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"New drug combo to help infants breathe easier"

Ottawa Citizen

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Published: 13 May 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

OTTAWA - An Ottawa doctor has found a combination of drugs that could reduce the number of babies admitted to hospital for a common lung infection by 35 per cent.

In Canada, about 35 in 1,000 babies are hospitalized with bronchiolitis - an inflammation of the tiny airways in the lungs - each year, usually for two to four days. The costs to the medical system are considerable: $700 million in the United States, and at least $23 million at last report in Canada...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

In general, this was a good quality story on the use of a combination treatment for bronchiolitis in infants combining epinephrine (the adrenal hormone) and dexamethasone (the steroid). The main problem is the reliance on relative numbers- the article indicates that the combination therapy could "reduce the number of babies admitted to hospital for a common lung infection by 35 per cent." While that is a 35% improvement, it would be useful to know how many infants would require hospital admission in the first place. Furthermore, it would also be valuable to have more details on exactly why this drug combination proved to be 'truly significant' for families.

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