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Decisive advances for patients: achieved over time

Therapeutic advances both great and small, for many patients or for just a few, have accumulated over the past several decades. In a special summer edition, the French non-profit journal Prescrire sums up the "Therapeutic advances that benefit patients".

Every year in its January issue, the French journal Prescrire draws up an annual review of what has improved for patients: treatments offering greater efficacy, fewer known adverse effects to be monitored or prevented, better-designed packaging.

In its August 2015 edition, Prescrire outlines a few examples of major therapeutic advances that are emblematic of the progress achieved over the past 20 years.

Some are obvious, such as progress in treating HIV and hepatitis C.

For patients with cancer, in addition to many advances that have turned out to be illusory, some genuine advances have also been recorded. These often apply only to limited sub-groups of patients.

Advances in treating rare diseases also affect only a few patients, but for these patients the benefit is huge.

In other domains attracting less attention, more "discreet" progress has benefited certain patients. This is the case, for example, for improved drug packaging that prevents accidental ingestion by children, or for drugs that have been around for a long while but whose clinical interest has become clearer over time.

In reality, therapeutic advances, large and small, are numerous when the data are analysed with a focus on the benefit to patients.

©Prescrire 1 August 2015

"Des progrès décisifs au profit des patients" Rev Prescrire 2015; 35 (382). View the table of contents (Free, in French)

View the table of contents of
the special issue of French
medical journal Prescrire
Free (in French)

See also:

New drugs and
indications in 2014
Prescrire Int 2015;
24 (159): 107-110.
Pdf, free