A users' guide to understanding therapeutic substitutions
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Therapeutic substitutions are common at the level of ministries of health, clinicians, and pharmacy dispensaries. Guidance in determining whether drugs offer similar risk-benefit profiles is limited. Those making decisions on therapeutic substitutions should be aware of potential biases that make differentiating therapeutic agents difficult. Readers should consider whether the biological mechanisms and doses are similar across agents, whether the evidence is sufficiently valid across agents, and whether the safety and therapeutic effects of each drug are similar. This article uses a problem-based format to address the biological mechanism, validity, and results of a scenario in which therapeutic substitutions may be considered.
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