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Introduction - How to Evaluate Claims of New Heart Failure Treatments and Cures

It may seem that every time you open a magazine, listen to the news, or search the Internet, you find out about a food, vitamin, mineral, or homeopathic medicine that can treat or cure an illness. You may have even read or heard about natural remedies (sometimes called complementary or alternative therapies) that claim to help heart failure. The problem is figuring out how to evaluate this information.

Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe. Even substances such as vitamins or nutritional supplements that are generally harmless may not be safe for someone with heart failure. These substances may interact with the medicines your doctor gives you. Most "natural" or herbal remedies and supplements have not been reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is the federal agency that evaluates prescription medicines for use in treating diseases. The FDA does not review and approve natural remedies and supplements. Many times these natural remedies are removed from the market only after many adverse events occur.

This module does not approve or disapprove of any particular natural remedy or approach to treating heart failure. Instead, it will provide you with tools you can use to evaluate information and claims about treatments for heart failure. While this module focuses specifically on natural remedies, you can also use the tools and techniques described to help evaluate information about other new therapies for heart failure including medicines and devices.

This module will provide information on:

  • Tools you can use to review claims about new treatments for heart failure.
  • How major scientific journals review articles before publication.
  • How the FDA evaluates heart failure therapies.
  • How to recognize a false claim.

It will help you:

  • Evaluate claims made about natural remedies for heart failure treatments.
  • Decide which information about heart failure treatments you may want to bring up with your doctor.

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