Sydney Pharmacy lecture: Six drug myths you probably believe

8 October 2014

Have you ever bought a pain reliever that targets specific pain such as headache or back pain? Can pain relievers really target a part of the body? Are natural medicines or supplements always better or safer than prescription drugs?

University of Sydney Pharmacy School
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Turns out, a lot of what we know about over-the-counter or prescription medicines isn’t true—and in a world where drugs have the capacity to heal or harm us, separating fact from fiction can be life-saving.
On Oct. 14, Sydney Pharmacy School Professor Andrew McLachlan, a pharmacist and noted researcher with a special interest in the appropriate use of medicines, will address several important and widely believed myths about medications. His 45-minute talk will cover the following:

  • Generic medicines don’t work as well as brand-name medicines
  • Pain relievers can target specific parts of the body
  • It’s safe because it’s natural
  • I feel better now, so I can stop taking my medicine
  • I’m taking a statin—I can eat what I like
  • Alcohol and prescription medications don’t ever mix

What is the origin of these myths, how do they become accepted wisdom, and what is the evidence that debunks these myths? Prof McLachlan, a highly engaging speaker, will be speaking about medication myths and will touch on history, popular lore, and science behind medication.
Andrew McLachlan is a Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney (based at Concord Hospital) and Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Medicines and Ageing. He is a pharmacist and academic who studies how drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolised and eliminated by the body, and uses the evidence to inform the quality use (i.e., safe and effective use) of medicines. Professor McLachlan has authored more than 185 research papers in peer-reviewed journals (including a recent study in The Lancet, demonstrating paracetamol does not work any better than placebo for acute back pain). He has attracted a career total of over $9.6 million in research funding, acted as a consultant to international universities, served on the editorial boards of international journals and been appointed to expert committees of the Commonwealth and State governments.

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