Friday, December 10, 2010

Common Prescription Drugs Shown to Work Only 14% of Time

Common Prescription Drugs Shown to Work Only 14% of Time
Americans now spend over $250 billion a year on prescription drugs- more than do all the people in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom combined!

Studies show that drugs as a whole, work for as few as 25% of those who take them. And our growing reliance on these ever more expensive “me too drugs” is creating huge profits for drug companies while ordinary Americans are struggling to pay their health insurance premiums. Between 1998 and 2002, the FDA approved 415 new drugs.

Only 14% of these newly approved drugs were actually uniquely different or innovative in their design.
The other 86% were old drug formulas masquerading as new innovative therapies. 

For example, there are six cholesterol-lowering statins on the market right now, five SSRI anti-depressant drugs, and at least nine ACE inhibitors to treat high blood pressure.

The Medicare prescription drug benefit only made matters worse for health care consumers.

The plan prohibited Medicare from negotiating drug prices, even though those prices continue to rise much faster than inflation.

Representative Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Republican and former chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which oversees the drug industry) co- sponsored the drug bill, was rewarded with a high-paying job as chief executive of the pharmaceutical industry's trade association. Go figure.

Notice the cost and profit margin for the following drugs and see some of the over the counter bargains that often work as well.

Celebrex:  100 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $130
Cost of general active ingredients: $ 0 .60
Percent markup: 21,712%

Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS like Advil cost $15 for 200, 200mg capsules- a prescription strength dose would be 800mg up to 3 times a day. A bargain.

Claritin: 10mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215  
Cost of general active ingredients: $0 .71
Percent markup: 30,306%

The over the counter antihistamine Zyrtec sells for $14 a month.

Sinupret® by Bionorica, has been the #1 most widely recommended, scientifically tested nasal and sinus support formula in Germany for children for more than 70 years and retails for less than $25.

I recommend Sinupret to my patients with seasonal allergies and it works like a charm.

Lipitor: 20mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272
Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80
Percent markup: 4,696%

Zocor: 40mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $350. 27
Cost of general active ingredients: $8.  63
Percent markup: 4,059%

The natural over the counter lipid lowering herbal, gugulipid, 
reduces total cholesterol by 24%, triglycerides by 23%, and raises HDL by 16 percent.
A month supply of gugulipid costs around $25.

I recommend gugulipid for my patients extremely elevated cholesterol levels.

Paxil: 20mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $220
Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60
Percent markup: 2,898%

Prozac: 20mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $247
Cost of general active ingredients: $0 .11
Percent markup: 224,973%

Zoloft: 50mg
Consumer price: $206
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75
Percent markup: 11,821%

There are over 100 peer-reviewed studies showing that S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) is a safe and effective antidepressant. It increases the action of several neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

A review of 23 randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled studies involving 1,757 people with mild to moderate depression shows that the herb St. John’s Wort is as effective as prescription antidepressants.

And studies comparing the over the counter, amino acid 5HTP, to SSRI’s  and older antidepressants have consistently shown that 5HTP is as good, if not better, than the prescription antidepressant drugs.

Prevacid: 30mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $44
Cost of general active ingredients: $1 .01
Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec: 20mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $360
Cost of general active ingredients $0 .52
Percent markup: 69,417%

Over the counter Zantac costs $14 a month.
Even better, consider using natural over the counter digestive enzymes $15-$26 a month.

But drugs have to be expensive, right? All that money is needed for
research and development. Right?
Don’t believe it! Only about 14% of Fortune 500 drug-company
revenues are applied toward research and development, while over 30% is devoted toward marketing.

Truth health doesn't come from a drug. No one has a drug deficiency.
If your a health care bargain shopper drug therapy is best avoided when possible.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About IBS How You Can Reverse IBS In As Few As 2 Weeks

An estimated 40 million Americans suffer with
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Some experts, recognizing that many go undiagnosed, suggest that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects approximately 10–20% of the general population. Irritable bowel
syndrome is characterized by a group of symptoms in which abdominal
pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern, such
as loose or more frequent bowel movements or diarrhea, and/or hard or
less frequent bowel movements or constipation.

We know that gender plays a clear role, as more than 80 percent of IBS patients are
women between 20 and 55 years old.
The criteria for diagnosing IBS is based on the newly modified Rome
criteria (Rome II criteria) as the presence for at least 12 weeks (not
necessarily consecutive) in the preceding 12 months of abdominal
discomfort or pain that cannot be explained by a structural or
biochemical abnormality and that has at least two of following three

(1) pain is relieved with defecation, and its onset is associated (2)
with a change in the frequency of bowel movements (diarrhea or
constipation) or (3) with a change in the form of the stool (loose,
watery, or pellet-like).
Some people with the disorder have constipation (IBS-C). Some have
diarrhea (IBS-D). And some alternate back and forth between
constipation and diarrhea (IBS-A).

