The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is part of the United States Government. It is FDA's job to make sure drugs and other medical treatments work and are safe.
When you're sick it isn't always easy to get well again. There are lots of medicines and other ways to treat health problems.
You may hear about some from a friend. Or you may see an ad on TV or in the paper. Or your doctor may recommend a treatment.
It's FDA's job to make sure the medicines and other treatments people buy are safe and really work. Most treatments you can buy have FDA's OK. But some don't.
Some are phony and are a waste of your money. Some can even make you sicker. Just because a product is advertised doesn't mean it can really do what the ad says it can.
A phony medicine may make you sicker.
Sometimes there are no treatments with FDA's OK that will help you. This is mainly true for very bad sicknesses like some cancers and AIDS, or with sicknesses that last a long time like arthritis. Then you might hear about a treatment that's still being tested.
There are many unproven treatments. Some you may have heard of are:
There are many unproven treatments. They may work or they may not work.
If you want to try an unproven treatment, do these things first:
The best way to try an unproven treatment is to get into a clinical trial. A clinical trial is an experiment to see if the treatment is safe and really works. Clinical trials must follow exact steps to protect patients. Your doctor may be able to help you find a clinical trial.
Before you try an unproven treatment talk to someone who knows about it.
How can you tell if a medicine or other treatment is phony? One way to tell is to look for certain tricks. People who sell phony health products often use tricks to gain your trust and get your money.
Watch out for ads that talk about:
Do you have questions about any kind of medical treatment? FDA may have an office near you. Look for their number in the blue pages of the phone book.
You can also contact FDA through its toll-free number, 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332).
Do you have questions about experimental medicine or clinical trials? Ask your doctor or write a letter to:
National Institutes of Health
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clearinghouse
P. O. Box 8218
Silver Spring, MD 20907-8218
Or call toll-free 1-888-644-6226