Friday, September 02, 2005

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Isadora B. Stehlin is a staff writer for FDA Consumer.
How to Approach Alternative Therapies
The NIH Office of Alternative Medicine recommends the following
before getting involved in any alternative therapy:

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Two of the defendants fled to Great Britain, but the other two
pleaded guilty and served time in U.S. federal prisons.
The bottom line in deciding whether a certain treatment you've read or
heard about might be right for you: Talk to your doctor. And keep in
mind the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Ozone generators, which produce a toxic form of oxygen gas, have
been touted as being able to cure AIDS. To date this is still unproven,
and FDA considers ozone to be an unapproved drug and these
generators to be unapproved medical devices. At least three deaths
have been connected to the use of these generators. Four British
citizens were indicted in 1991 for selling fraudulent ozone generators
in the United States.

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Some unapproved cancer treatments not only have no proven
benefits, they have actually been proven dangerous. These include
Laetrile, which may cause cyanide poisoning and has been found
ineffective in clinical trials, and coffee enemas, which, when used
excessively, have killed patients. (See "Hope or Hoax? Unproven
Cancer Treatments" in the March 1992 FDA Consumer.)