Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives (Johns Hopkins Press

Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives (Johns Hopkins Press

Why medicine adopts ineffective or harmful medical practices only to abandon them―sometimes too late.

Medications such as Vioxx and procedures such as vertebroplasty for back pain are among the medical “advances” that turned out to be dangerous or useless. What Dr. Vinayak K. Prasad and Dr. Adam S. Cifu call medical reversal happens when doctors start using a medication, procedure, or diagnostic tool without a robust evidence base―and then stop using it when it is found not to help, or even to harm, patients.

In Ending Medical Reversal, Drs. Prasad and Cifu narrate fascinating stories from every corner of medicine to explore why medical reversals occur, how they are harmful, and what can be done to avoid them. They explore the difference between medical innovations that improve care and those that only appear to be promising. They also outline a comprehensive plan to reform medical education, research funding and protocols, and the process for approving new drugs that will ensure that more of what gets done in doctors’ offices and hospitals is truly effective.

“Every doctor should read this book.”

(JAMA Internal Medicine)

“[A]n excellent and realistic discussion of some of the horror stories that occur in medical practice… The examples are quite interesting and certainly educational for all readers. Highly recommended.”


Ending Medical Reversal goes far in teaching medical students and practicing physicians alike how to learn on our own.”

(The Lancet)

“This has to be on the reading list for medical and nursing students.”

(Nursing Times)

Ending Medical Reversal presents persuasive evidence that many current standard-of-care treatments are probably ineffective or harmful, thoroughly explains how such treatments came to be accepted, and proposes a number of ways to address the general problem (only some of which involve avaricious companies and mercenary physicians) and minimize its impact on a specific patient.”

(Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices)

“Dr. Prasad and Dr. Cifu offer a five-step plan, including pointers for determining if a given treatment is really able to do what you want it to do, and advice on finding a like-minded doctor who won’t object to a certain amount of back-seat driving.”

(The New York Times)

“When I describe Ending Medical Reversal as revolutionary, I don’t use the term lightly. Go out and read it―right now.”

(Common Sense Family Doctor)

“Should be considered for undergraduate reading lists. Keep a copy in the pharmacy or your briefcase as a great icebreaker or discussion point with other local healthcare professionals.”

(The Pharmaceutical Journal)

“An outstanding, genre-defining work, this book will be read by students, educators, policymakers, scientists, scholars, medical skeptics, and health-care pundits alike.”

(John Henning Schumann, MD, host of Public Radio Tulsa’s Medical Matters)

“An important book that frames medical reversal in a compelling way. Readers will be drawn to this clearly written account.”

(David S. Jones, MD, Harvard University, author of Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care)

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