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Users' Guides to the Medical Literature:  IV. How to Use an Article About Harm

Mitchell Levine, MD, MSc; Stephen Walter, PhD; Hui Lee, MD, MSc; Ted Haines, MD, MSc; Anne Holbrook, MD, PharmD, MSc; Virginia Moyer, MD, MPH; Gordon Guyatt, MD, MSc; Eric Bass, MD, MPH; George Browman, MD, MSc; Deborah Cook, MD, MSc; Michael Farkouh, MD; Hertzel Gerstein, MD, MSc; Brian Haynes, MD, MSc, PhD; Robert Hayward, MD, MPH; Roman Jaeschke, MD, MSc; Elizabeth Juniper, MCSP, MSc; Andreas Laupacis, MD, MSc; David Naylor, MD, DPhi; Jim Nishikawa, MD; Andrew Oxman, MD, MSc, FACPM; Ameen Patel, MD; John Philbrick, MD; Scott Richardson, MD; Stephane Sauve, MD, MSc; David Sackett, MD, MSc; Jack Sinclair, MD; Brian Strom, MD, MPH; K S, Trout, FRCE; Sean Tunis, MD, MSc; John Williams Jr, MD, MHS; Mark Wilson, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1994;271(20):1615-1619. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510440075037.
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CLINICAL SCENARIO  You are having lunch in the hospital cafeteria when one of your colleagues raises the issue of the safety of β-adrenergic agonists in the treatment of asthma. Your colleague feels uncertain about how to respond to patients asking him about media reports of an increased risk of death associated with these medications. Another colleague mentions a key article on this topic that generated much of the publicity, but she cannot recall the details. You all agree that this is an issue that arises frequently enough in your practices that you should become familiar with the evidence contained in the article that your patients have heard about. You volunteer to search the literature for the key article and report back to your colleagues in the next few days.

THE SEARCH  The next day you do a MEDLINE search using the following terms: asthma (MH) (MH stands for MeSH heading,

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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