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Read Original Story

Salsalate May Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Rating

4 Star

Salsalate May Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Our Review Summary

This is the better of two articles we reviewed about a newly published study. It was quite balanced overall, although it misinterpreted the key result and would’ve benefited much from soliciting an outside expert’s opinion on the study.

 

Why This Matters

Despite a few shortcomings, this article has substantially more balance, critical analysis, and thoughtful framing than the HealthDay story we reviewed on this same study.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Costs are not discussed explicitly.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

This story makes the same misinterpretation of the key result as the other story on this topic we reviewed. It states that "The results showed those who took salsalate at each of the dosage levels experienced a beneficial decrease in blood sugar A1c levels of 0.5% or more." That makes it sound like the floor — that everyone in each salsalate group had no less than a 0.5% drop. As discussed in more detail in our review of the other article, that wasn’t the case.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

While harms were not quantified, we give the story the benefit of the doubt for discussing potential safety issues prominently in the study, including a very early mention of proteinuria and the need for more long-term safety data.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The article is up front about the preliminary nature of this evidence, and reminds us of it later. It also mentions that the study used 3 doses of salsalate and placebo, and that subjects continued their other diabetes therapies. The article gets special points for emphasizing the limitations of the study, which were also prominent in the journal’s summary for patients: a small study population, a short follow-up time.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

Not applicable because the story didn’t really give any detail about incidence or serousness of diabetes.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

No independent sources were used.

The investigators didn’t disclose any substantial conflicts of interest related to the study.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Applicable

While it didn’t compare the drug to existing alternatives, it really couldn’t because at present no head-to-head data exists about this drug compared to other antidiabetic therapies, just data comparing different doses to each other and placebo.

Comparing the drug’s bleeding risks to that of aspirin is not directly relevant to this criterion because aspirin is not currently used to treat hyperglycemia.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The article notes that salsalate is commonly used in arthritis but it’s not recommended yet for the treatment of diabetes.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The article describes salsalate as a salicylate derivative, like aspirin, that is often used to treat arthritis. It even mentions that there are reports of its use in people with diabetes over a century ago.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

The article does not appear to rely largely on the news release. Unlike the other article we reviewed, it contains several pieces of information not found in the news release.

Total Score: 5 of 8 Satisfactory

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