Friday, October 18, 2013

Structured Exercise as Preventive Medicine

How well does exercise compare to prescription medications on decreasing mortality? 

Here is a study comparing prescription medications versus structured exercise.  The authors included 16 (four exercise and 12 drug) meta-analyses in the comparison. No statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes. 

Physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment among patients with stroke (odds ratios, exercise v anticoagulants 0.09, 95% credible intervals 0.01 to 0.70 and exercise v antiplatelets 0.10, 0.01 to 0.62). Diuretics were more effective than exercise in heart failure (exercise v diuretics 4.11, 1.17 to 24.76). 

Of note, none of the studies reported harm from exercise.

The clinical significance? Exercise should be considered as an alternative or adjunct to prescription medications to reduce morbidity and mortality.

Take your 'exercise pill.'

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