Sometimes medical research is so important that the normal time to publication is unethical. For this reason, the New England Journal of Medicine pre-released the results of a study that was not published until the September 7, 2000 issue. The story was about a new treatment for a common newborn heart problem, patent ductus arteriousus (PDA).
Previously, the only choices to treat this condition were surgery or indomethacin, a medicine that can cause grave kidney, GI, and brain side effects.
Now we know that ibuprofen (as in Motrin or Advil) can close the heart defect just as well as indomethacin, and is less much less likely to cause dangerous side effects. The study was so good that the standard treatment changed even before the article was published.
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