Lebensrettende Killer-Medikamente

LONDON – Die schädlichen Nebenwirkungen von Medikamenten sind weltweit Thema in den Schlagzeilen. Schließlich lassen sich Horrorgeschichten über „Killer-Medikamente“ gut verkaufen. Aber obwohl gesundheitsschädigende Wirkungen von Medikamenten berechtigten Anlass zu Sorge bieten, stellen sie nicht unbedingt ein ernsthaftes Problem der öffentlichen Gesundheit dar, vorausgesetzt, der Nutzen dieser Arzneimittel wiegt deren Nebenwirkungen auf.  

Medikamente mit erheblich nachteiligen Sicherheitsprofilen werden zur Behandlung potenziell tödlicher Erkrankungen eingesetzt – wie etwa bei verschiedenen Formen von Krebs, entzündlicher Arthritis und HIV – weil sie im Endeffekt mehr nützen als schaden. Anstatt die Sicherheit eines Medikaments isoliert zu betrachten, sind seine Nebenwirkungen im Verhältnis zu seiner Wirksamkeit zu bewerten. Mit anderen Worten: Es muss eine Nutzen-Risiko-Bilanz erstellt werden.

Allerdings erweist es sich als schwierig, der Öffentlichkeit diese Botschaft zu vermitteln. Erfolgreiche medikamentöse Behandlungen und Krankheitsvorbeugung können sich der Aufmerksamkeit der Leser oder Wähler durchaus entziehen. Überdies ist die Sicherheit von Medikamenten ein entscheidendes Kriterium bei der Zulassung von Arzneimitteln.  

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