Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Medicine Doesn't Make Sense, #1

How can someone design a drug without knowing how it works?

I keep running across descriptions of drugs that say "mechanism of action unknown". How does this happen? As I get deeper and deeper into the study of medicine, I am more and more amazed by how much what is practiced is a crapshoot.

Maybe medicine is more an art than a science.


Steve said...

I guess it shows that all of those ancient healers with leeches and humors weren't that much different from modern drug companies.

I'm glad no one has ever diagnosed me as being too Phlegmatic.

Rica said...

Yeah -- my epidemiology professor talked about a recent study in which they looked at leeches as a treatment for arthritis. Which actually found that the leeches were beneficial! So those quacks maybe were on to something. Although, to be fair, it was hard to double-blind: you generally notice if you've got leeches on your leg.