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Let’s Have A Look – FDA curbs unfounded memory supplement claims – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

Let’s Have a Look at this. How well do many of those pharmaceutical ‘miracle’ drugs they tout in advertisements work? Putting aside the long drawn out, often dangerous side-effects always recorded at the end of a commercial ad, in haste, in hopes your ears may miss a few, is it worth it to take this drug?

 

So this little question came to mind when I Googled the memory touting drug, Prevagen. To be honest, I looked it up out of curiosity because whenever I watch American news channel MSNBC (which I pay a premium to have), I can’t get over the same three or four themed advertisements that play over and over – pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, and more of it’s ilk. And the same ad for Prevagen comes on no matter when I watch that channel. But I digress, and after seeing that commercial numerous times I was curious about what exactly is in this ‘miracle’ drug? I mean, I know my short term memory sometimes plays tricks on me, so maybe I should take this?

As a person who does her damnest not to have to take pharmaceuticals, and thankfully, I don’t, except my compounded natural dessicated thryoid medication, my little meno-moments got me curious enough to look up – or try to look up, what is in this stuff? It led me to this page of Harvard University medical educators and contributors on various topics. Dr. Robert Shmerling, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, gave a great scientific explanation of the touting of Prevagen, it’s actual efficacy, and mentions the protocols the FDA takes before allowing a drug on the market, and the stipulations of wording that can be used by the advertisers.

 

Here are some of the points Dr. Shmerling makes:

“Like many heavily-advertised supplements, this one makes many claims. The bottle promises it “improves memory” and “supports: healthy brain function, sharper mind, clearer thinking.” Never mind that the main ingredient in jellyfish (apoaequorin) has no known role in human memory, or that many experts believe supplements like this would most likely be digested in the stomach and never wind up anywhere near the brain.”

“As “proof” of power, a bar graph shows a rise from 5% to 10% to 20% over 90 days in “recall tasks.” But there’s no way to know what these numbers refer to, how many people were studied, or other important details. And no information is provided about effects on memory after 90 days. The fine print under the graph says that the supplement “improved recall tasks in subjects” without explaining what this means. While a company-sponsored study reported improvements in memory after people took apoaequorin, the published version demonstrated minimal improvement (summarized here).”

“The US Federal Trade Commission wasn’t convinced of the supplement’s benefits. It charged the supplement maker with false advertising back in 2012. In the legal filings, the company was accused of selectively reporting data and misleading the public by claiming that Prevagen is “clinically proven” to improve cognitive function. The lawsuit has not yet been decided.”

You can read the full article, where it continues on about what claims pharma companies are legally allowed to make, and which claims are not allowed as disclaimers.

According to what I’ve read from the above articles, I am personally not convinced I’d want to take that drug. Interesting the wording permitted to use in advertisements leaves me feeling a bit duped, and without the long term benefits or side-effects, a lawsuit still pending on whether or not the efficacy has been proven for effectiveness and listening to claims in the ad how it’s ‘given them back their peace of mind’, I’m not convinced either.

If you’d care to share your thoughts on FDA issues with claims you don’t agree with from your own experience, please share your thoughts here with us. And if any of you readers here take Prevagen, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about.

 

Source: FDA curbs unfounded memory supplement claims – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

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