Monday, November 20, 2006

Required Reading on Mifepristone (RU-486)

Health Care Renewal has a supremely excellent tale in the mifepristone saga that you simply must read.


..."Looking at the new report, one sees in the Acknowledgements that the first author was supported by Corcept. One also sees that a co-author, E. Ronald de Kloet, failed to disclose his relationship to the company: he is a member of Corcept’s scientific advisory board and, unless he has sold any, the owner of 60,000 shares of Corcept stock. One also sees that this basic science article is careful to follow the company’s marketing message and branding language on the putative efficacy of mifepristone for PMD. For instance, it states, “The glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone has been shown to rapidly and effectively ameliorate symptoms of psychotic major depression.” These basic scientists also stated, “recent clinical studies have shown that the glucocorticoid-receptor (GR) antagonist mifepristone relieves symptoms of psychotic depression after a remarkably brief treatment period of 4 or 8 days.” None of the cited studies shows anything of the sort. We then read, “… similarly to its clinical efficacy, mifepristone’s effects on adult neurogenesis are rapid and positive, and may therefore be important for its mechanism of action.”

What is the deal with "similarly to its clinical efficacy" -- there is no proven clinical efficacy. The post goes on to discuss how the article makes for great marketing copy (which was likely its intent all along). A basic scientist can play marketing waterboy as well as the clinical trials folks!

Link to the excellent HC Renewal post here. More on mifepristone here and here.

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