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Medicine fail: administered the wrong dose to the wrong group at the wrong time

Randall J. Bateman, director of the DIAN Therapeutic Trials Unit at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says it is far too soon to admit defeat. He notes that the history of medicine is replete with stories of drugs that were almost abandoned because they were initially studied in the wrong group or were administered in the wrong dose or at the wrong time in the course of a disease. Even penicillin was a failure at first. It was initially tested by dabbing it on skin infections, Bateman says. But the way the drug was applied to the infections and its low dose made it impossible for the drug to cure even an infection that would otherwise respond to it. Finally, when the drug was tested at the right dose in the right patients, it cured eye infections and also pneumonia in people who were certain to have died without it.

"Even something as effective as penicillin can fail unless it is administered properly," Bateman says. He predicts that in the future it will become clear that for Alzheimer's drugs to be effective, they would have to be given earlier.


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