This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

The docbot will see you now

Carm

  • ‘A complete personality change’ - managing bipolar disorder

    Carm's comment 17 Jun 2018 11:00pm

    I would like know if the threshold for diagnosing bipolar disorder is much less than that of what we used to call manic depression? I haven't seen anyone with hypomania in 30 years as a GP but patients are always coming in telling me they are a "bit bipolar". If the conditions are the same the threshold is definitely lower.

  • Sorry but the drugs do work

    Carm's comment 16 Jun 2018 9:36am

    The trend to ditch drugs hasn't reached North Wales. I wish it would.

  • Antidepressants more effective than placebo for acute depression, study finds

    Carm's comment 26 Feb 2018 6:44pm

    As far as I am aware this is the 2nd met-analysis done in this area. The first one by Irving Kirsch - try Wikipedia, said no better than placebo. So now we have 2 bits of research to go on. Take note of the words "acute" Short term" and "major". These words do not apply to 90% + of my depressed workload which consists of chronic low grade depression and dependency on long term medication. Unfortunately the simple message now to the public and doctors is that these medication "work" . It is much more complex than that. They also stated that they excluded patients with "resistant" depression. I assume that means they excluded those patients where medication failed - bizarre!
    There is no evidence that serotonin affects mood - it is a theory. There is no evidence that SSRI actually raise serotonin levels in the brain!

  • NHS could claim half a billion pounds back, if Pfizer pregabalin appeal fails

    Carm's comment 26 Feb 2018 6:33pm

    Nearly useless drug. Most chronic pain patients say it "takes the edge off" the pain. When I tell them the cost of "the edge" they look a little sheepish!

  • What to do if you suspect a patient of abusing a gabapentinoid

    Carm's comment 20 Oct 2017 10:24pm

    Useless drugs. Should never be started in my opinion. Never seem to make much difference apart from initial placebo response. The "take the edge off the pain doc".

  • We need to stop prescribing antidepressants in primary care

    Carm's comment 23 May 2017 7:03pm

    By the way. If you are puzzled as to how medicine has got into such a mess with antidepressants read Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre and you will understand how this has come about it is mass manipulation of the Medical Profession and patients.

  • We need to stop prescribing antidepressants in primary care

    Carm's comment 23 May 2017 6:59pm

    Brilliant. I've made several posts on Pulse articles on this subject. You are not being courageous in writing this article however. The science backs you up. Google Irving Kirch's meta analysis. There is no evidence that these drugs work. Not surprising really as there is also no evidence that serotonin plays a role in depression it is just a theory. I am fed up of seeing patients who have been on and off these drugs over many years and they are still depressed. They get the initial Placebo response of course which is satisfying for them and satisfying for the doctor so we continue to prescribe as we are always better at remembering our successes than perhaps our failures with antidepressants. Worse than that I have also read that there is no evidence that these drugs actually increase serotonin levels in any case. It really is laughable if it wasn't so serious. It's a scandal that people are prescribed these drugs in such vast quantities and also the waste of Primary Care time in prescribing and monitoring their effect or lack of.

  • DH 'blacklist' required to enable GPs to curb OTC prescribing, says GPC lead

    Carm's comment 23 Apr 2017 6:56pm

    SSRI s anyone? No evidence. It's just that we are too frightened to admit that we actually don't have a drug that works for this condition

  • We must be forced to care for ourselves

    Carm's comment 31 Mar 2017 9:14pm

    Great blog. Yes the hours in the 80 s were much longer but the teamwork got you through. Doctors mess own room on site and close by off duty pub.

  • DH: Banning gluten-free food scripts 'will save £10m' worth of GP appointments

    Carm's comment 31 Mar 2017 9:04pm

    SSRI s should be next.

  • NHS England considers ban on 'low value' and over-the-counter prescriptions

    Carm's comment 31 Mar 2017 9:01pm

    The SSRI s should be next.

  • GPs, it is time to face the elephant in the room

    Carm's comment 15 Feb 2017 12:53pm

    The elephant in the room is the fact that a lot of what we traditionally do has no evidence to back it up. We need daytime triage. Not as tough as the out of hours. It's ridiculous to have a system wherby patients with trivial symptoms are able to see a health care professional as easily as someone with serious symptoms. Out of hours care is now rationed and is safe. We need the same in the day.

