TEC: Evidence Based Therapeutics
Therapeutics Education Collaboration
Medication Mythbusters – Home of the Best Science (BS) Medicine Podcast

The BS Medicine Podcast episodes are presented by James McCormack and Michael Allan. We try to promote healthy skepticism and critical thinking and most of the podcasts are presented in a case-based approach. We also try to inject some humour into the whole process to make the learning more interesting. Occasionally we have great guests like Mike Kolber, Tina Korownyk and Bruce Arroll help us out.

Most podcast episodes are available for free until they become archived after about 1-2 months. Every 4th episode or so is a “New Studies You Need to Know About” podcast and these will only be available to our Premium Podcast members. Premium members will also be able to listen to all archived episodes since episode #1.

Episode 486: Needle in a Pain-Stack – Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

In episode 486, Mike and James go over the evidence we have for acupuncture in chronic low back pain. We find out that some evidence shows acupuncture will improve chronic low back pain in one in 6 patients. However, the magnitude of the effect seen is importantly less when you look at trials that actually use a sham control or those that are of higher quality or longer duration.

Show Notes

Tools for Practice

Needle in a Pain-Stack: Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

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Episode 485: Anti-inflammatories for the treatment of community-treated COVID

In episode 485, Mike and James go over a couple of COVID trials that show two different anti-inflammatories – colchicine and inhaled budesonide – seem to have an effect on reducing hospitalizations or urgent care visits.

Show Notes

1) Colchicine for community-treated patients with COVID-19 (COLCORONA): a phase 3, randomised, double-blinded, adaptive, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial

Lancet Respir Med. 2021 May 27;S2213-2600(21)00222-8.doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(21)00222-8.

2) Inhaled budesonide in the treatment of early COVID-19(STOIC): a phase 2, open-label, randomised controlled trial

Lancet Respir Med. 2021 Jul;9(7):763-772. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(21)00160-0.Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Episode 484: PREMIUM – Vitamin D for respiratory infections and overestimating diagnoses

In episode 484, Mike and James go PREMIUM on two topics that annoy them – Vitamin D and interpretation of tests. We find there is no value to using Vitamin D to prevent acute respiratory infections and that as health care providers we overestimate the probability of diagnoses before and after testing.

Show notes

1) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data from randomised controlled trials 

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2021; 9: 276–92 

2) Accuracy of Practitioner Estimates of Probability of Diagnosis Before and After Testing 

JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.0269 

Episode 483: Aducanumab for Alzheimer’s – forget about it?

In episode 483, James and Mike invite Tina to the podcast to talk about the aducanumab (Aduhelm) FDA approval story. We look at all the latest evidence, we talk about how people analyzed the data, whether or not the findings were clinically important, the side effects and finally the cost. And no matter how we looked at it we were still puzzled it got FDA approval. What do you think?

Show notes

1) Effect of reductions in amyloid levels on cognitive change in randomized trials: instrumental variable meta-analysis.

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n156 (Published 25 February 2021)

2) Failure to demonstrate efficacy of aducanumab: An analysis of the EMERGE and ENGAGE trials as reported by Biogen, December 2019

Alzheimers Dement. 2021 Apr;17(4):696-701.  doi: 10.1002/alz.12213.  Epub 2020 Nov 1.

3) Institute for Clinical and Economic Review

Aducanumab for Alzheimer’s Disease: Effectiveness and Value

Episode 481: Clearing up the evidence for topical acne combination products

In episode 481, James and Mike invite Paul Fritsch to go through all the evidence for the benzoyl peroxide/adapalene and benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin combinations that we use for acne. Call us crazy, but we focus on the important outcome of whether or not the patient thinks the treatment worked. We provide all the info and very simple numbers that will help you with shared-decision making for your patients who are trying to figure out which product to use.

Show notes

Tools for Practice

Clearing up the evidence for topical acne combination products

Episode 480: Reducing risk rather than reducing surrogates

In episode 480, James and Mike talk about two recent meta-analyses that have done a solid job of looking at the impact of lowering blood pressure and using SGLT-2s and GLP-1s to reduce risk. Both publications lend credence to the concept of focusing much more on risk reduction goals than blood pressure or glucose thresholds.

Show notes

1) Pharmacological blood pressure lowering for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease across different levels of blood pressure: an individual participant-level data meta-analysis

Lancet. 2021 May 1;397(10285):1625-1636.  

2) Decisions about antihypertensive treatment should focus on reducing cardiovascular risk

Lancet. 2021 May 1;397(10285):1598-1599

3) Sodium-glucose cotransporter protein-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists for type 2 diabetes: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

BMJ. 2021 Jan 13;372:m4573.  doi: 10.1136/bmj.m4573.

Episode 479: Cannabinoids – an update (not much) for chronic pain

In episode 479, Mike and James update the latest information around cannabinoids for chronic pain. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of new information but we talk about what there is and then try and put all the evidence into context and then how to think about the information we have.

Show notes

1) Allan GM, Finley CR, Ton J, Perry D, Ramji J, Crawford K, et al. Systematic review of systematic reviews for medical cannabinoids: Pain, nausea and vomiting, spasticity, and harms.

Can Fam Physician. 2018;64(2):e78-e94.

2) Mücke M, Phillips T, Radbruch L, Petzke F, Häuser W. Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Mar 7;3(3):CD012182.

3) Wong SSC, Chan WS, Cheung CW.  Analgesic Effects of Cannabinoids for Chronic Non-cancer Pain: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis with Meta-Regression.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2020 Dec;15(4):801-829

4) Johal H, Devji T, Chang Y, Simone J, Vannabouathong C, Bhandari M.  Cannabinoids in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2020 Feb 19;13:1179544120906461.

5) Fitzcharles MA, Baerwald C, Ablin J, Häuser W. Efficacy, tolerability and safety of cannabinoids in chronic pain associated with rheumatic diseases (fibromyalgia syndrome, back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis): a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

Schmerz. 2016;30(1):47–61.

Episode 477: Vaccine hesitancy in the office: What can I do?

In episode 477, James and Mike invite Jen Potter to the podcast for the first time to talk about the important topic of what to do around vaccine hesitancy. We find out the evidence suggests discussion should focus on the disease-prevention benefits for the individual rather than talking about misinformation around the harm or the benefits to society.

Show notes

Tools for Practice

Vaccine hesitancy in the office: What can I do?

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