IBS symptoms result from what appears to be a disturbance in the
interaction between the gut or intestines, the brain, and the
autonomic nervous system that alters regulation of bowel motility
(motor function) or sensory function.

Research has shown that the cause of IBS is related to neuroendocrine-
immune system dysfunction (brain and stomach hormones). This
connection is largely mediated by the neurotransmitter or brain hormone known as serotonin. The
brain and gut are connected through the neuroreceptors (hormone docking stations)
for serotonin, 5-hydroxytriptamine-3 (5-HT3) and 5-hydroxytriptamine-4 (5-HT4).

These serotonin receptors regulate the perception of intestinal pain
and the GI motility (contractions that move food through the
intestinal tract). Therefore serotonin controls how fast or how slow
food moves through the intestinal tract. In fact, there are more
serotonin receptors in the intestinal tract than there are in the
brain. Ninety percent of serotonin receptors are in the intestinal

Research suggests that IBS patients have extra sensitive pain
receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, which may be related to low
levels of serotonin. Decreased levels of serotonin may help explain
why people with IBS are likely to be anxious or depressed. Studies
show that 54–94% of IBS patients meet the diagnostic criteria for
depression, anxiety, or panic disorder.

Restoring optimal levels of serotonin has been the focus of
traditional drug therapy. Zelnorm, a 5-HT4 receptor agonist, was once
hailed as “the drug” for IBS-c (IBS with frequent constipation), has
recently pulled from the market for its association with heart attacks
and stroke. The percentage of patients taking Zelnorm that had serious
and life-threatening side effects was 10 times higher than the
percentage of patients taking a placebo.

Even before this drug was recalled cardiovascular risks, many experts
warned that this drug was dangerous for its other potential side
effects including severe liver impairment, severe kidney impairment,
bowel obstruction, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches,
abdominal adhesions, gallbladder disease, and back pain.

Lotrinex (Alosetron), a 5-HT3 agonist, is prescribed for IBS-d. Within
8 months of being on the market, reports of ischemic colitis (a life
endangering situation in which the blood supply to the intestines is
blocked) began to grow each day. Lotrinex was responsible for at least
four deaths, probably many more. Many who took the drug reported
severe abdominal pain from constipation.

The drug was taken off the market. It is now back and available with
strict prescribing guidelines. An editorial in The British Medical
Journal suggests that as many as 2 million Americans will be eligible
for the drug under the new guidelines. According to previous reported
side effects, this would result in 2,000 cases of severe constipation,
almost 6,000 cases of ischemic colitis, 11,000 surgical interventions,
and at least 324 deaths.

Antispasmodics (Levsin, Levsinex, Bentyl, Donnatal, etc.) are
routinely prescribed for the treatment of IBS symptoms. Potential side
effects include bloating; blurred vision; clumsiness; constipation;
decreased sweating; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; excessive
daytime drowsiness ("hangover effect"); feeling of a whirling motion;
headache; light-headedness; nausea; nervousness; rash; hives;
difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth,
face, lips, or tongue agitation; confusion; diarrhea; difficulty
focusing eyes; disorientation; exaggerated feeling of well-being;
excitement; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations;
loss of coordination; loss of taste; memory loss; muscle pain;
pounding in the chest; severe or persistent trouble sleeping; trouble
urinating; unusual weakness; very slow breathing; vision changes;

Using potentially dangerous drugs to reduce
symptoms, while ignoring natural and often more effective approaches
is typical of what is wrong with “cookbook” (symptom-focused)

        Reversing IBS With Nutritional Therapy

I find that IBS usually disappears rather quickly once my patient’s
correct their poor eating habits (increase fiber, reduce simple
sugars, caffeine and junk foods), uncover any hidden allergies when
present, including gluten intolerance (Celiac disease), boost optimal
stress coping chemicals (serotonin, magnesium, B-vitamins, etc.),
restore bowel ecology (probiotics), and take the right digestive enzymes with
their meals.



To boost serotonin levels I recommend patients take, the amino acid
responsible for making serotonin, known as 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP).
5HTP along with the right vitamins and minerals, is responsible for making serotonin.

Patients should take 300-400mg a day with food.

Digestive enzymes

Most digestion and absorption takes place in the small intestine and
is regulated by pancreatic enzymes (digestive) and bile. The pancreas
aids in digestion by releasing proteolytic enzymes, which help break
down proteins into amino acids. Natural digestive enzymes are found in
raw fruits and vegetables. Processed foods are usually devoid of
digestive enzymes.

