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Study: Doctors Often Dismiss Complaints of Drugs’ Side Effects

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Aired 4/19/09

A new study reveals doctors often dismiss their patient's complaints about adverse side effects from drugs. The UCSD study involved patients who took the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Statins have been linked to muscle problems and changes in memory. But in the study, almost half of all patients who complained of these side effects said their doctors didn't believe the symptoms were drug-related. A number of patients said their physician linked their complaints to age or imagination.

UCSD doctor Beatrice Golomb lead the study. 

Golomb : Perhaps we should do a better job of educating physicians about side effects, and making sure that they pay attention when their patients report possible concerns.

Dr. Golom says she doesn't know why so many physicians downplayed their patients concerns. She says there's clearly a need for a system that includes patient reporting of adverse effects.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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