Chicago: Many consumers mistakenly believe new prescription drugs are always safer than those with long track records, and that only extremely effective drugs without major side effects win government approval, according to a new study.A national survey of nearly 3,000 adults finds that about 4 in 10 wrongly believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves only "extremely effective" drugs. One in 4 mistakenly believes the FDA allows only drugs that don`t have serious side effects.That means consumers "may not get the benefit from drugs they think they`re getting, or they may expose themselves to more harm than they think" said study co-author Dr. Steven Woloshin of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the VA Outcomes GroupIn truth, the FDA approves a new drug when its benefits outweigh any known risks. FDA approval doesn`t mean the drug`s benefits are large compared to drugs already on the market. And risks for some drugs appear only after they`ve been used by millions of people and long after FDA approval. For instance, Merck & Co. withdrew the FDA-approved arthritis pill Vioxx after its heart risks surfaced.
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