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Why do I bring this up? Simple. Because it goes to the very heart of the different philosophies of healing. As I've already shown you, the medical community believes they are changing physiology through the use of drugs, even though I've also shown you very clearly they are not. The fact is, there is a gap between these two opposing philosophies that is almost as large as THE CHASM between medical research and medical practice. While not all scientists are atheists, and not all non-scientists are religious (by "religious" I mean anyone who believes in a higher power, whatever they believe that power to be) there is a foundational principle here. It boils down to the age-old DEBATE BETWEEN VITALISTS AND MECHANISTS.
You can read the arguments by clicking the link, but realize that these two groups treat their sick very differently. For instance, vitalists realize that while there is certainly a time and a place for Western medicine, they also understand the symbiotic relationship between health and disease. For a better idea of what I mean by this odd statement, HERE is a great example. But one of my favorite examples of how a vitalist would treat different than a mechanist has to do with Diabetes.
Thanks in part to the ridiculously addictive nature of processed carbs and sugar (HERE), not only is diabetes running rampant in America, so is pre-diabetes (HERE and HERE). What is America's medial machine (a machine that could now best be described as "corporate") doing about this? Instead of educating patients about diet and lifestyle (HERE), they are trying to induce homeostasis via prescribing a group of drugs that has been proven time and time again to be largely ineffective at doing anything other than lowering blood sugar (they do not significantly diminish morbidity or mortality --- HERE and HERE). Yet another example of the medical community getting to PICK AND CHOOSE the "EVIDENCE" they like, while discarding what they don't.
If you are interested in seeing the bigger picture as far as restoring homeostasis and returning to health are concerned, HERE it is.
WHICH ONE WORKS BEST?
"A central finding in this meta-analysis was that despite more than 300 available clinical trials involving nearly 120,000 adults and 1.4 million patient-months of treatment, there was limited evidence that any glucose-lowering drug prolonged life expectancy or prevented cardiovascular disease. There were no significant differences in associations between any drug class as monotherapy, dual therapy, or triple therapy with odds of cardiovascular or all-cause mortality."
Did you catch that? Read it again until the sheer magnitude of what the authors are saying hits you in the chest like a runaway train. Stop for a moment and think about this. Not a single one of these drugs help you live longer. And the kicker is that they don't even help to prevent the problems classically associated with Diabetes such as HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HEART DISEASE, HEART ATTACK, or stroke. Are you joking me? Why else would America's DIABETIC OR PRE-DIABETIC POPULATION take the stuff? Could it be that they have been a pawn in one of America's all-time great con jobs? According to a commenter on a related article from MedPage Today (Do Dieu Que MD,visiting professor from Vietnam's Dong A University), this would seem to be the case. "Among diabetes drugs, which one is produced by what company, the company concluded that it's good."
In other words, about the only thing you can trust the drug companies to do is to claim their product works. Even when it doesn't. But hey; it's the nature of the garbage the government has foisted on us and dressed up with a clever, oxymoronic name; EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE. The authors went on to say that the only drug that showed benefit for diabetics was Metformin --- and it's none too wonderful (HERE). "Metformin was associated with lower or no significant difference in HbA1C levels compared with any other drug classes." Wasn't great, but at least it was better than placebo. None of this should come as a shock if you follow my blog on a regular basis.
Back in 2014, I wrote a post about John Fauber's amazing investigative piece from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (The Slippery Slope: A Bittersweet Diabetes Economy). In it he talked about the 30 Diabetes drugs that had been approved by the FDA to lower BLOOD SUGAR over the course of the previous decade. "From 2004 to 2013, none of the 30 new diabetes drugs that came on the market were proven to improve key outcomes, such as reducing heart attacks or strokes, blindness, or other complications of the disease." In other words, Diabetes drugs are much like STATINS. Although statin drugs certainly lower cholesterol, once you start looking at absolute risk -vs- relative risk, you realize that the emperor has no clothes. We have seen repeatedly that contrary to popular belief, Statins do little or nothing to lower your chances of heart attack or stroke ---- which is the only conceivable reason you would take them, considering their severe side-effect profile (HERE) --- a profile we already know is GROSSLY UNDER-REPORTED.
If you are truly interested in getting healthy, getting rid of the pain, losing the weight, getting off the drugs, and avoiding the surgeries that are almost surely on the horizon, there is something you really need to read. I have created a GENERIC PROTOCOL that will help the majority of you take your life back. It works quickly and is completely free, costing you little or nothing to implement. What could be better? Basically, I am giving you a GOLD BRICK. Reach out, take it, and change your life in the process!
SCIENCE DOESN'T KNOW HOW NUMEROUS POPULAR DRUGS WORK, AND IT'S PROBABLY AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH
"More than 150 million people around the world take the antidiabetic drug metformin each year. Despite its widespread use, the drug's mechanism of action is poorly understood and controversial." From a 2014 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Antidiabetic Drug Metformin Suppresses Gluconeogenesis)
"Antidepressants are widely prescribed in the treatment of depression, although the mechanism of how they exert their therapeutic effects is poorly understood." From the March 2004 issue of Brain Research (Mechanisms of Action of the Antidepressants Fluoxetine......)
"Diprivan Injectable Emulsion is an intravenous sedative-hypnotic agent for use in the induction and maintenance of anesthesia or sedation. As with other rapidly acting intravenous anesthetic agents, the mechanism of action, like all general anesthetics, is poorly understood." From the Rx List's header for Diprivan
"Beyond this, its relatively low efficacy, high risk of side effects (especially when taken with alcohol) and lack of knowledge about how it works has given some experts pause. For women who are trying to decide whether the benefits will outweigh the risks, they’ll certainly have their work cut out for them, as they sift through the hype to get to the science. Sprout and its fans are celebrating a drug with low efficacy, significant side effects, and a poorly understood mechanism of action." From an August 2015 issue of Forbes (Why Libido Drug Addyi Is Not The 'Female Viagra')
"Malaria is a major health burden in tropical and subtropical countries. The antimalarial drug primaquine is extremely useful for killing the transmissible gametocyte forms of Plasmodium falciparum and the hepatic quiescent forms of P. vivax. Yet its mechanism of action is still poorly understood." From April's issue of Redox Biology (The Antimalarial Drug Primaquine......)
"Combination chemotherapies have been a mainstay in the treatment of disseminated malignancies for almost 60 years, yet even successful regimens fail to cure many patients. Although their single-drug components are well studied, the mechanisms by which drugs work together in clinical combination regimens are poorly understood." From the January 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Defining Principles of Combination Drug Mechanisms of Action)
"Diuretics are drugs that increase the rate of urine flow. There are several classes of diuretic drugs. These agents are used in the management of edema and hypertension. Thiazide diuretics.... cause Ca2+ excretion to be decreased via a poorly understood mechanism." From the online syllabus for Dr. Piascik's advanced pharmacology class at the University of Kentucky (The Pharmacology of Diuretic Drugs)
"Pyrazinamide is an important sterilizing drug that shortens tuberculosis (TB) therapy. However, the mechanism of action of pyrazinamide is poorly understood." From a 2003 issue of the Journal of Antimicrobial Therapy
"How confident are you that the drugs you take, whether they're over-the-counter or prescription, are totally understood by the companies who make them? After all; drug makers know what their products do when they enter your body, right? You shouldn't assume that. Today we are going to talk about everything from Tylenol to fen-phen to Viagra and why you should probably think hard before you take any drug at all." Luke Timmerman and Meg Tirrell from STAT's daily podcast, Signal (Before You Pop that Tylenol, Tune in to this Podcast) --- the article we are discussing today
"Not understanding a drug's mechanism of action sets the table for a vast array of side effects." Dr. Russell Schierling
I receive several different daily medical news publications in my inbox. My two favorite are MedPage Today and STAT. Make no mistake about it, both are medical publications, meaning they routinely pick on alternative medicine, while spending their time, energies, and money (think advertising dollars here) extolling the virtues of drugs, surgeries, and tests. So when I saw the title of STAT's recent podcast, I had to have a listen.
Timmerman & Tirrell start out by talking about ACETAMINOPHEN (Tylenol), revealing that even though it has been around for over six decades, no one really knows how it works. We shouldn't be surprised that John Q Public has no idea how it works, but the real surprise is that no one --- including the drug companies themselves ---- knows what its mechanism of action is. Furthermore, the authors went on to say that this is not an uncommon phenomenon --- not surprising after looking at the quotes above. In fact, they described the mechanisms of many of the drugs we use as, "mysterious and unpredictable". Probably why Tylenol no longer uses their old slogan, 'Nothing Safer'. None of this is new information.
"A jury found Tylenol to be a cause of 5-year-old Lacy Keele's death, but it let Tylenol’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, off because her parents were adequately informed of the risks. Risks with Tylenol? The product’s advertising slogan, after all, was: “Nothing’s safer.” In the eight years since Lacy died, there have been hundreds of fatalities and serious liver injuries attributed to acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. J&J has paid out millions of dollars in legal settlements. A handful of these cases have drawn coverage in newspaper and television stories. The word is beginning to get out that, safe though it is in proper doses, Tylenol can be very dangerous indeed in doses not much greater." From Thomas Easton's piece in Forbes (Johnson & Johnson's Dirty Little Secret) written almost two decades ago (Jan of 1998).
Part of the problem is that as I have shown you repeatedly (including just THE OTHER DAY), drug reactions are absurdly under-reported. In fact, Underreporting has become such a huge problem, that it has actually become it's own entity known as (drum roll please) UNDERREPORTING. But this is far from the only reason that drugs aren't as safe as we've been led to believe. Another reason is that people are just plain different, not only from each other, but from lab animals and test tubes. Listen to what T&T said on their podcast (I am loosely quoting here)..... "The sheer unpredictability of biology is the reason so many drugs fail.... The fact is, we don't know how drugs are going to react in the body until we give them to lots of people."
But 60 years? Think about the sheer numbers of people who have taken Acetaminophen in that time period, not realizing what it's doing to them. In the words of the Fox Football crew, "C'mon Man". What does all this really mean for you, the consumer? Plain and simple; you are the GUINEA PIG. Some of the reasons the authors give for this are some of the same things I talk about regularly on my site --- GENETICS, MICROBIOME, DIET, etc, etc. Viagra was an example they used of this sort of 'guinea pigging'.
When Viagra was being developed as a vasodilator (blood vessel opener) for people with congestive heart failure back in the early-mid 1990's, the animal studies were so poor that, "it almost did not make it to human trials". But make it it did, and when researchers found out it caused raging erections in the college-aged males who volunteered (they were paid) to test the drug for short-term side-effects, the company got a proverbial "erection" of its own. Interestingly, it seems that accidents are the norm in this arena --- probably why the podcast said, "There's still a huge amount of luck at work in drug discovery." The example I always tend to think of when discussing this all-too-common phenomenon is Rogaine (Minoxidil); a drug that was originally developed to treat ULCERS back in the 1950's.
Later on (in the 1970's), it was used to treat high blood pressure. The doctors who worked on it for this purpose "discovered" that this new BP DRUG had the ability to grow hair (HERE) in a certain percentage of the population. Oh; and by the way, if you read Wikipedia's entry on the stuff, it says "The mechanism by which minoxidil promotes hair growth is not fully understood." When mechanisms are not understood, according to the authors you are much more likely to end up with drugs like, "Thalidomide, Fen-Phen, or Vioxx". Another drug they mentioned by name was Enbrel.
Enbrel is a drug given to suppress one of the markers of inflammation called Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha or TNF-α. When Enbrel first hit the market, it was considered a wonder drug. According to the authors, the side-effect profile was "pristine". But as time went on, increasing numbers of serious problems came to light (a common theme in this podcast).
INFLAMMATION is a vital and necessary part of the healing process. Certain things, however, cause it to climb to exceedingly high levels. This is commonly seen in RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, as well as other AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES. However, suppressing TNF-α carries it's own set of side-effects --- one of the chief being CANCER. If your body can't kill (necrosis) mutating cells that can become cancer, they tend to become just that. Thus, it's not surprising that Enbrel's side effect profile has gone from "pristine" to something VERY DIFFERENT.
WHAT DOES FDA APPROVAL OF A DRUG REALLY MEAN?
The first thing you have to understand is that just like other governmental regulatory agencies, the FDA is prone to all sorts of bribery and cannot be trusted (HERE and HERE). Related to this is the fact that the drug companies are doing their own research (i.e. the fox is guarding the hen house). This is how debacles like THIS and THIS can occur. If you want a picture of how corrupt this system is from top to bottom, simply take a moment and browse the titles of THESE POSTS.
The authors go on to say that, "The evidence evolves over time. It happens with a lot of drugs. We could sit here listing them all night. Lab models are inherently flawed. A Petri dish is not the same as a cell in a live human being." What might this sort of "evolution" lead to? It often leads to drugs being taken off the market years, or even decades, after they were released to the public. But just as often, dangerous drugs are never removed from the public.
The authors mentioned that some drugs are almost impossible to pull off the market or even have their safety label changed. In similar fashion to the way certain substances were approved for human use decades ago (think MSG under GRAS --- Generally Regarded As Safe, or MERCURY / ALUMINUM IN VACCINES), doing much of anything about drugs like Acetaminophen is all but impossible. Ultimately, this means that you cannot trust the drug companies --- or the government --- to to look after your best interests as far as your health is concerned (or anything else for that matter). They are too busy figuring out new ways to fleece and control you.
ANOTHER WAY YOU ARE BEING CONNED CONCERNING YOUR MEDICATIONS
ABSOLUTE RISK -vs- RELATIVE RISK
In the shell game, three or more identical containers are placed face-down on a surface. A small ball is placed beneath one of these containers so that it cannot be seen, and they are then shuffled by the operator in plain view. One or more players are invited to bet on which container holds the ball – typically, the operator offers to double the player's stake if they guess correctly. The shell game is notorious for its use by confidence tricksters who will typically rig the game using sleight of hand to move or hide the ball during play and replace it as required.
Shades of the 'Shell Game' can be seen in Sharon Begley's fantastic June 15th article in STAT called What are the Odds that your Medication will Help you get Better? I've frequently written about the difference between absolute risk and relative risk. If you want to understand this concept better, which will help you understand the potential risks of certain medications, as well as how effective (or ineffective) they might be, you need to read Begley's article.
One of the things she spends ample time on is the concept of NNT (Number Needed to Treat). This is the number of people who will have to take a particular medication in order to see a benefit. Begley says (cherry-picked).....
"An NNT of 5 or less was probably associated with a meaningful health benefit, while an NNT of 15 or more was quite certain to be associated with at most a small net health benefit. Yet interventions with NNTs above 15 are common. Statins, which have become synonymous with heart-attack-and-stroke-preventing have an NNT of 104 for heart attack and 154 for stroke: That’s how many healthy people have to take statins for five years for those respective outcomes to be prevented. The NNT for aspirin to prevent cardiovascular calamities is even higher. A whopping 1,667 healthy people need to take aspirin every day for a year to prevent one stroke or heart attack."
Again, none of this is new information. If you follow my STATIN POSTS or what I've written about ASPIRIN, you have seen this any number of times --- a nightmare once you understand the magnitude and seriousness of side effects and their GROSS UNDERREPORTING. If you are curious about the difference in relative risk and absolute risk for drugs that you or your family are taking, you can take a look at THE NNT SITE. The more you learn about "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE", the easier it is to recognize BIG PHARMA'S tricks. After all, figures never lie but liars figure.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DRUGS
WHY YOU CAN'T TRUST THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA OUTLETS TO GIVE IT TO YOU
Just give me somethin', somethin' I can use
People love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry
You don't really need to find out what's goin' on
You don't really want to know just how far it's gone
Just leave well enough alone, eat your dirty laundry
- Eagles front man, Don Henley, from 1982's solo effort, Can't Stand Still (Dirty Laundry)
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
A free press is critical to the political process. That way, we the public can (hopefully) be properly informed about the important events that shape our nation. The problem is that our press is not really free. Beyond being beholden to certain ideologies or causes (conservative, liberal, republican, democrat, socialism / communism, capitalism, etc, etc, etc), the big media outlets are all in bed with corporate America. Don't believe me? Let's talk advertising dollars for a moment.
Whether you're a fan of Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, or something similar, they're all beholden to their corporate sponsors. Sponsors pay to play via direct to consumer advertising,ridiculous PSA'S, and PRESS RELEASES disguised as news stories. Although estimates vary wildly, if you thumb back through my posts on EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, you'll see that BIG PHARMA'S annual spending on advertising is thought to be twenty times more than what they spend on research and development --- an estimated 60 billion dollars.
Sure, the press might run a story about a new study showing HOW DANGEROUS a certain drugs is, while rubbing their pointer fingers together and saying, 'shame, shame, shame'. But doggedly sticking with it and following the money trails to THE GOVERNMENT; not so much. They know that in our short-attention-span society, nothing says yesterday's news like "yesterday's news". There's always that next story to make people forget about what happened today. And after all, few people or business have enough integrity to bite the hand that feeds them too hard. Here are a few of those "forgotten" stories.
- A study published 12 years ago (HERE) said that medicine is the number one cause of death in America. Just two months ago, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals on the planet (British Medical Journal) admitted that these numbers are at least in the ball park. The truth is, the practice of medicine is dangerous to your health (HERE), but you're hearing very little about this.
- Researchers continue to manipulate their endgame by publishing only those studies that show their products in a good light, while burying the rest (HERE).
- The medical community is weighted down by a constant stream of BRIBERY.
- As few as 1% of medical errors or adverse events are ever reported to the proper authorities (HERE and HERE).
- Evidence-Based Medicine is decreasingly based on science, and increasingly based on the highest bid (HERE or HERE).
- The individuals that run the government entities created to protect the public from BIG PHARMA have their collective hands in the cookie jar (HERE).
Simply browse titles on my EBM PAGE and you'll see that this is just scratching the surface. If you want the truth about drugs, you'll have to dig a bit. And if you want to solve your health issues or lose that weight without drugs, I have just the thing for you --- and it's completely free (HERE).
ARE YOUR HEARTBURN MEDS
DESTROYING THE HEALTH OF YOUR GUT?
"PPI prescribing rates among inpatients are high, and frequently not evidenced-based. There is also lack of consideration given to review of therapy and limiting provision to short courses. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are widely used but commonly over-prescribed. A range of adverse effects are associated with their use, including susceptibility to C. difficile infection, fractures, pneumonia and electrolyte disturbances." From the abstract of a 2014 issue of the medical journal Gut (Overuse Of Proton Pump Inhibitors And Strategies To Reduce Inappropriate Prescribing). This is yet another area where the medical community seems to be throwing the "EVIDENCE" out the window.
"As many as 70 per cent of PPI prescriptions in the United States have been inappropriately handed out by doctors, according to a study published in January in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. German researchers found that people 75 or older who regularly take the medications had a 44 per cent increased risk of dementia, compared with seniors not using the drugs." From the Feb 16, 2016 issue of CBCNews (Proton Pump Inhibitor Heartburn Drugs Linked to Dementia Risk)
"Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are often given prophylactically to hospitalized patients even though they are known to increase the risk of serious conditions such as Clostridium difficile infection, osteoporosis, pneumonia, and more. Many patients are also on unneeded PPIs before they enter and after they leave the hospital, putting them at even greater risk of complications." From the March 2016 issue of AHC Hospitalist (Reducing Unnecessary PPI Use May Help Save Lives)
"How VA patients are treated, — or potentially overtreated, — for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is coming under greater scrutiny. Veterans often are prescribed proton pump inhibitors (PPI) at much higher doses than recommended, then kept on the drugs far too long, according to the VA-funded study released this year." From the May 2013 issue of U.S Medicine: The Voice of Federal Medicine (VA’s Overuse of GERD Treatment Under Scrutiny)
DYSBIOSIS is the name given to the condition of having incorrect ratios of bacteria in the Gut. Although it is way oversimplified, it is what happens when you have too many bad bacteria and not enough good (be aware that too many of a specific type of "good" bacteria can create Dysbiosis as well (HERE). Historically the medical community has not had much to say about Dysbiosis in its various forms (SYSTEMIC YEAST and C. DIFF are two common ones) because for the most part they are responsible for causing it. How? Through out-of-control prescription habits concerning ANTIBIOTICS. Once people have Dysbiosis it is fed by over-consuming sugar and starch (HERE). When you consider that 80% of your entire Immune System is made up of cells found in your Gut --- much of it in the form of bacteria --- you can begin to see how big this problem can potentially be. Allow me show you some studies.
- It's not brand new news that PPI's mess up GUT HEALTH. A November 2014 study in the journal Microbiome (Prolonged Use of a Proton Pump Inhibitor Reduces Microbial Diversity....) concluded that, "The role of the gut microbiome in arresting pathogen colonization and growth is important for protection against Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Observational studies associate proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use and CDI incidence....... Our hypothesis that PPIs disrupt the healthy human gut microbiome is supported in this group. We conclude that decreases in observed species counts were reversible after cessation of PPI usage within 1 month. This finding may be a potential explanation for the association between prolonged PPI usage and CDI incidence." The problem is that people are not using their PPI's for one month (even though the box says no longer than two weeks). They are using them for years --- even decades. Interestingly enough, two months prior to this, Obesity Surgery carried a study that concluded almost the same thing --- only in individuals who had undergone lap band surgery for weight loss (those on PPI's had significantly more trouble losing weight).
- What is the mechanism for this phenomenon? Not surprisingly, INFLAMMATION. Last August's issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases (Proton-Pump Inhibitor Exposure Aggravates Clostridium difficile-Associated Colitis) had this to say on the subject. "Clostridium difficile is currently the leading cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients. A mouse model of antibiotic-associated clostridial colitis was established to examine the role of PPIs for CDI. Mice with CDI that were exposed to PPI exhibited greater losses of stool consistency and body and cecal weights than those that were not exposed to PPI. Further, more neutrophilic infiltrations, epithelial damage, and inflammatory cytokine expression were noted in colon specimens of the mice with PPI exposure. More-evident inflammatory responses were detected by in vivo imaging of NF-κB reporter mice with CDI that were exposed to PPI. Gut barrier permeability was increased to a greater extent...... Our mouse model demonstrates that PPI exposure increases the severity of intestinal inflammation in mice with C. difficile-associated colitis." Did you catch the "GUT PERMEABILITY" thing (Leaky Gut Syndrome)? Once again folks, we see Inflammation at the root of the problem --- in this case being driven by the very meds used to "cure" people --- not as uncommon as you might believe (HERE).
- Two months later, the October 2015 issue of PLoS One (Reduced Gut Acidity Induces an Obese-Like Phenotype in Drosophila Melanogaster and in Mice) related PPI's not only to Dysbiosis, but to OBESITY as well. "....This deficit is likely to induce altered metabolism and contribute to accelerated aging, since vha16-1 mutant flies are short-lived and display increases in body weight and lipid [fat] accumulation. Similar phenotypes were also induced by pharmacological treatment, through feeding normal flies and mice... proton pump inhibitor (PPI, lansoprazole) to suppress gut acid production. Our study may thus provide a useful model for investigating chronic acid suppression in patients." These findings are not surprising knowing what we know about the relationship between Obesity and Gut Health (HERE, HERE, and HERE are some relevant examples).
- A month after this, the November 13 issue of Clinical Correlations (Are We Overusing Proton Pump Inhibitors?) revealed that, "Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are one of the most widely used medications in the US. Last year, esomeprazole was ranked as one of the top three best-selling drugs in the nation, with 17.8 million prescriptions. Physicians use empiric PPI therapy to diagnose GERD, one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases. If symptoms improve with empiric therapy, PPIs are then continued, often indefinitely. However, PPI use can have potentially serious medical consequences, including an increased risk of infections, malabsorption, and adverse drug-drug interactions. Prolonged PPI use can have serious infectious risks. Reduced acid production due to PPIs compromises the sterility of the gastric lumen, thus making it easier for pathogens to colonize the upper gastrointestinal tract and subsequently alter the colonic microbiome. The best-documented enteric infection linked to PPI use is Clostridium difficile, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis-associated death in the US."
- More recently (this month, May of 2016) we were hit with it again. The journal Gut carried a study aptly named Proton Pump Inhibitors Affect the Gut Microbiome. Their conclusions are interesting on many levels; especially considering there are other "things" (drugs / vaccines) that can also affect the Microbiome. In fact, I wrote about one of them just the other day (HERE). But I regress. This study concluded that, "Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the top 10 most widely used drugs in the world. PPI use has been associated with an increased risk of enteric infections, most notably Clostridium difficile. The gut microbiome plays an important role in enteric infections, by resisting or promoting colonization by pathogens. PPI use is associated with a significant decrease in Shannon's diversity and with changes in 20% of the bacterial taxa. The differences between PPI users and non-users observed in this study are consistently associated with changes towards a less healthy gut microbiome. These differences are in line with known changes that predispose to C. difficile infections and can potentially explain the increased risk of enteric infections in PPI users. On a population level, the effects of PPI are more prominent than the effects of antibiotics or other commonly used drugs." This last sentence is hugely important, as historically CDI was virtually always associated with Antibiotics. In other words, if you are one of the millions of Americans taking a PPI and happen to go on Antibiotics, your odds of screwing up your Gut increase dramatically.
- Not to be outdone, this month's issue of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics said almost the same thing in a study called A Comparison of the Gut Microbiome Between Long-Term Users and Non-Users of Proton Pump Inhibitors. "Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use is associated with an increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). We used a population-based database to identify individuals with 5 or more years of continuous PPI use along with non-PPI using controls. Stool samples were subjected to microbiological analysis.... Long-term PPIs use has an effect on the gut."
Hopefully this post has left you wanting to get off of your PPI drugs. Although I would certainly recommend that you talk to your doctor about this, as you can tell from some of the quotes at the top of the page, they are not always as helpful as you think they should be. Thus, make sure to go back up to the first two links in this post and read them. They will show you that everything you thought you knew about your chronic heartburn is probably wrong, and probably helping perpetuate the problem.
VITAMIN D, OSTEOARTHRITIS, DIABETES MEDICATION, CANCER, EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, AND AMERICA'S DRUGS CULTURERead Now
AMERICA'S SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING
Brand new statistics (today) say that consumers are spending approximately $1,000 per man, woman, and child here in America (4.4 billion prescriptions, which comes out to almost 14 per person) at a total cost of well over 300 billion dollars. What are we getting for these dollars? Most of the time a lot of hot air and hype (HERE). Case in point, DIABETES DRUGS. If you click the link, you'll notice that they don't perform as touted. Now we learn that like sugar (HERE), they probably cause CANCER. That's right folks, Diabetes drugs have been associated with "The Big C" for several years now.
In Sharon Begley's STAT article from yesterday (Diabetes Drugs Fuel Cancer Spread in Mouse Study), we see a phenomenon that I have been hollering about for a very long time --- the difference between whole foods and their synthetic counterparts (HERE).
"There is no question that antioxidants, such as those in fruits and vegetables and other foods, neutralize molecules called free radicals that can damage DNA. That has led to assertions that antioxidants can prevent cancer, since DNA damage can turn normal cells into malignant ones. But studies of whether antioxidant supplements (pills, not foods) can prevent cancer have largely disappointed."
Why have they (synthetic antioxidants) 'disappointed' researchers so severely? Easy; because they're synthetic. For the same reason people actually gain more weight drinking zero calorie diet sodas as opposed to drinking drinks laced with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HERE). I've shown you this over and over again. When it comes to food, a rough rule of thumb is that natural is good; synthetic is bad. Not surprisingly we are seeing the same thing with ANTIOXIDANTS. Enter David Seaman.
Dr. Seaman is a FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGIST who happens to be one of the world's foremost experts on the relationship between diet and inflammation (HERE). It was Dr. Seaman who told us (HERE) that "Monotherapies do not change health." In other words, taking a single nutrient from a nutrient complex and trying to "cure" various ailments with it has never been proven very effective (HERE). This is the work that DR. ROYAL LEE based his entire life on. Dr. Seaman is back for the attack with a fascinating article from the current issue of Dynamic Chiropractic (Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee Osteoarthritis).
Aside from the fact that knee arthritis (and for that matter, 'Torn Meniscus') is also not helped by surgery (HERE) or medications (HERE), I'm not at all surprised by this study. Since I actually had this study in my Que, I will mix my thoughts with Dr. Seaman's and show you several reasons why it was doomed from the beginning.
- STRUCTURAL CHANGES -VS FUNCTIONAL CHANGES: The first mistake that Dr. Ding, the study's lead author from Tasmania makes is assuming that helping someone with arthritis requires structural changes to be made. "Currently there are no disease-modifying therapies for osteoarthritis. The researchers found that vitamin D supplementation, compared with placebo, did not result in significant differences in change in MRI-measured tibial cartilage volume or a measure of knee pain over 2 years. There were also no significant differences in change of tibiofemoral cartilage defects or change in tibiofemoral bone marrow lesions." Although they are probably out there, studies do not largely show drugs, supplements, procedures, injections, etc, etc, resulting in increased amounts of cartilage that can be measured via MRI. However, if you follow the right steps (I'll show you in a moment) functional changes are the norm.
- UNHEALTHY TEST SUBJECTS: The average age of the subjects was 63, with an average BMI of 29.6. If we round up to 30, we are out of the "overweight" area of the BMI chart and into OBESITY. Because obesity itself is a function of inflammation (HERE), trying to solve an inflammatory problem such as arthritis without dealing with underlying causes of the "itis" (inflammation) is all but impossible. Couple this with the added mechanical stress of the extra weight and you can see yet another reason the study did not pan out.
- SUB-CLINICAL, SUB-MAXIMAL, OR MEGA-DOSING: What is the optimum amount of Vitamin D to take supplementally? Although you will find tons of debate on this, I'm not aware of anyone who knows anything about nutrition who would say it's best to do it like the authors of this study did. The subjects, "were randomly assigned to receive monthly treatment with oral vitamin D3 (50 000 IU) or an identical placebo for 2 years." Does real nutrition ever work like this --- taking a megadose once a month, and then not doing anything for thirty days? According to SOME DOCTORS it does. Unfortunately, even if this amount of D were broken up and given in equal doses over the course of thirty days, it would still not be enough to raise serum levels from where they were initially --- or at least raise them to a level that is clinically relevant. On top of this, many experts say that THOSE OF US NOT LIVING IN AND GETTING REGULAR SUNSHINE might need much more Vitamin D than 600 IU's a day --- at least for the short term (see Mayo Clinic's Vitamin D Dosing).
Dr. Seaman goes on to say that, "In short, the inflammatory chemistry of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease is the same chemistry associated with the expression of arthritis.... This is not meant to to imply that joint trauma does not evolve into osteoarthritis. This can and does happen... The greater issue is that osteoarthritis develops in joints that have not been traumatized." He goes on to tell us what creates said inflammation. "A pro-inflammatory diet that contains an excess of sugar, flour, and refined omega-6 oils (which I've labeled "Dietary Crack" in previous articles)".
I've talked about Seaman's "DIETARY CRACK" and its relationship to LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE, showing you that it is related to virtually every adverse health issue you can name as well as most you can't. In fact, this is what made me change my mind about the very nature of degenerative arthritis (HERE, HERE, and HERE). If you are really interested in solving your chronic inflammatory health issues, including arthritis, you might be interested in reading THESE POSTS.
ARE OTC TYLENOL / ACETAMINOPHEN
AS SAFE AS WE'VE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE?
"Tylenol (acetaminophen / paracetamol) is the most popular over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication used in the United States and around the world. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Americans bought 28 billion doses of products containing Tylenol in 2005 alone. It is marketed as an effective painkiller that is safer than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which are associated with stomach discomfort or bleeding. Tylenol is not without its serious complications. It is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States." Cherry-picked from Drugwatch dot com (Tylenol).
"I occasionally treat an older gentleman --- an eccentric intellectual type --- from New York City. Back in the 1950's he was delivering Tylenol by truck. He told me that when he delivered to hospitals, there were no charges for the crates of pills. When he quizzed his superiors about this, he was told that it was so the manufacturers could claim it was recommended by 4 out of 5 doctors." Dr. Russell Schierling
"Paracetamol: do we have to reconsider the benefit/risk ratio?" The title of a study from the September 2015 issue of La Revu Da Practicien
Let me first say that Acetaminophen (aka Paracetamol) is not technically considered an NSAID. Although it certainly has certain similar properties, it is technically a pain medication that does not relieve inflammation (even though it works on similar pathways). What led me to address this topic is the amount of research linking Acetaminophen use in expecting mothers to ASTHMA in their offspring.
It's important to remember that for decades women have been told that Tylenol is safe to take while pregnant --- that it does not cross the placental barrier (or that if it does, it doesn't matter). Turns out this isn't true. For a number of years, studies have been taking place concerning the link between Tylenol and Asthma. A study from this month's issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology (Prenatal and Infant Paracetamol Exposure and Development of Asthma: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study) was published because previously, "Paracetamol exposure has been positively associated with asthma development." In other words, there are already studies linking the two together.
After reviewing the records of 115,000 Norwegian children, researchers found a consistent relationship between pregnant mother's Acetaminophen use, and their children developing Asthma by age seven. The authors concluded that, "This study provides evidence that prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure have independent associations with asthma development." What are we doing about this situation here in the US? Good question. The FDA's website tells expecting mothers that........
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of and understands the concerns arising from recent reports questioning the safety of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines when used during pregnancy..... Because of this uncertainty, the use of pain medicines during pregnancy should be carefully considered. We urge pregnant women to always discuss all medicines with their health care professionals before using them."
But are doctors really warning pregnant women about these dangers? Or for that matter, about the dangers of Acetaminophen in general ---- i.e., for those who aren't pregnant? Maybe some are, but I'm certainly not seeing it.
There is so much of this stuff taken worldwide (HERE is a list of products containing Acetaminophen) that trying to find out via Google exactly how many doses are taken annually in America was difficult because estimates vary so widely. Suffice it to say, we take a proverbial "boatload" (there are an estimated 600 products for sale in the US containing Acetaminophen). The major brand, Tylenol, sold 200 million dollars worth in 2013 (this does not count Children's Tylenol, Tylenol PM, Herbal Tylenol, Extra Strength Tylenol, Tylenol w/ Codeine, Tylenol Back Pain, Tylenol Arthritis, etc, etc, etc). These figures do not count generics, which are a huge part of the Acetaminophen market.
Although Acetaminophen is said to have relatively little anti-inflammatory activity (it is not considered an NSAID), it's mechanism of action is not well understood. This is probably why the mechanisms of many of its side effects are poorly understood as well. How bad are these side effects, and should you be worried about keeping a bottle of the stuff in your medicine cabinet? Only you can decide that.
Pro Publica is an independent news outlet that was founded by an ex-editor of the Wall Street Journal. On September 20 of 2013, they rocked the world with a massive expose titled Use Only as Directed. Using data from the National Institutes of Health and the Poison Control Center they stated that, "Acetaminophen overdose send as many as 78,000 Americans to the emergency room annually and results in 33,000 hospitalizations a year... Acetaminophen is also the nation’s leading cause of acute liver failure..." 1,567 of these individuals died. And for the record, during the same period, 1,400 people committed suicide using Acetaminophen.
Furthermore, they showed through documents obtained via sunshine laws, that our very own you-can-trust-us-even-though-our-fingers-are-crossed safety organization (THE FDA) ignored their own advice for over three decades. "In 1977, an expert panel convened by the FDA issued urgently worded advice, saying it was 'obligatory' to put a warning on the drug’s label that it could cause 'severe liver damage'." The FDA did not actually warn consumers of this fact until May of 2009. When you factor in the reality of UNDER-REPORTING, we can only speculate that the government's numbers are far lower than what's really going on. Although it's long, if you are interested in learning how this problem has been systematically and purposefully buried by Big Pharma (working hand-in-hand with Big Government), HERE it is. Let me show you a few other realities of Acetaminophen.
- ALCOHOL AND PARACETAMOL DON'T MIX: There is tons of research showing that mixing alcohol with Acetamenophin is a recipe for liver failure. One of the first studies on this subject was published in the September, 1977 issue of the same journal I discussed yesterday, the Annals of Internal Medicine (Chronic Excessive Acetaminophen Use and Liver Damage). Because in the big scheme of things your liver is a rather important organ, I would advise you to heed these warnings.
- CAREFULLY READ LABELS: Because there are so many OTC medications that contain Acetaminophen, and because it is such a potentially dangerous substance, England enacted laws requiring non-pharmaceutical retail outlets to warn consumers of the Paracetamol-containing meds at checkout. A study published in last month's issue of BMJ Open concluded that, "Data revealed that 58% of retailers sold more than the MHRA guidelines recommended for paracetamol." All this proves is that the average person is still living under the assumption that since it's OTC, it's safe. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as this is a drug that is extremely toxic in any amount over what is considered to be a "safe" dose.
- ACETAMINOPHEN AND ASTHMA: Although I already dealt with this in expectant mothers, the same thing holds true for children who take Acetaminophen. Calpol is the European version of Tylenol --- their nation's most popular OTC pain medication. The September 15, 2013 issue of the Daily Mail (Babies Given Calpol Just Once a Month are Five Times as Likely to Develop Asthma) discussed a study published in that same month's European Journal of Public Health (Exposure to Paracetamol and Asthma Symptoms). "The drug [Calpol] is the most popular painkiller in Britain and 84 per cent of babies are given it for pain and fever within the first six months of their life. In one of the largest studies of its kind, academics from the University of A Coruna in northern Spain questioned the parents of 10,371 children aged six and seven and 10,372 aged 13 and 14. All were asked whether the children had asthma – and if so, how severe – and how often they had been given paracetamol within the previous year and when they were babies. Those in the younger age group who were given the medicine at least once a month were 5.4 more times likely to have asthma and those given it just once a year were 70% more at risk. Children who had a dose of the medicine at any time before their first birthday were 60% more at risk. The study also found that 13 and 14-year-olds were 40% more likely to have asthma if they had taken paracetamol within the previous 12 months."
- SKIN CONDITIONS: On August 1 of 2013, the FDA issued one of their many "Consumer Updates" concerning Acetaminophen (FDA Warns of Rare Acetaminophen Risk). Some of the skin conditions associated with Paracetamol include, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TENS), and Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP). Best guess is that this is an area where under-reporting has been particularly rampant.
- PREGNANCY AND PARACETAMOL PART II: We already showed you that Asthma rates skyrocket when mom takes Acetaminophen during her pregnancy. Unfortunately, the problems go far beyond Asthma. A study from last month's issue of Scientific Reports (Analgesic Exposure in Pregnant Rats Affects Fetal Germ Cell Development with Inter-Generational Reproductive Consequences) revealed that Paracetamol taken by pregnant mom, affected the fertility of female offspring for at least two generations. "Assuming our results are translatable to humans, they raise concerns that analgesic use in pregnancy could potentially affect fertility of resulting daughters and grand-daughters." Another study, from last month's issue of Toxicological Sciences (Intrauterine Exposure to Paracetamol and Aniline Impairs Female Reproductive Development by Reducing Follicle Reserves and Fertility), came to virtually the same conclusion.
- IMMUNE SYSTEM PROBLEMS: It's impossible to argue that there is not far more incidence of Food Allergy / Food Sensitivities than there used to be (one that immediately comes to mind is GLUTEN). Could Acetaminophen be playing a part in this? Listen to the shocking conclusions of this month's issue of Medical Hypothesis (Possible Effects of Repeated Exposure to Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen on the Intestinal Immune Response in Young Infants). Although the average American tends to have far too much INFLAMMATION in their systems, Inflammation is actually a good and necessary thing in normal levels (it allows various parts of the body to communicate with other parts of the body). "There has been an exponential increase in the frequency of immune deviations in young children. It seems that acetaminophen - like ibuprofen - also carries a non-selective inhibitory action on peripheral COXs. The impact of repeated inhibition of mucosal PGE2 synthesis due to COX-inhibitor exposure on maturational immunity has been demonstrated in animal experiments. Repeatedly exposed young animals do not develop tolerance to food antigens and exhibit autoimmune deviations. Several recent epidemiological studies have also reported on the magnitude of acetaminophen and ibuprofen exposure in children and the increase in immune deviations, it is important to better understand the potential negative impact of repeated inhibitions of prostaglandin synthesis by COX2s during infancy." In other words, kids are suffering from food sensitivities and AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES like never before in history. Much of this can be explained by inhibiting the specific chemical compounds we collectively refer to as "Inflammation" during their developmental years (see link on Inflammation above). This doesn't even begin to address the fact that these drugs screw up GUT HEALTH (remember that 80% of the Immune System is found in the Gut) by causing / contributing to one of the hallmarks of chronic disease states --- INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY.
- ACETAMINOPHEN FOR FEVER OR FLU? FEVER is arguably the number one way your body fights off infectious invaders. It also tends to freak parents out far more than it should. How do parents (and doctors for that matter) decrease fever in children? Tylenol / Paracetamol (in Europe, Calpol). December's issue of the Journal of Thoracic Disease carried a study called Fever: Suppress it or Let it Ride? "Fever is a protective adaptive response that should be allowed to run its course under most circumstances. The latter approach, sometime referred to as the "let it ride" philosophy, has been supported by several recent randomized controlled trials like that of Young et al. , which are challenging earlier observational studies and may be pushing the pendulum away from the Pavlovian treatment response." Another study in this month's issue of Respirology looked at the benefits of Paracetamol for Influenza. In similar fashion to what we recently learned about FLU SHOTS, "Regular paracetamol had no effect on viral shedding, temperature [fever], or clinical symptoms in patients with influenza. There remains an insufficient evidence base for paracetamol use in influenza infection."
- ACETAMINOPHEN AND DIABETES: If you are a DIABETIC who monitors your glucose levels from home (who doesn't these days?), a study from this month's copy of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics is important to understand if you take Acetaminophen. "Although plasma glucose concentrations remained constant at approximately 90 mg/dL throughout the study, glucose measurements varied between approximately 85 to 400 mg/dL due to interference from the acetaminophen."
- ACETAMINOPHEN AND CHRONIC ALLERGIES / HAY FEVER: According to WebMD, Allergic Rhinitis (otherwise known as Hay Fever) is associated with CHRONIC EAR INFECTIONS, ALLERGIES, ASTHMA, and SLEEP APNEA. WebMD goes on to talk about all the different classes of drugs that actually cause Rhinitis (ANTIDEPRESSANTS, TRANQUILIZERS, BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS, ED DRUGS, ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES, NSAIDS, etc. Add another one to the list. The January 2015 issue of the journal Allergy & Rhinology (Association Between Chronic Acetaminophen Exposure and Allergic Rhinitis in a Rat Model). "Our study was the first to demonstrate a histologic association between chronic exposure to acetaminophen and rhinitis. The average number of allergic responses per animal was 13.2 in the acetaminophen group versus 6.2 in the control group. All the rats in the acetaminophen group (100%) had mast cells, whereas mast cells were detected in only 40% of the animals in the control group. The average number of mast cells per animal in the acetaminophen group was 134 versus 21 in the control group." BTW, Mast Cells are white blood cells that are most renowned for their immune system response in allergies.
- CURCUMIN IS AN ANTIDOTE FOR ACETAMINOPHEN-INDUCED LIVER DAMAGE: Curcumin (intimately related to Tumeric and Curry) is a cooking spice used heavily in India. Mitochondria are the part of the cell that make energy in the form of ATP. "Curcumin prevented in a dose-dependent manner, liver damage due to paracetamol-induced mitochondrial alterations. These results indicate that the protective effect of curcumin in PCM-induced hepatotoxicity is associated with attenuation of mitochondrial dysfunction."
Notice that these studies are largely from the last couple of months. If I would have spent some time going through decades worth of studies, this post would have shown Acetaminophen to be a veritable house of horrors. Should you be surprised? Of course not! Chemicals are bad news. Period. No; taking Tylenol probably won't kill you outright (it will do it slowly). But what it does to your offspring is freaky enough. And it's not like any of this is "new" information.
ESRD stands for End-Stage Renal Disease. In other words, the form of kidney failure that leads to death --- you're never getting off dialysis. Clear back in 1994, researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Risk of Kidney Failure Associated with the use of Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs) that had some downright scary findings. "Heavier acetaminophen use was associated with an increased risk of ESRD in a dose-dependent fashion." If a person had taken 5,000 tablets of Acetaminophen [200 mg] in their lifetime, their chances of ESRD increased by 240%. For 5,000 tablets of NSAIDS, the increase was greater --- almost 900%. The authors ultimately concluded that, "People who often take acetaminophen or NSAIDs have an increased risk of ESRD." And the more you take, the greater your chances of something going south.
With a post like this, the question always arises; "But doc, what am I supposed to take when I have pain?" Let me first say that I think you are asking the wrong question. The question you should be asking yourself in most cases is why you are having pain in the first place? In other words, what's driving the INFLAMMATION? Figure that out and you are likely to cut your pain dramatically. If you really want to get to the bottom of your ill health and Chronic Pain, THIS POST is a great starting point.
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN AND NSAID EFFICACY
To break it down for you....
- Cochrane is universally considered to be the 'gold-standard' in meta-analysis ---- crunching data from numerous studies on a particular topic --- and making sense of it all.
- They are big and they are everywhere.
- They are independent. In our age of "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" this is critical --- especially considering the shenanigans, data fudging, lying, and outright fraud, taking place in a medical research community that is largely run by Big Pharma (see link above).
Listen to what the Cochrane Collaboration (sometimes referred to as the Cochrane Review) had to say about treating Chronic Low Back Pain with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs (NSAID's) just two short days ago (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Chronic Low Back Pain). The paragraph below was cherry-picked from the abstract.
"NSAIDs reduced pain and disability in people with chronic low back pain compared to placebo. However, the differences were small: 3.3 points on a 100-point scale for pain intensity. Regarding disability, people receiving NSAIDs scored 0.9 points better on a 0 to 24 disability scale. The magnitude of the effects is small, and the level of evidence was low. Different types of NSAIDs did not show significantly different effects. Due to the relatively small sample sizes and relatively short follow-up in most included trials, we cannot make firm statements about the occurrence of adverse events or whether NSAIDs are safe for long-term use."
Even though NSAIDS are consumed like candy here in America, we see that for CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN (one of the single most common reasons people take them) they really aren't benefiting very much. And as for the side-effects, we know from large meta-analysis that they are UNDER-REPORTED between 90% and 99% of the time. That's not me talking, it's what the research says. Furthermore, if there's one thing we do know about long-term use of NSAIDS --- something most studies (purposely) fail to address ---- is that side effects are both COMMON AND POTENTIALLY HARSH (even deadly).
"There was low quality evidence that NSAIDs are slightly more effective than placebo in chronic low back pain. The magnitude of the difference was small, and when we only accounted for trials of higher quality, these differences reduced."
If you really want to help yourself as far as your pain and disability are concerned, you'll have to deal with Inflammation at it's source. Instead of constantly using NSAIDS and CORTICOSTEROIDS to mop up the inflammation that is constantly being spilled on the floor, stop spilling it all over the floor in the first place. How do you go about doing this? HERE is a multi-pronged approach for dealing with the underlying Inflammation that is the root cause of almost every health problem you can name. Which is why dealing with Inflammation at it's source will not only help you with your Chronic Low Back Pain, but help you with THESE PROBLEMS as well.
(NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATION DRUGS)
THE DANGERS ARE LEGION
According to the March 11, 2015 issue of Medscape (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Agent Toxicity), "More than 70 million prescriptions for NSAIDs are written each year in the United States. With over-the-counter use included, more than 30 billion doses of NSAIDs are consumed annually in the United States alone." Stop and re-read that sentence, letting the sheer magnitude of it sink in. There are 30,000,000,000 doses taken by our nation's citizens each year, which calculates out to ten per person. This means that for every person who takes zero, someone is taking twenty. Do PRESCRIPTION HABITS such as this have consequences? As my dear, departed grandfather ("Pappy") would likely have answered, "Is a monkey's butt red?"
I've actually written about a few of these side effects in the past. NSAIDS not only dramatically increase your chances of getting CANCER --- itself considered an Inflammatory problem (HERE), but they dramatically increase your chances of death (HERE). Besides that, we know they do any number of things that won't necessarily kill you (at least not outright), but have the potential to turn you into an invalid or make your life a living hell. In fact, in the days when everyone loved Dr. Oz, he told us that no class of drug in America is more abused than this one (HERE). And this is after Vioxx was taken off the market (at that time, NSAIDS were a "Top 20" leading cause of death in the United States).
Thus, it should come as no surprise that the government has issued still another waring about the safety of this class of drugs. The warning that came out earlier this month, (FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA Strengthens Warning that Non-Aspirin Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can cause Heart Attacks or Strokes), stated that.....
NSAIDs are widely used to treat pain and fever from many different long- and short-term medical conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, headaches, colds, and the flu. NSAIDs are available by prescription and OTC. Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and celecoxib. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening an existing label warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Based on our comprehensive review of new safety information, we are requiring updates to the drug labels of all prescription NSAIDs. The risk of heart attack and stroke with NSAIDs, either of which can lead to death, was first described in 2005 in the Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions sections of the prescription drug labels. Since then, we have reviewed a variety of new safety information on prescription and OTC NSAIDs. Based on our review and the advisory committees’ recommendations, the prescription NSAID labels will be revised to reflect the following information:
- The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
- NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. A large number of studies support this finding, with varying estimates of how much the risk is increased, depending on the drugs and the doses studied.
- In general, patients with heart disease or risk factors for it have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following NSAID use than patients without these risk factors because they have a higher risk at baseline.
- Patients treated with NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to patients who were not treated with NSAIDs after their first heart attack.
- There is an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use.
Like the warning reveals, none of this is new information. This latest warning is simply "strengthening" the warning that has been in place for a decade. I'm going to show you that despite everything you've been told by BIG PHARMA'S TV COMMERCIALS, these drugs have a wide variety of serious health risks associated with them. The studies are in no particular order and have been "cherry-picked" because of space constraints and readability. Also, because I only have access to abstracts most of the time, that's where this information comes from. When you're finished, you'll wonder why the FDA'S warning is not stronger than it is.
- NSAIDS DON'T MIX WELL WITH STATINS: While STATIN DRUGS have their own unique sets of problems, when you mix them with NSAIDS, certain aspects can be magnified. A Turkish study in the current issue of Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators (Aggravating Effect of Atorvastatin on Indomethacin-Induced Gastric Injury) lets us know that the, "Proulcerogenic effect of atorvastatin are likely to be associated with decreased mucosal defense mechanisms and proinflammatory factors. Thus, atorvastatin therapy should be monitored in patients for an increased risk of gastric ulcer particularly when used concomitantly with NSAIDs." Especially interesting considering Statins have become the number one class of prescription drug in America.
- NSAIDS CAUSE LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: A study in this month's issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology (Effect of Oral Diclofenac Intake on Fecal Calprotectin) tells us something I have been warning patients about for at least a decade --- that taking Anti-Inflammatory Medications leads to LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. The study's conclusions tell us that, "Short-term oral diclofenac intake is associated with increased Fecal Calprotectin levels." I could write a whole post on this bullet point alone. If you want to freak yourself out a bit, just Google "Leaky Gut Syndrome Calprotectin" and count the numbers of diseases that you see.
- GI BLEEDS AND DIGESTIVE ISSUES: Although not the worst of the severe ADR's (Adverse Drug Reactions) that are associated with NSAIDS, by far the most common are problems with the digestive tract. We've known for decades that NSAIDS are the number one reason people get, are hospitalized, or die from GI Bleeds (bleeding ulcers). This month's issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care (Adverse Drug Reactions in a Primary Care Population Prescribed Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) concludes that, "Of the patients with musculoskeletal complaints prescribed an NSAID, almost one in 30 patients re-consulted their GP with a complaint likely or possibly associated with the use of this drug. Dyspepsia [GI pain] was the most frequent (34%). The burden of such consultations for non-serious ADRs should be taken into account by GPs when deciding whether treatment with an NSAID is appropriate."
- GI BLEEDS AND ATRIAL FIBRILLATION: In our society, A-Fib is extremely common. This month's issue of Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Bleeding Risk in Anticoagulated Patients with Atrial Fibrillation) reinforces the idea that NSAIDS are related to heart problems by saying, "Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have generally conferred increased gastrointestinal bleeding risk.... Recent evidence shows that concomitant use of NSAIDs in anticoagulated AF patients carries a real risk of serious bleeding, as well as thromboembolism. Thus, physicians should clearly exercise extra caution with NSAIDs in patients with AF, especially if they are anticoagulated."
- NSAIDS, CHILDREN, AND HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS: The Spanish journal Annals of Pediatrics carried a study in this month's issue (Hypersensitivity Reactions to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs....) that sheds light on just how dangerous it is to give these drugs to kids. "Hypersensitivity reactions to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common reactions. More than one quarter (28%) of the population studied was diagnosed with hypersensitivity to NSAIDs, and 50% had multiple hypersensitivity (the diagnosis was confirmed by oral drug provocation test)."
- NSAIDS INHIBIT BONE GROWTH IN CHILDREN: In another study done this month (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Cause Inhibition of the Growth Plate in Cultured Rat Metatarsal Bones) from the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, it was revealed that, "NSAIDs caused a dose-dependent growth retardation of cultured metatarsal bones. Both nonselective and COX-2 selective NSAIDs inhibit longitudinal bone growth. We found that NSAIDs suppressed the proliferation of chondrocytes [cells that produce cartilage] and production of PGE2, and increased the apoptosis [death] of chondrocytes. Supplemental PGE2 could not reverse the effects of NSAIDs on the growth plate. The data from the present study suggest that deleterious effects on the growth plate by chronic NSAIDs use should be considered for children who have chronic inflammatory diseases." Scary! For a list of CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES, just click the link.
- NSAIDS IMPAIR TENDON HEALING: If you have been on my TENDINOSIS PAGE, you are already aware that not only is Tendinitis very rare (many experts believe it does not exist at all), but that it sometimes takes some POTENTIALLY HARSH TREATMENT to stimulate the cells that make collagen (FIBROBLASTS). According to a study found in the July, 2015 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology (COX-2 Inhibition Impairs Mechanical Stimulation of Early Tendon Healing in Rats by Reducing the Response to Microdamage) NSAIDS do exactly what the name of the study implies. "Early tendon healing can be stimulated by mechanical loading and inhibited by COX inhibitors (NSAIDs). Because loading might infer microdamage, which also stimulates healing, we also investigated if this effect is inhibited by parecoxib. Mechanical testing showed that there was a significant interaction between loading and parecoxib for peak force at failure. This effect of microdamage [of critical importance for the healing process] was almost abolished by parecoxib. This suggests that COX-2 inhibition impairs the positive effects of mechanical loading during tendon healing mainly by reducing the response to microdamage." Why do you think I have asked my PATIENTS UNDERGOING TISSUE REMODELING to refrain from taking these drugs while treating, unless they feel it's absolutely necessary?
- NSAIDS LINKED TO DEMENTIA: The July issue of the European Journal of Neurology (Patterns of Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use and Risk of Dementia: A Matched Case-Control Study) looked at dementia rates in people taking NSAIDS and CORTICOSTEROIDS vs people not taking these drugs. Their findings? "NSAIDs and glucocorticoid drugs were associated with higher risk of Vascular Dementia."
- MIXING ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND NSAIDS CAN LEAD TO BRAIN HEMORRHAGE: We've known for at least 15 years that mixing ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDS and NSAIDS leads to far more GI problems than NSAIDS alone. Without going into details, take a look at the title of a study published in this month's issue of the British Medical Journal (Risk of Intracranial Hemorrhage Linked to Co-Treatment with Antidepressants and NSAIDs).
- NSAIDS CAN FIRE UP THE COMBINATION OF HEPATITIS AND VASCULITS: I would not bother to mention this one, but because my closest friend is dealing with this very problem, here it is. The current issue of SpringerPlus (Nimesulide Induced Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis and Hepatitis) showed a link between a certain NSAID that is not used in the US due to its harsh ADR's (Nimesulide) and the ADR COMBINATION of Hepatitis and Vasculitis. Because numerous NSAIDS carry similar molecular profiles, my guess is that this problem could possibly be related to any number of NSAIDS besides the one discussed in the study.
- NSAIDS CAUSE KIDNEY PROBLEMS IN PEOPLE WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: The July issue of the journal Hypertension (the official journal of the American Heart Association) published a study (Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in Subjects With Hypertension: Nationwide Longitudinal Cohort) that plainly concluded, "NSAID use is associated with increased risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in subjects with hypertension." As common as HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE is in the US, this hits very close to home.
- THESE DRUGS ARE SO UBIQUITOUS THEY ARE NOW BEING FOUND IN OUR WATER SUPPLY: I recently showed you that medications based on Female Hormones have made their way to the water supply (HERE). Now this. A Japanese study published in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Environmental Toxins and Health (Monitoring the Concentrations of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Cyclooxygenase-Inhibiting Activities in the Surface Waters of the Tone Canal and Edo River Basin) "Environmental pollution by pharmaceuticals has become a major problem in many countries worldwide. We demonstrated that COX inhibitors in surface water may influence aquatic organisms more than was expected based on NSAID concentrations." Not surprising considering they have a one third our population crammed into an area roughly the size of my home state of Kansas --- mostly situated in huge metro areas.
Here's what I really want you to notice about this post. The studies I discussed today were from the most current issues of the journals they were found in. If I would have kept going, this article would have been a book (or one volume of a series). Bottom line; these drugs are dangerous, and if you are not aware of this fact, it could come back to bite you in a harsh way. And for those who would rather take ACETAMINOPHEN or ASPIRIN, just follow the links. If you are serious about finding solutions to your Chronic Pain and Chronic Illnesses, just take a look at THIS SHORT POST. And if you are a parent who is worried about not having the right drugs for your child's fever, you can set your mind at ease with THIS POST.
In case you're still not convinced how serious a problem this is, listen to this first sentence of a study (Drug-Induced Osteoporosis: Mechanisms and Clinical Implications) published in the October, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Medicine. "Drug-induced osteoporosis is common and has a significant impact on the prognosis of patients suffering from chronic debilitating diseases." And in her 23-page book chapter (Drug-Induced Osteoporosis), Dr. Susan K Bowles revealed that, "The relationship between osteoporosis and oral glucocorticoids is well understood, but in recent years, many other agents have been reported to affect bone health and should therefore also be considered in the risk assessment for osteoporosis. This chapter reviews new evidence for drugs other than glucocorticoids in the development of secondary osteoporosis and provides a framework for putting risk into context for suitable discussion with patients." And now we can add another drug to this impressive list ----Antidepressants.
The new study, which has not been released yet (it will appear in Injury Prevention) used the PharMetrics Claims Database to look at the medical records of of over 60 million Americans. 137,000 women between the ages of 40 and 64, having no previous mental health issues prior to starting ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS between 1998 and 2010, were actually chosen for the study. After just a year and a half, the odds of women who took an Antidepressant and subsequently developing a fracture increased by a whopping 76%. It stayed similarly elevated for at least five years. How big a deal is this? Listen to Jeff Minerd of MedPage Today (Antidepressants Linked to Bone Fractures in Menopausal Women).
"SSRI use for nonpsychiatric conditions such as VMS, irritable bowel syndrome, and premature ejaculation [they left out CHRONIC PAIN here] has increased to the point that antidepressants are the third most commonly prescribed class of drug in the U.S., with much of that growth attributable to non-psychiatrists prescribing to patients without a psychiatric disorder, the investigators noted."
Why is this occurring? To understand, you'll need to understand the difference between bone cells called Osteoclasts and bone cells called Osteoblasts. Bone is a dynamic tissue. Older, brittle bone is constantly broken down by the body in order to be recycled into new and healthy bone. Cells called Osteoclasts do the breaking down, and cells called Osteoblasts do the building up (in the body, blasts are always builders). If you have an imbalance of these two cells, tipped in the direction of Osteoclastic activity, you can't help but wind up with bone loss. The greater the Osteoclastic activity, the faster and greater the loss is. Sooner or later you end up with OSTEOPOROSIS. Listen to the study's conclusion.
"This finding is consistent with results from studies involving patients with mental health disorders. The sustained higher risk among SSRI users is also consistent with the biological hypothesis that fractures associated with SSRI use can be at least partially attributed to antidepressant-related modulation of bone homeostasis in favor of osteoclastic activity, which may ["may" is the wrong word here. The correct word would be "will"] result in lower bone mineral density and higher risks of fractures."
Unfortunately there's a nasty little punchline that the authors don't talk about --- another of those dirty little secrets of the medical profession. What if I told you that when you get Osteoporosis because of the medicine you've been taking, you are going to be given a medicine that itself causes more of the same --- Osteoporosis. That's correct --- Anti-osteoporosis Drugs (bisphosphonates in particular) might increase your bone density, but they do it in such a devious and fraudulent manner that it actually causes Functional Osteoporosis --- something I have been warning women about for nearly two decades. If you want more information, you can read this SHORT ARTICLE I wrote on the subject several years ago (it is from a handout I created to give female patients).
Interestingly enough, the MedPage Today article interviewed Dr. Holly Puritz, the spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for her opinion on this study. Among other things, she gave the knee-jerk answer of "counseling" women to take more calcium, before revealing that the information in this study is, "not going to change how I treat patients" (so much for EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE). Before taking her advice, you might want to read THIS POST I wrote after receiving a book in the mail called Death by Calcium from the Cardiologist who wrote it.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND THE
GREAT AMERICAN CON JOB
In the past few weeks, Express Scripts --- a St. Louis based pharmacy benefit management (PBM) organization considered to be the 20th largest corporation in America ---- released their Drug Trend Report on pharmaceutical spending as well as Super Spending: U.S. Trends in High-Cost Medication Use. The latest statistics are so shocking they are almost unbelievable.
What's going on in American healthcare is right now unprecedented. In one year's time (2013 to 2014) the number of people taking over $100,000 worth of prescription drugs has tripled. Read that sentence again and let the magnitude of it sink in. There are now 575,000 individuals taking more than $50,000 worth of drugs annually, with nearly 140,000 of those taking over 100,000 dollars worth (the average per person in this later category was over $160,000). According to the reports, the American taxpayer and private insurance companies are footing 98% of the bill.
This scenario is a Pharmaceutical Company's wet dream ---- super high-cost drugs that someone else is on the hook for. As Express Scripts stated, "The total cost impact to payers from both patient populations is an unsustainable $52 billion a year." Unsustainable. Here's why. A group of people equivalent to just over 1/7th the population of the Greater St. Louis area (about 4 million) accounts for a whopping $52,000,000,000 per year in drug spending. Let me hit you with some "fun facts" from the report.
- TAKING LOTS OF PRESCRIPTIONS: The report stated that, "About 60 percent of patients in the super-spending report were taking at least 10 medicines." Although that sounds crazy, many Americans are taking absurd amounts of drugs (HERE).
- SEEING LOTS OF DOCTORS: We also found out that the people taking the most drugs were getting them, "from at least four different prescribers." In other words, they had lots and lots of doctors.
- DEPRESSION & DIABETES ARE COMMON TARGETS: Although the drugs that treat these two common problems are certainly not the most expensive on the list, they are incredibly common. The problem is that we have learned that the drugs that target DEPRESSION and DIABETES are not much better than placebo (HERE and HERE). Others most commonly mentioned were STATINS and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATIONS. All of these with the exception of Depression (some would argue that it is as well) are diseases of lifestyle. The drugs mask symptoms without addressing the underlying cause(s) of said symptoms.
- THE MOST EXPENSIVE DRUGS: Even though the drugs in the previous bullet point are not cheap, no one is going to spend fifty grand, let alone one hundred or one hundred and fifty grand on these drugs. This group of super expensive drugs were made up of specially compounded drugs as well as drugs for CANCER and drugs for Hepatitis C. I've talked to patients whose chemo bills were as high as $24,000 per treatment. Hep C is almost as bad. The report said this about the Hep C drug Harvoni (Ledipasvir / Sofosbuvir). "Harvoni is priced at a staggering wholesale acquisition cost of $1,125 per tablet – more than $33,000 per 30-day prescription.... Payers and patients have limited resources and simply cannot afford these prices. Absent more fair drug pricing, payers will face half a trillion dollars in prescription drug costs as soon as 2020". The report went on to say that, "While specialty medications represent only 1% of all U.S. prescriptions, these medications represented 31.8% of all 2014 drug spending."
According to the US Census Bureau, our nation's population is currently about 315 million people. This means that not quite .002% of our population is using up almost one third of the dollars spent on prescription medications here in America. But trust me when I tell you that this is not where the problem ends. When you add this to what is happening in the last part of people's lives, you can begin to see how out of control the situation really is.
EVERYONE LOVES TO PLAY THE HERO
If you take this concept of spending huge dollar amounts on small segments of the population one step farther, you land at end-of-life care. Dying has historically been looked at as a normal part of living. No one really wants to do it, but sooner or later it's one of those things we're all going to be faced with. Because of our seemingly deep pockets, we have become a society willing to spend astronomical dollars at the very end of people's lives, prolonging miserable situations sometimes by mere days or weeks with "heroic" interventions (HERE is a prime example).
Because we know that a huge percentage of health care dollars are spent at the very end of people's lives, we can start to see how our medical spending is a true double whammy of waste and deception. The waste part is easy to see. As for the deception part, people are being deceived into thinking that the drugs and procedures they are given are going to provide a miracle. Rather than me chiming in personally, allow me to show you a few studies on this matter.
The June 13, 2013 issue of Insight Research Tools; the official journal of The Medicare NewsGroup --- an organization whose motto is, "Understanding Medicare: Care, Cost, Control and Consequences" --- carried an article called End-of-Life Care Constitutes Third Rail of U.S. Health Care Policy Debate. The article carried these statistics concerning end-of-life care. "In 2011, Medicare spending reached close to $554 billion, which amounted to 21 percent of the total spent on U.S. health care in that year. Of that $554 billion, Medicare spent 28 percent, or about $170 billion, on patients’ last six months of life."
Forbes Magazine ran an article by Michael Bell about six months prior to that in January of 2013 (Why 5% of Patients Create 50% of Health Care Costs) that revealed some rather shocking statistics. "According to one study (Banarto, McClellan, Kagy and Garber, 2004), 30% of all Medicare expenditures are attributed to the 5% of beneficiaries that die each year, with 1/3 of that cost occurring in the last month of life. I know there are other studies out there that say slightly different things, but the reality is simple: we spend an incredible amount of money on the last year and the last month." The same article went on to give us more research into how well this misguided attempt at compassion is working.
"In the Archives of Internal Medicine, a study asked if a better quality of death takes place when per capita costs rise. In lay terms the study found that the less money spent in this time period, the better the death experience is for the patient. It seems that no matter how much money you use during that last year / month, if the person is sick enough, the effort makes things worse. A lot of the money being spent is not only not helping, it is making that patient endure more bad experiences on a daily basis. The patient’s quality of life is being sacrificed by increasing the cost of death."
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. The reality of the situation is that we don't really have a "healthcare" system in America, we have a sickness care system, with an extremely small segment of the population using most of the resources. Unfortunately, I rarely if ever see patients who are given any sort of meaningful advice on things like diet (HERE) or lifestyle changes (HERE) during their doctor visits. What I do see is a system that is so focused on making massive amounts of money (HERE) that they have sold their collective souls. If this system of healthcare delivery is not reigned in and reorganized (preferably not by the Federal Government, who has already proved they can't be trusted (HERE), the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE will be here sooner, rather than later.
HEARTBURN / ACID REFLUX DRUGS
MORE DANGEROUS THAN MOST PEOPLE REALIZE
"Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are medications that are ubiquitous in a gastroenterologist's practice. There have been emerging concerns with reports of potential adverse effects associated with use of PPIs. In the United States, such reports have led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a number of broad-based product warnings, including all of the available PPI drugs either for prescription or over-the-counter purchase. These potential interactions have ranged from alteration of absorption of vitamins and minerals, metabolic effects on bone density, drug interactions, or alterations of intended effect, infection risk, and hypersensitivity response with consequent organ damage." The introduction of a 2013 study (Reported Side Effects and Complications of Long-term Proton Pump Inhibitor Use) from the medical journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
"Clinicians should appreciate the risk of acute interstitial nephritis during treatment with PPIs, monitor patients appropriately and discourage the indiscriminate use of these drugs." From the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Proton Pump Inhibitors and the Risk of Acute Kidney Injury in Older Patients: A Population-Based Cohort Study). "Studies have shown that once you’re on them, it’s hard to stop taking them. It's almost like an addiction" Dr. Shoshana J. Herzig of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, from Roni Caryn Rabin's June 25, 2012 article in the New York Times called Combating Acid Reflux May Bring Host of Ills.
It seems that the same study has shown a nearly 300% increase in hospitalizations for Kidney Failure in the elderly patients who take these drugs. Here's the scoop. If you are over 65 and don't take heartburn drugs, your chances of ending up in the hospital for Kidney Failure are 5.46 out of 1,000 (number one reason is NSAID use / abuse). Take the PPI's and you increase your chances to 13.49 per 1,000 people. I don't care who you are, that's a scary increase ---- especially when you consider that hospitalization for Kidney Failure is just the tip of the iceberg. Kidney Failure means that now you get to look forward to dialysis for the rest of your (shortened) life.
But for a moment let's forget about Kidney Failure and dialysis. Because these drugs are so popular (some estimate they are taken by nearly 10% of the adult population, and are said to be the third most commonly taken class of drugs in America), I want to spend a few minutes showing you the wide array of health problems that Proton Pump Inhibitors are associated with in the peer-reviewed medical literature.
- HEARTBURN AND ACID REFLUX: Wait a minute. I was under the impression that these drugs are prescribed to solve this problem? Correct. However, in the same way that headache medications cause large numbers of headaches via a process known as "REBOUND" (headaches caused by the medicine itself), there is a similar phenomenon with PPI's known as "Rebound Acid". A study (Proton-Pump Inhibitor Therapy Induces Acid-Related Symptoms in Healthy Volunteers After Withdrawal of Therapy) as reported in the July 2009 issue of Gastroenterology, concluded that, "PPI therapy for 8 weeks induces acid-related symptoms in healthy volunteers after withdrawal." In case you were wondering; after factoring out the placebo effect, nearly 1/3 of the study's participants were affected.
- INFECTIONS: Contrary to popular opinion, we need plenty of really strong stomach acid for any number of reasons besides digestion (more on this shortly). Although I am not going to take time to list the myriad of studies here, be aware that the peer-reviewed scientific literature is associating PPI use with with increased chances of being infected by any number of bacteria, including H. PYLORI (the bacteria responsible for Stomach Ulcers), C. DIFF, PNEUMONIA, and several others. Couple the use of PPI's with ANTIBIOTICS and your odds of developing some sort of funky DYSBIOSIS skyrocket. All of this has to do with the fact that this class of drugs throws a monkey wrench in your MICROBIOME. This was seen in last year's study in the medical journal of the same name (Prolonged Use of A Proton Pump Inhibitor Reduces Microbial Diversity: Implications for Clostridium Difficile Susceptibility). While this study only looked at the effects of PPI's on C. Diff, once you realize that 80% of your Immune System is made up of the 500 to 2,000 different strains of "good" bacteria living in your Gut (HERE), it should become painfully obvious that this issue is far bigger than a single strain of bacteria.
- ANEMIA: This happens in at least two different ways. Firstly, you need strong stomach acid to digest protein. Despite what the vegan crowd will tell you, good ole red meat is one of the best sources of iron available. Besides this, you need strong stomach acid to ignite your body's intrinsic factor for vitamin B-12. A failure of either pathway leads to ANEMIA --- a deal-breaker as far as true recovery from chronic conditions is concerned.
- ALL MANNER OF MINERAL DEFICIENCIES, INCLUDING OSTEOPOROSIS: Minerals can only be absorbed in an extremely acidic environment such as the stomach. If you inhibit the amount or strength of the acid found there, you will inhibit your body's ability to absorb critical minerals --- even though your diet itself might contain plenty of said minerals. Again, this can lead to Anemia (see the previous bullet point), but is also a major factor in developing OSTEOPOROSIS. This is such a well known fact that our own FDA put out an official warning in March of 2011 (Possible Increased Risk of Fractures of the Hip, Wrist, and Spine with the Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors) stating that, "The available data show that patients at highest risk for fractures received high doses of prescription PPIs and/or used a PPI for one year or more. In contrast to prescription PPIs, OTC PPIs are marketed at low doses and are only intended for a 14 day course of treatment up to 3 times per year." As you'll soon see, few people take the OTC drugs in this class as suggested on the label.
- OBESITY: The truth is, just like SLEEP APNEA, having Heartburn or GERD (Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease) is thought by most physicians and researchers to be a byproduct of OBESITY as well as our collectively crappy diets. However, we've known for a number of years that PPI's actually cause Obesity as well. This should not come as a big surprise once you realize that your weight is intimately related to the bacteria in your GUT, whether good or bad (HERE). No pun intended, but try this study on for size. The October 2009 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Long-Term Treatment with Proton Pump Inhibitor is Associated with Undesired Weight Gain) concluded that, "Long-term PPI treatment was associated with bodyweight gain in patients with GERD." How much weight gain? 71% of the test subjects gained an average of 6.2% of their bodyweight over an average of about two years time. Gulp!
- CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS: Can you say heart disease and stroke? A group of eight physicians and researchers came to the conclusion in last April's issue of Circulation --- the official journal of the American Heart Association (Proton Pump Inhibitors and Cardiovascular Risk) that, "chronic exposure to PPIs might be expected to impair vascular homeostasis, and potentially expose consumers to an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events. We will soon publish pharmacovigilance data regarding this question. The accumulating data raises a concern for the medical community and regulatory bodies regarding the cardiovascular safety of these agents." Good luck with that. This class of drug is such a huge moneymaker, don't expect the FDA to step in any time soon. By the way, I wrote about this phenomenon a couple of years ago (HERE).
- ANXIETY & DEPRESSION: Although I have not seen actual studies on this, these side-effects are listed on the "trust us" insert found with PPI's. Once you understand the relationship between GUT HEALTH AND BRAIN FUNCTION, it's easy to grasp why.
- CONSTIPATION: CONSTIPATION is one of the most common side-effects of PPI use, and is easy to comprehend, once you understand the relationship of good bacteria to intestinal motility (the ability of your body to "push" digesting food through the intestines).
- OTHERS: Believe me when I tell you that I could have included any number of other problems here. The truth is, I could have written a book. Again; it's not hard to understand why, once you realize how foundational DIGESTION is to health. There are so many body systems can go haywire without plenty of potent Stomach Acid. I don't care how good your diet is; if you fail to digest and absorb the nutrients in your food, it doesn't really matter. Which is exactly what will happen --- especially when it comes to protein --- if you are deficient in Stomach Acid.
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS INFORMATION ABOUT PPI USE
The idea that you have too much or too strong Stomach Acid, and that it's causing your problems, is rarely anything other than pure and unadulterated poppycock. In case you have not figured it out, you need strong Stomach Acid, and lots of it for digestion. A failure in this area leads to a failure to digest food --- particularly protein ---- properly. Instead of digestion, the food goes through a process similar to fermentation called putrefaction (can you say putrefy?). This is where the food sits in your stomach and churns, not really digesting, but instead rotting, and not being allowed to enter into the Small Intestine because it's not acidic enough. Even though the food is not being digested by Stomach Acid (Hydrocholric Acid or HCl), it is high in other sorts of organic acids. Two things happen in this case.
Firstly, the valve at the bottom of the stomach tends to stay shut. When sensors detect high enough levels of Stomach Acid in the digesting food, the valve at the bottom of the stomach opens and allows the bolus into the small intestine. If not, the food tends to stay in the stomach too long, churning up into the esophagus and burning people. Sometimes this problem is so severe, people will have a burn line (ring) around their mouth / lips.
Interestingly enough, if you start looking, it's easy to find any number of physicians and researchers who are raising red flags about these drugs. Unfortunately, as far as the general public is concerned, the warnings seem to be falling on deaf ears (or more likely, they are being drowned out by Big Pharma). Despite the astounding number of Americans taking drugs from this class (children and particularly infants are the newest and hottest market), research reveals that like most drugs, they are way over-prescribed. We can turn to the VA (Veterans Administration) for an idea of just how severe this problem of over-prescription really is.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine called Proton Pump Inhibitor Prescriptions and Subsequent Use in US Veterans Diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, concluded the following. "Many Veterans receive high total daily dose PPI prescriptions as initial therapy for a GERD diagnosis, and few patients have evidence for cessation or reduction of therapy." This begs the question of how high is high? Last May's issue of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research helped answer this by revealing that, "The quantity of initial PPI prescriptions provided to Veterans does not reflect the guideline recommendations for GERD management and could affect long-term use of these pervasive medications." In article carried by that same month in US Medicine: The Voice of Federal Medicine, the author of the previous study (Dr. Andrew Gawron) stated, "It seems that, once these veterans are prescribed a PPI, they are rarely taken off of it. Two years after their initial prescription, most are still on the drug."
If you are interested in getting off PPI's, you'll have to go about it systematically. As crazy as it might sound to you right now, one of the first things you'll need to do is acidify your stomach without acidifying your body. The acidifiers I currently use in practice are Raw Apple Cider Vinegar for mild cases (get it at any health food store), and Zypan, by STANDARD PROCESS for more severe cases. More than likely, you'll need to LOSE WEIGHT as well. HERE is a post to help with the whole process. Remember; the longer you are on these acid-blocking drugs, the greater the chances of developing severe, irreversible damage. And just for grins, why not ask your doctor some questions about the information found in this post before robotically filling your next prescription.
COMMON PHARMACEUTICALS LINKED TO
INCREASED ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE has become an epidemic here in America, with everyone and his brother trying to figure out what causes it (if you click the link, you'll see that the list is significant). According to the most recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine (another of the many scientific journals published by the American Medical Association) you can now add any number of common drugs to this list.
Certain kinds of ANTIDEPRESSANTS, SLEEPING AIDS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, VALIUM, Antihistamines, and drugs taken to control urinary incontinence (Antimuscarinics), as well as certain anti-ulcer drugs and cardiovascular medications that are known as "Anticholinergics" (they block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine). Listen to what a popular online encyclopedia has to say about acetylcholine: "One well-supported function of acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain's cortex is increased responsiveness to sensory stimuli, a form of attention..... Some forms of learning and plasticity in the cortex appear dependent on the presence of acetylcholine" In other words, hinder the ability of actylcholine to work as it should and some of the numerous effects you are going to get include distractedness, unresponsiveness, and an inability to learn.
This is almost exactly what researchers from the University of Washington's School of Pharmacy discovered and subsequently published in their study (Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia), which is a continuation of a study that started over two decades ago. None of the individuals had Dementia when they started the study, but after an average of 7.3 years, nearly one in four did; with 80% of these being diagnosed as Alzheimer's. The medicated group had nearly double the amount of Dementia as did the non-medicated group. And there's a punch-line to this study, but it won't leave you laughing.
In a sister article published in the same issue of the journal (Adverse Cognitive Effects of Medications: Turning Attention to Reversibility), we discover that unfortunately these cognitive side effects of anticholinergic drugs cannot be reversed simply by pulling patients off their meds. Listen to what the authors say. "The risk for dementia was consistent when comparing participants with recent and past heavy use of such medications with nonusers, suggesting that the adverse cognitive effects are permanent. Other studies have consistently shown similar results." Other studies? What other studies?
Although the press is treating this study that came out two days ago as though it is big news, rest assured that there is nothing new here. Not only did we see the same thing six years ago in the very same journal (Drugs With Anticholinergic Properties, Cognitive Decline, and Dementia in an Elderly General Population), but we saw it late last summer as well. We can't really "oooohhh" and "aaahhh" about how scary this most recent study is, when the September issue of the British Medical Journal carried an almost identical one (Benzodiazepine Use and Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: Case-Control Study). Should we be surprised by any of this? How could we be, when it's the very nature of what we call "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE".
AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE MEDICAL TREATMENT......
IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSION
- ANTIBIOTICS: ANTIBIOTICS do absolutely nothing to boost your Immune System, and in fact are probably one of the single worst things you can do for your overall health (among other things, they cause Cancer --- HERE). Once you realize that 80% OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM is made up of the good bacteria living in your digestive tract, you can begin to understand how this class of drug destroys GUT HEALTH, which destroys your overall health.
- DRUGS IN GENERAL: Unfortunately, Antibiotics are not the only drug that destroy Gut Health. MOST DRUGS have Antibiotic-like properties that to various extents, accomplish the same thing.
- NSAIDS: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are a huge destroyer of the Immune System as well. This is a two-fold problem. Not only is this class class of drug the number one reason for GI Bleeds, but they attack one of the chief ways your Immune System fights sickness and disease ---- INFLAMMATION. Attacking Inflammation sounds well and good until you realize that "Inflammation" is the collective name given to several dozen chemicals made by ---- yep; your Immune System (HERE). This is why NSAIDS are associated with so many serious health problems, including dramatically increasing one's chances of developing Cancer (HERE), or even dying (HERE).
- CORTICOSTEROIDS: The only drugs that suppress the Immune System more strongly than Cortisone / CORTICOSTEROIDS are the "anti-rejection" drugs given to people who have undergone an organ transplant, or the TNF-Alpha blockers taken by millions with autoimmune diseases such as RA.
- PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS: As strange as it might seem to those who don't know better, one of your first lines of defense against all sorts of pathogenic invaders is stomach acid. Contrary to everything you think you know, the average American does not have enough of it (HERE).
- VACCINES: I would never argue that on some level, vaccines prevent diseases. However, there are lots of experts saying that if you want a powerful immune system your entire life, it must, at least on some level, be allowed to develop and mature. According to the HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS, the ZANY NUMBER OF vaccines be foisted on us from cradle to grave is creating problems with our MICROBIOMES that are likely at least partially to blame for our nation's explosion in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, neurological disorders, and cancer. A ready example is the adjunt that is found in all vaccines --- aluminum (HERE & HERE).
- WASTED DOCTOR VISITS: While a "Doctor Visit" is not technically a drug (it is where drugs are prescribed), it can be typically viewed as a wasted opportunity to educate patients about the things that could potentially regulate the function of their Immune Systems. For instance, if people simply ate a LOWER CARB or even PALEO-LIKE diet, they would dramatically diminish Inflammation naturally (HERE), and control infection naturally, simply by forgoing the sugar (HERE). My point here is that far too many doctors have become "pushers" for Big Pharma, spending little or no time actually sharing with their patients the things they need to be doing in order to get healthy and stay that way.
DRUG REACTIONS AND UNDER-REPORTING
"Last year, nearly 4 billion prescriptions were filled in retail U.S. pharmacies. These are staggering numbers. Yet, despite the steady upward trend of prescriptions filled per year, (about 300 million more annually) are we any healthier? I would certainly argue this is not the case. In fact, the World Health Report of 2000 ranked the United States number 37 in overall healthcare. Despite numerous policy changes and enormous increases in healthcare spending, it isn’t looking more promising at the time being." United States Tops 4 Billion Annual Prescriptions: Is Our Health Improving? by Chris Sovey from the October 5, 2012 Healthy Consumer. That number is now at least 4.45 billion prescriptions.
"In 1993, Dr. David Aaron Kessler, commissioner of the FDA from 1990 to 1997, told the Journal of the American Medical Association that only 1% of serious adverse events are reported. This means that the true number of deaths from FDA-approved drugs and devices is 100 times higher than reported. Other authorities, including Dr. David Bates, an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, suggest the figure is closer to 5%. Dr. Bates writes: Hospitals have had strong incentives not to identify too many of these adverse drug events. Reporting large numbers of adverse events and any serious preventable event brings intense scrutiny from regulators and the public. Thus, most hospitals have relied on spontaneous reporting, which only identifies about 1 in 20 adverse reactions and leads to the perception that injuries from ADRs are less common than they really are." From ANH USA's The Problem of Underreporting
Stop and do the math. That adds up to over 13 prescriptions per year for every man, woman, and child in the United States. That means that for every person who makes zero trips to the drug store, someone is making twenty-six. It's not difficult to understand why there is a pharmacy franchise on every corner, or why ADR's are a catastrophic problem for our nation.
But honestly, I don't want to spend an inordinate time on ADR's, AE's, drug reactions, side effects, or whatever you want to call them. If you want to, you can go online and make your head swim with the absolutely freaky numbers (HERE are some statistics for you). What I am actually more interested in today's post is the under-reporting of these ADR's. What do I mean by "under-reporting"? Follow along as I show you another of the medical community's dirty little secrets.
- The February 1997 issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology (Under-Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions in General Practice) shed some light on this topic by revealing some shocking statistics, after following over 80 GP's for only three days. Here are some 'cherry picked' sentences from this study's abstract. "The average number of ADRs observed per day per GP was 1.99 which indicates that, as a whole, GPs might be expected to report only 1 out of every 24 ADRs to the pharmacovigilance centre. Under-reporting was lowest for serious and unlabelled effects and for drugs marketed recently. Adverse effects due to drugs are part of GPs routine activities." Wow! GP's deal, on average, with two ADR's per day, which does make ADR's a "routine" activity. Notice that only about 4% were reported.
- Three years later in Y2K, a position-paper released by the World Health Organization (Safety Monitoring of Medicinal Products: Guidelines for Setting Up and Running a Pharmacovigilance Centre) revealed that less than 10% of the doctors are reporting ADR's. "Under-reporting is a common phenomenon in all countries. Correcting for under-reporting is difficult, however, because its extent is unknown and very variable. Even at established centres the reported proportion of serious reactions may not be more than 10%. Several of the countries participating for many years in the WHO Drug Monitoring Program receive 200 or more adverse reactions per million inhabitants annually from about 10% of physicians. In many other countries, however, the reporting rates are much lower." In other words, all of the data on ADR's --- even in the "developed" countries --- seems to be coming from the few physicians who actually report. And for the record, this study does not say that 10% of reactions are being reported, it says that only 10% of physicians report at all.
- We see the same principle in play with CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS. Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) stated that, "Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler estimated in a 1993 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that less than one percent of doctors report injuries and deaths following the administration of prescription drugs". Fisher went on to say that this estimate, "may be even lower for vaccines. In one study that our organization conducted in New York in 1994, only 1 doctor in 40 ever reported to VAERS [the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System]." This is particularly true with FLU VACCINES.
- Is this only an "American" problem? Nope. The September 2006 issue of the Canadian medical journal BCMJ (the British Colombian Medical Journal) carried the study, Drug Safety: Side Effects and Mistakes or Adverse Reactions and Deadly Errors? In it, authors Carleton and Smith concluded that, "Adverse drug events are a leading cause of preventable patient harm. Patients can suffer from an adverse reaction to a drug, an improper dose, or a lack of drug treatment. Adverse drug reactions rank as one of the top causes of death and illness in the developed world and have huge socioeconomic significance. It is estimated that as few as 5% of all adverse drug reactions are reported to appropriate agencies. Children are particularly vulnerable. Medication errors are estimated to account for more than 5% of hospital admissions." Many experts would argue that the stat given in the last sentence above is far too low.
- In a 2006 meta-analysis of peer-review on the topic from the medical journal Drug Safety (Under-Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions: A Systematic Review), the authors concluded that, "The median under-reporting rate across the 37 studies was 94%. There was no significant difference in the median under-reporting rates calculated for general practice and hospital-based studies. Five of the ten general practice studies provided evidence of a higher median under-reporting rate for all ADRs compared with more serious or severe ADRs".
- Three years later the same journal published a review of 45 papers on the same topic (Determinants of Under-Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions: A Systematic Review) but asked the question "why?". In other words, why are the rates of ADR's so high? After saying that, "A voluntary reporting system of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) is fundamental to drug safety surveillance but under-reporting is its major limitation," they revealed why reporting wasn't happening (these are in the order listed). "medical specialty [doctors under-report more than those who work with them, such as nurses, techs, etc.], ignorance, diffidence, indifference, insecurity, complacency, lethargy, lack of time, lack of interest."
- A 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Postgraduate Medicine (Improving the Reporting of Adverse Drug Reactions in the Hospital Setting) started their paper (written by two medical doctors, a pharmacist, and an MBA), with some interesting facts on who is and who isn't reporting. "The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is perceived by the public as having a substantial responsibility to ensure drug safety; however, the FDA has limited resources for active surveillance and relies on voluntary reporting of adverse events and potential adverse drug reactions. Studies have shown that underreporting of adverse events and adverse drug reactions is widespread. Furthermore, a review of several studies demonstrates that most adverse drug reactions are reported by pharmacists and nurses, with physicians reporting the fewest." "Voluntary" is nice. I certainly wish the IRS would allow me to "voluntarily" pay my taxes. What voluntary reporting of ADR's does in healthcare, however, is completely skew what we oxymoronically refer to today as "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE," making almost every drug you can name appear to be much safer than it really is.
AND JUST THIS YEAR -- 2014 -- WE LEARNED THESE TIDBITS
- In a story that was published just one short month ago by Rachel Lutz in the Pharmacy Times (Pharmacists Underreport Adverse Drug Reactions Due to Inadequate Training), we see that these educational efforts still aren't paying off as she revealed that, "A lack of training on pharmacovigilance likely leads pharmacists to underreport adverse drug reactions (ADRs), according to a recent analysis."
- But do educational efforts work in reducing ADR's? Maybe they do in some countries, but listen to these conclusions of a study published in one of this year's issues of ISRN Pharmacology (Effect of Educational Intervention on Adverse Drug Reporting by Physicians: A Cross-Sectional Study). After looking at CME (Continuing Medical Education) efforts to educate practicing Indian physicians about the need to report any ADR's, and then comparing the educated physicians to docs that did not undergo CME, they concluded that, "The most important revelation of this study was that although adequate knowledge and the right attitude about adverse drug reaction reporting were instigated in the doctors after the educational intervention, the practice was still neglectful in both groups." In plain English, this means that the educational efforts of the past two decades don't seem to be making a lot of difference.
- Just a few months ago, the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal (Knowledge and Awareness of Adverse Drug Reactions and Pharmacovigilance Practices Among Healthcare Professionals..) wrote that, "Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) are scantly reported with poor contribution by healthcare professionals worldwide and in particular in developing countries." So; how did their country (a country that is by any measure "developed") stack up? "Most hospitals had follow-up documentation systems, but did not include ADRs reporting. There was no distinct pharmacovigilance system in place. Our study has demonstrated a lack of knowledge and awareness of pharmacovigilance and ADRs reporting among healthcare professionals in hospitals. The poor knowledge of ADRs reporting emphasized the urgent need to implement the appropriate strategies to improve the awareness of pharmacovigilance practices and ADRs reporting."
UPDATED INFORMATION ON UNDER-REPORTING ADVERSE DRUG REACTIONS
- In 2015, Luke Timmerman, writing for Forbes (Failing To Report Severe Drug Side Effects: A National Embarrassment) stated that "The FDA doesn’t have the resources to do truly rigorous post-market safety surveillance, so it concentrates most of its energy on reviewing data from controlled clinical trials before it allows a drug on the market. Well-controlled, randomized clinical trials are the best thing we have for assessing drug safety and effectiveness before a product hits the market. But they are too small and too selective to provide a representative view of a drug’s safety profile once it starts being prescribed to many patients on the market." This is why so many drugs get approved by the FDA even though they are later proved crappy and pulled off the market (or like TAMIFLU and others, should be pulled off the market). Later that same year the Canadian government came out with Canada's Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting System: A Failing Grade, in which they concluded "Less than 10% of ADRs and perhaps as few as 1-2%, are thought to be reported in SRS [the Canadian reporting system]. A review of 37 studies from 12 countries, including one from Canada, provided an estimated median rate of under-reporting of 94%."
- When you start looking at the drugs with the most side effects, at the top of the heap you'll find STATINS --- the drugs used to lower cholesterol. In May of 2017, two researchers from Auburn University published a study in Expert Opinion on Drug Safety called Empirical Estimation of Under-Reporting in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), in which they concluded concerning statins, "The majority of drug-ADE pairs showed significant under-reporting. For example, roughly 0.01% to 44% of statin events were reported." How in the name of corn on the cob can one study show a level of reporting side effects of statins of almost 1 in 2, while another shows a level of 1 in 1,000? Another study from 2017 --- this one from April's issue of European Psychiatry (Underreporting of Adverse Drug Reactions: Results From a Survey Among Physicians) concluded that "Drug safety surveillance strongly depends on the spontaneous and voluntary reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADR). From 176 completed questionnaires, most of the physicians stated that they report ADR they have observed to the competent authority rarely (33.5%), very rarely (33.5%) or never (10.8%). The majority (69.9%) had not reported any ADR in 2014."
Bottom line; I could have gone on and on and on and on. In fact, I could have written a book. The cold, hard truth is that drugs are never as safe as you've been led to believe by YOUR DOCTOR, a TV COMMERCIAL, or Aunt Ethel, who claims that the reason she's lived to be 103 years old is because of those wonderful YELLOW PILLS she's been washing down with scotch for the last 45 years.
Unfortunately, I see lots (when I say "lots" here, I mean lots) of people who have been seriously messed up by our nation's CULTURE OF DRUGS. Many are messed up by antibiotics (HERE), although it's frequently statins, the drugs people take for DEPRESSION, or PPI'S that do a number on people as well. And I dare not leave without at least mentioning the insane numbers of shots we give our children that contain ADJVANTS which are being increasingly shown to cause all sorts of neurological problems, including vast amounts of AUTISM. The truth is, it could be anything. If you think I am over-exaggerating, re-read the bullet points above --- or better yet, take a moment to read the "trust us" slip of paper that comes with every prescription you purchase.
What's my advice to you? Get serious about your health and your weight. If you are trusting your doctor to keep you healthy, one one of these days you're in for a rude awakening. Start today doing whatever it takes to get off as many drugs as you possibly can (as always, seek your doctor's permission before doing so). Isn't it time to make the decision to get healthy? After all, you owe it to yourself (HERE). For more information on underreporting, HERE or HERE are recent posts.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MUSCLE RELAXERS
Muscle Relaxers --- particularly Carisoprodol (Soma, Soprodal or Vanadom) --- have not only been shown to be extremely addictive, but a study from November of 2011 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), showed that the incidence of ER visits doubled in the five year period studied (2004 - 2009). But this does not even begin to touch on the issue of side effects of Muscle Relaxers --- particularly the drugs from the Diazapam family (VALIUM). The side effects reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature include....
- SEDATION / LETHARGY / FATIGUE / DROWSINESS / LOSS OF COORDINATION / FAINTING: This is why people are advised not to drive or operate machinery while on these drugs
- PARALYSIS: This is sedation taken to the max
- HEADACHES: HEADACHES are common, and often have causes that can be solved, removing the reason people often take these drugs in the first place.
- IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT / HEART FAILURE / RESPIRATORY FAILURE: Never a good thing.
- CONSTIPATION / DIFFICULTY WITH URINATION: By the way, most hardcore PAIN MEDS cause CONSTIPATION as well.
- DRY MOUTH: A common neurological side effect of numerous drugs.
- TOXICITY / JAUNDICE: Most drugs are cleared by your liver. Put your liver on overload with too many drugs or too much alcohol, and you will have problems.
- LIGHTHEADEDNESS / CONFUSION / BLURRED VISION: Another reason you should not drive or operate machinery while on these drugs.
- CONFUSION / IRRITABILITY / NERVOUSNESS / HALLUCINATIONS / MOOD CHANGES / COGNITIVE CHANGES: Same as above.
- ALLERGIC REACTIONS: Hives, Itching, Rashes, Swelling, etc.
- ABDOMINAL PAIN / NAUSEA / VOMITING / LACK OF APPETITE: More common side effects of numerous different drugs.
Truthfully, I could go on and on and on. What do I recommend for Muscle Spasms? We use a product in our office called Formula 303. Over the years, I have tried numerous other similar products, and patients always tell me that 303 works better. As always, if you deal with underlying INFLAMMATION, chiefly by eating an ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET, you will likely help your cause as well. Be aware that most of the time there is some underlying mechanical reason for Muscle Spasms. Whether the problem is ADHESED FASCIA, TENDINOSIS, SUBLUXATION, ABNORMAL POSTURE, or an ABNORMAL CERVICAL CURVE, (or a combination of several of these) deal with it. Otherwise, when you take the Muscle Relaxers, you are covering symptoms without addressing the underlying cause of those symptoms.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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