DRUG WARNINGS SHOULD INCLUDE NUMBERS IN ADDITION TO VAGUE WORDS—CIPRO. I have posted a number of times about how probabilities expressed in numbers should be preferred to vague words in weather forecasts (here), in rating of bonds by rating agencies (see here), and in CIA intelligence estimates (here).
This warning from the FDA about Cipro and Levaquin and related drugs does not contain any numbers, and has no link to any numbers. Cipro is a powerful drug. Mary Jane has had trouble dealing with its side effects. On the other hand, Cipro apparently was crucial for dealing with Annalisa’s kidney infection, which was damaging her kidney.
The FDA says: “The serious side effects associated with fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs generally outweigh the benefits for patients with acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections who have other treatment options.” There is no mention of the probability of adverse side effects, no mention of what studies lead to the FDA’s conclusion, no mention of how the benefit cost analysis has been done, and no mention of how much dosage constitutes “systematic use”. In short, there is no practical guidance for a patient.