide, a popular medication for acute decompensated heart failure, and an increased risk of kidney failure and death. Doctors were quick to cut back on prescribing the drug. Its use dropped by about two-thirds over the course of nine months. Doctor Schnitzler says physicians don’t act as quickly when there’s good news about a drug because they suspect the results could be compromised by drugmakers eager to paint a rosy picture of the benefits of their products. He likens the impact of medical articles on doctors to the effect articles in Vogue have on the fashion industry.
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