Evidence-Based Medicine Guides Decision on What Drug to Prescribe

Article excerpt

Its 3 a.m., and your 15-month-old daughter has just awakened crying with noisy breathing. Shes coughing frequently and sounds like a dog barking.

When you call your pediatrician, youre told to take her to the hospitals pediatric emergency department for evaluation. The physician there diagnoses her with croup and prescribes a corticosteroid to improve her symptoms by reducing the inflammation in her larynx (voice box).

Do you ever wonder how your physician decides which medicine to give? Does he give a single dose of dexamethasone, or choose prednisolone that is given for several days? Which medicine has been shown to be more effective? The answer lies in evidencebased medicine.

Evidence-based medicine is the process of systematically reviewing research findings and combining them with clinical expertise to provide the best, most appropriate care to patients. Simply put, evidence-based medicine helps health care providers make medical decisions based on up-to-date research, clinical experience and whats best for the patient.

Evidence-based medicine is not cookbook medicine where a physician simply follows a recipe to treat every patient in an identical way to achieve the same results. Instead, your physician uses the best available research along with his or her individual clinical expertise. Neither alone is enough to treat your child effectively. Without both clinical expertise and current research evidence, the patients care may not be what it should be. …