Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. The following highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656 or 215-351-2656.
A new study examining a poison control database found that products containing the herb ephedra were much more likely to cause negative side effects than any other herbs. The study is posted on www.annals.org, the web site of Annals of Internal Medicine, today and will appear in the March 18 print issue of the journal. The authors conclude that because of the increased risk for adverse reactions, sale of ephedra as a dietary supplement should be restricted or banned.
One in five patients discharged from the general medical service of an academic hospital had an adverse event after they went home, a study of 400 discharged patients found (Article, p. 161). The authors say, "Adverse events occurred often, adverse drug events accounted for most nonsurgical adverse events, (and) many adverse events were preventable." They also identified ways to improve the care of patients in the period immediately after discharge from the hospital.
(Clinical Guidelines, p. 212 and p. 215.)
Medical organizations that take a position against physician-assisted suicide have a responsibility to justify their stand by describing reasonable alternative actions for physicians to help patients who are experiencing intractable suffering (Perspective, p. 208).