bye bye medication

Teresa Nielsen Hayden is not happy with the FDA’s decision to yank Cylert, at the behest of Nader and Public Citizen. Julian Sanchez chimes in over at Hit&Run as well. At issue is the implication of Cylert in an increase in liver failure risk:

The FDA’s reason is that it has determined “the overall risk of liver toxicity from Cylert and generic pemoline products outweighs the benefits of this drug.” Except, of course, that Teresa Nielsen Hayden obviously thought the benefits outweighed the risk. And, of course, there isn’t really such thing as the “benefit” or “risk” of a drug in itself, but only the benefit and risk to a particular patient—not just because of physiological variation between people, but because of how we differently value the same sets of positive and negative effects. A sane FDA would give us the information and let us decide for ourselves which way the balance came out.

I agree. I see no reason for the draconian measure of yanking the drug entirely. If it’s still prescription, a medical professional is required to consult with the patient and decide if the benefits outweigh the risks – this is true with many medications. I shudder to think what I’d do if the FDA decided to yank Cetirizine, a drug which I depend on daily.