  • NNTs for common conditions

    Carm's comment 07 Jan 2017 7:24pm

    Dear jobbingdoc. please don't interpret this chart as meaning antidepressants work. Google Irving Kirsch's met-analysis. No better than placebo. No evidence for the roll of serotonin in depression in the first place - it's just an hypothesis. We have been brainwashed along with the public for decades to believe that these drugs work (better than placebo that is) My local psychiatrist told me the don't work. They are a waste of money and resources and it's a scandal that patients see their issues as serotonin deficiency which means they become to rely on them every time life gets tough. How many consultations are wasted tinkering with patient's serotonin levels? There isn't even any evidence that they actually alter the levels in the first place. As for any trial evidence - go to alltrials.net and you'll see how poor the evidence is that us poor souls have to make decisions. As for the chart - excellent - when you explain to patients that so few patients benefit from so many of our drugs they often decline to take them.

  • 40 treatments to avoid? More like 40 ways to raise my blood pressure

    Carm's comment 06 Nov 2016 11:09am

    I audited one week's worth of surgery consultations. It would have made no difference to the patient whether they had sought medical advice or not in 48% of the cases. That's not to say they should not have consulted. I wasn't being tough either. Any consultation where I did anything at all (apart from simple reassurance) including defensive antibiotic prescribing for probably viral cough was deemed necessary in my audit. A lot of what we do is traditional cuddly stuff which patients love - the problem is they don't love the system when they want to see us with serious symptoms and find it difficult to do so and those patients potentially have worse outcomes. We should not put up with a system were a sore throat for half a day gets to see us as easily as an elderly patient with weight loss and bowel symptoms. My little audit suggests that nearly half of our time is wasted/used badly. The mainstream media this week reported that it was 20% - not that far off really as the criteria for making such a statement could differ wildly.

    We simply don't have time for the cuddly stuff if we have not got time for the serious stuff.

  • Two years into general practice, I feel like I know less than ever

    Carm's comment 16 Oct 2016 8:00pm

    Brilliant. Never heard of imposter syndrome. Now I know how to explain an experienced consultation to my medical student!

  • When screening becomes a bum deal

    Carm's comment 09 Oct 2016 8:20am

    Great! Can you look at the benefits of antidepressants copd drugs tight diabetic control with new expensive drugs and mild hypertension? I'm sure the evidence in these areas is patchy too! Questioning the effectiveness of our input in these areas is always met with scorn too.

  • GPs and patients 'misled on statin harms' claim top researchers

    Carm's comment 09 Sep 2016 9:11am

    Just release all the data!

  • If I go down, the NHS goes with me

    Carm's comment 31 Aug 2016 10:07am

    Agree totally. But the biggest issue is how do we stop seeing patients like this. I audited a week's worth of contacts. If you discount reassurance at least 50% of the patients were unaffected in terms of their outcome by seeing a doctor. Why would a taxpayer want to throw more money as a system like this? The money needs to be given to treatments where there are hard outcomes such as cataracts and hip replacements and cancer treatments. Granted we are very efficient but we are efficient at doing stuff that often doesn't matter.

  • What I learned about chronic fatigue syndrome from my research project

    Carm's comment 30 Aug 2016 10:11am

    I try not to diagnose ME. I think the label has a negative impact on the patient as there is little if any treatment to access. I prefer to tell patients that all the tests are negative and with a bit of luck they should recover soon. The diagnosis of a chronic long term condition should not be inflicted on a patient without some firm evidence for the existence of the condition in the first place. With all the advanced diagnostic tools we have at our disposal these days as every year passes the the existence of diseases like this becomes more and more unlikely. We can't diagnose everything and where we can't it's best to say so - not to come up with a totally unhelpful label. I have never created/diagnosed a patient with CFS but I have seen lots of patients diagnosed by others and have not been helped. You only have to look at the long list of supposed treatments to realise we do not know what we are doing. If your car breaks down and the mechanic suggests 10 completely different solutions you would probably assume that the mechanic did not know for sure what was wrong with the car.

  • Risk tool could help GPs pick up thousands more with hypertension

    Carm's comment 25 Jul 2016 7:36pm

    No time for more hypertension. Someone needs to develop a list of priority illnesses that we should be treating as GPS because the reality is we don't have enough time to treat everything.