Evaluating Treatment Products, A Doctors' Perspective

Medical Author: Dennis Lee, MD
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD

Why do doctors recommend some health products or measures but not others?

Many of us are interested in taking steps to prevent diseases, stay healthy, and to preserve and improve our quality of life. But deciding what diets and nutritional products are best, and what medications to take is not easy. There are a bewildering number of nutritional products and medications that purportedly can prevent diseases and keep us healthy. While some of these products have proven safety and effectiveness, many have not been subjected to any scientific evaluation, and some are downright harmful. Increasingly, doctors are being asked to advise patients on how to prevent diseases. However, the medications and measures doctors recommend can be quite different from those recommended by nutritionists, chiropractors, complementary or alternative health providers, etc.. What is the reason for these differences? Why do doctors recommend some products but not others? How do doctors determine whether a product is good or bad? How good are doctors' recommendations? What are the doctors' weaknesses and limitations?