Are Your Patients Trying Questionable Medicine?

September 05, 2018

Potentially one of the most exasperating trends in contemporary healthcare is the proliferation of clinics that provide unproven, and sometimes unsafe, treatments. Some of these establishments offer just a few sketchy "cures," while others offer the complete buffet of nonsense. 

Among the more nefarious offshoots of the quack medicine fad are the various companies that say they can manage patients' cancer outside of the normal armamentarium of scientifically based options. Many espouse vague notions that cancer is caused by contamination of the body and can thereby be defeated through extensive "detoxification" protocols involving dietary restrictions, supplements, and enemas.

Perhaps the most well-known instances of this charlatan phenomenon are the so-called Gerson Therapy and Gonzalez Protocol, both of which combine a specialized diet alongside experimental regimens of naturally occurring but still dangerous products, such as corrosive black salve ointments for breast and skin cancers.

Then there are the clinics offering therapies based on a grain of truth. The opioid-alternative ketamine, for example, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use as an anesthetic; some studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in the research setting for treatment-resistant depression. Yet off-label ketamine infusion therapy centers have proliferated throughout the country, completely unchecked by any regulatory or legislative oversight. They promote unapproved transfusions as a cure-all, with little risk, for myriad conditions but offer scant science or clinical testing to back up their claims.

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