Prometa Tagged as Placebo

by The Discovering Alcoholic on February 24, 2008

There’s a good reason why “wonder drug” Prometa was not included in the Newsweek feature The War on Addiction, in fact it seems that Pierce County government has come to the same conclusion…

…what we have been doing is financing someone’s fantasy, someone’s major, major placebo. ~ Dick Muri, Pierce County Councilman

I think that we need more answers before spending tax payer money on what may be nothing more than false hope for people who deserve real solutions. ~ Shawn Bunney, Pierce County Councilman

I for one am glad the state of Washington canceled $500K to Pierce County effectively ending the Prometa program. I hoped that the treatment would prove out to be legitimate, but as you can see from the progression of my stories here, here, here, here, and here that I too believe this so called drug protocol is just a marketing scheme. Below is footage from a Pierce County council meeting in which funding was initially suspended. If you are impatient, the meat of the video is at 3:44 and then again at 7:20.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wade February 6, 2009 at 9:51 am

I would like to say there will always be one wonder drug or another on the market for addiction to one substance or another. However none of them will ever be terribly effective for a long term solution since medications can not deal with the underlying issues of the drug misuse in the first place. I am not arguing the usefulness of the different drugs such as methadone or Prometa for a short term, however I do not believe in replacement therapy as a long term solution. Deal with the issues as to why someone is misusing drugs or alcohol instead of just giving them more drugs.




2 JamezD March 19, 2008 at 5:33 pm

So, when our docs first went to Califonia to see patients treated with Prometa, their motive was to explore a new way to help address Hawaii’s meth epidemic. The focus was to learn as much as they could about Prometa’s mechanism of action and to assure themselves that they wouldn’t be putting patients at risk by prescribing it. That we did.

They did explain to me that Prometa was unfolding in an unconventional manner. I’ve since come to understand that because the drugs were already generic, the research wouldn’t be sponsored by a big pharma co. So in order to overcome that hurdle, the patent laws and the capital markets could serve the same effect, funding million of dollars in research, which they did. However, such studies can take 5-7 or more years to complete and with no other products “in the pipeline”, Hythiam didn’t have the luxury of waiting for all of the studies to be completed. In the intervening five years, the medications could be prescribed by physicians “off-label” while the studies were completed, replicated, and validated. Further, without an existing delivery channel, Hythiam needed to build one that could efficiently deliver treatment once the science was complete. Even more importantly, from a clinical standpoint, patients could be helped sooner rather than later.

Looking back now, we underestimated the degree, depth, and ferocity of the resistance at the local level. We have to laugh at our naivete in approaching the residential treatment centers and others in the community with news of a breakthrough treatment. We wrongly assumed that the severity of the problem would motivate them to give Prometa a fair look, or even an unfair look. We didn’t anticipate that they’d resist it based apparently on concerns of a threat to the status quo, even if that meant mayhem for the community. That laughter at ourselves descends pretty quickly into disappointment and discouragement at what this implies. We’re not conspiracy theorists, but we were clearly subjected to a well-orchestrated campaign to suppress Prometa locally and nationally.

We’ve heard every complaint in the book:

It’s not safe. Well, actually, it is safe…

It’s “placebo”. Well, actually, it isn’t placebo……

We don’t like the guy leading the co. that’s doing it.
Well, he may have been the only one with the vision, audacity, and ability to make this happen…

We still don’t like him. So, exactly what does that have to do with saving the lives of thos suffering from drug dependence?

As the several double-blind studies come to completion this year, the story is about to be told once and for all. It will then be irrefutable (cautious optimism). But, as somone in the middle of this story process, my only comment is that it shouldn’t be this hard.

Ultimately, the end result will have been worth every effort to move this forward. Even at that, however, what do we say to the families of the many individuals who could have been helped in the meantime? Sorry, they didn’t like us? I’m not looking forward to that conversation, because as many as we’ll save, and as many as we’ll help. there will always be those that we could have helped if we’d just done a better job of educating and convincing people to give it a chance. That rests on us.

This is a somewhat depressing story to tell, but then again, we didn’t sign up for a party. We signed up for a crusade. We just thought there’d be a few more allies along the path.

Truly, it shouldn’t have been this hard…

Thanks for the listen..

Aloha, jim


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: