A few weeks ago (September 2013) the BMJ updated their patient information for neck pain and I quote “There isn’t much specific research that shows drugs help neck pain, but your doctor may recommend one or more of the following” and then they list painkillers (acetaminophen), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants and muscle relaxants. Well, guess what, there was NO mention of LLLT.
Of course I wrote to the BMJ, pointing out there are at least 17 RCTs for LLLT on neck pain and a systematic review in the Lancet and added “What kind of a review did your team do that missed LLLT and yet suggests drug therapies that lack evidence?” and the reply was “The patient leaflets are written from reviews of the evidence on treatments compiled by our scientific and clinical teams for the Best Practice and Clinical Evidence products. The treatments to be included are decided upon with advice from clinical experts in the field. I will forward your message to the teams involved in deciding the scope of the Clinical Evidence and Best Practice topics linked to the neck pain patient leaflet, so that they can consider your comments when they next review the scope of the topic”
Should I respond and what should I say?
I am a fan of the BMJ. They are not usually a slave to the pharma industry and they are not afraid to confront them or any blinkered “business as usual” physicians so I fully expect LLLT to be in next years guidlines (I shall make sure of it). That is my upbeat comment for this month.