Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, February 4, 2003

February 03, 2003

Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. The following highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656, or 215-351-2656.

Ephedra Much Riskier Than Other Herbs and Should Be Banned, Experts Say
A new study examining a poison control database found that products containing the herb ephedra were much more likely to cause negative side effects than any other herbs. The study is posted on, the web site of Annals of Internal Medicine, today and will appear in the March 18 print issue of the journal. The authors conclude that because of the increased risk for adverse reactions, sale of ephedra as a dietary supplement should be restricted or banned.

Period at Home After Hospital Discharge Dangerous for Patients, Study Finds
One in five patients discharged from the general medical service of an academic hospital had an adverse event after they went home, a study of 400 discharged patients found (Article, p. 161). The authors say, "Adverse events occurred often, adverse drug events accounted for most nonsurgical adverse events, (and) many adverse events were preventable." They also identified ways to improve the care of patients in the period immediately after discharge from the hospital.

Task Force Says There's Insufficient Evidence to Screen Adults for Diabetes
(Clinical Guidelines, p. 212 and p. 215.)

Medical Groups Urged to Take Neutral Positions on Physician-Assisted Suicide
Medical organizations that take a position against physician-assisted suicide have a responsibility to justify their stand by describing reasonable alternative actions for physicians to help patients who are experiencing intractable suffering (Perspective, p. 208).

Annals Supplement: Future of Primary Care
Six Articles, Two Editorials Explore Primary Medicine at a Crossroads

American College of Physicians

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