BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e428 (Published 18 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e428

There’s a growing trend to prescribe oral steroids for patients who present with severe throat pain to emergency departments. A review of the literature on efficacy and safety identified six suitable trials. None of them was explicitly powered to detect clinically important adverse events and none showed a statistically significant reduction in pain scores at 24 hours. The reviewers say that the evidence is insufficient to endorse the routine use of steroids in this scenario (Irish Journal of Medical Science 2011;180:837-40, doi:10.1007/s11845-011-0719-z).

Poor diet is the behavioural risk factor with the highest impact on the budget of the UK’s National Health Service, followed by alcohol consumption, smoking, and physical inactivity. Ill health related to poor diet costs the NHS £5.8bn (€6.9bn; $8.9bn), while alcohol and smoking cost £3.3bn each, and physical inactivity £0.9bn. This study developed a well established method of estimation …

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