Drug Trials a Lot Like Reality TV

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2009 12:51 PM CDT
Drug Trials a Lot Like Reality TV
Despite winning American Idol, Taylor Hicks hasn't exactly become a superstar.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Only one couple from The Bachelor has actually gotten married. No Apprentice winner has become fabulously wealthy. American Idol produced Taylor Hicks. Reality shows don’t always make good on their real-world promises, and in that way, they’re a lot like clinical drug trials, writes pediatrician Darshak Sanghavi in Slate. A huge new study shows that Ritalin doesn’t really work, for example.

Participants in the original Ritalin trials were treated in a well-funded, highly supervised environment with specialized therapy and developmental experts on hand—“a setup that’s about as realistic as a date on The Bachelor,” Sanghavi argues. No wonder they scored better on short-term ADHD metrics. “Prescribing expensive and potentially dangerous drugs isn’t exactly like a reality television show,” Sanghavi concludes. “But perhaps we should at least be equally skeptical of their outcomes.” (Read more reality TV stories.)

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