Over consumption of these processed foods can lead to digestive enzyme
deficiencies. This may then lead to malabsorption and or intestinal
permeability syndrome (bloating, gas, indigestion, diarrhea,
constipation, and intestinal inflammation). To ensure proper digestion
and absorption, I recommend taking pancreatic enzymes with each meal.
For stubborn IBS symptoms, I recommend using a high dose, pharmaceutical grade, pure 8X (100% stronger than most over the counter digestive enzymes).


I always recommend people take a good optimal daily allowance
multivitamin/mineral formula. Patients with IBS have depleted their
stress-coping chemicals (serotonin, magnesium, and vitamins) and this not only leads to IBS but also
prevents them from overcoming IBS.
It is a vicious cycle that can only be
broken by taking adequate amounts of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients I’ve already mentioned above.
The mineral magnesium, which is involved in over 300 bodily processes,
is particularly important for reversing the symptoms of IBS-c and IBS-A.

Magnesium helps relax the smooth muscle of the colon (natural
laxative) allowing normal bowel movements. While a diet high in
nutritious fiber is important, magnesium is even more important. A
magnesium deficiency not only causes constipation but can also lead to
heart disease, mitral valve prolapse (MVP), depression, anxiety,
chronic muscle pain, headaches, migraines, fatigue, and many other
unwanted health conditions. Those with IBS-c may need up to 1,000mg of
magnesium each day. While those with IBS-d, may need less than 500mg.
I recommend patients begin with 500mg of magnesium a day, preferably taken in a multivitamin formula.


The human intestines are inhabited by billions of beneficial bacteria.
These bacteria, which are mostly located in the colon, aid in
digestion by fermenting substances that were not digested in the small
intestine and by breaking down any remaining nutrients.A healthy
intestinal tract contains some 2-3 lb. of bacteria and other
microorganisms, such as yeast, that normally don’t cause ay health

However, when the intestinal tract is repetitively exposed to toxic
substances (antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs, etc.), these microorganisms
begin to proliferate and create an imbalance in the bowel flora.
Harmful organisms like yeast and some normally dormant bacteria, begin
to overtake the good bacteria. This is known as intestinal dysbiosis.

IBS and small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth may share similar
symptoms. One study showed that 78% IBS participants had
small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth. To aid in digestion and prevent
intestinal dysbiosis, patients with IBS should take probiotics
(Lactobacillus and Biidobacterium) on a daily basis.

I recommend taking a high dose (9 billion strong), pure, enteric coated probiotic formula once a day on an empty stomach for 2-3 months.

This approach isn’t guaranteed to solve every case of IBS. However, in
the majority of my patients, their IBS symptoms are usually gone within two weeks.
I've developed a IBS Formula, called The Healthy Bowel Formula. You can read more about this formula in my online store or call the clinic 205-879-2383.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Treating and Beating Anxiety

Benzodiazepines have numerous side effects, including poor sleep, seizures, mania, depression, suicide, ringing in the ears, amnesia, dizziness, anxiety, disorientation, low blood pressure, nausea, fluid retention, sexual dysfunction (decreased desire and performance), weakness, somnolence (prolonged drowsiness or a trance-like condition that may continue for a number of days), headaches and tardive dyskinesia. A mind boggling 40% of adults, 60 or older experience drug-induced tics or tardive dyskinesia (tremors or uncontrollable shakes) from taking a benzodiazepine drug. Sadly, for many, these tremors are permanent. Over 61,000 older adults have developed Parkinson’s disease from using antipsychotic drugs (benzodiazepines and antidepressants).  The crippling side effects and addictive nature of these drugs has been known for at least 40 years, yet doctors continue prescribe them at an ever-increasing rate. Surveys show that over 5.6 million adults over the age of 65 are now taking benzodiazepines.

A mouth dropping 50% of all women 60 and older will be prescribed a benzodiazepine drug. And since addiction often occurs within 2 to 4 weeks of starting these drugs, the majority of folks are now dependant on these drugs. Tolerance to the hypnotic (sleep) effects of these drugs may occur within one week.

Symptoms of tolerance are identical to drug withdrawal symptoms and may include anxiety, panic, severe insomnia, muscle pain and stiffness, depression, suicidal thoughts, rage, heart and lung problems, and agoraphobia (extreme fear of public or crowded spaces). Tragically, only 10 to 30% are able to successfully stop taking these drugs, most are addicted for life.

Neurotransmitters and Essential Nutrients Our patients and the public at large should know that the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) come from the vitamins, minerals and amino acids contained in our foods. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can cause an assortment of health related illnesses, especially mood and sleep disorders.

Inhibitory or relaxing neurotransmitters include serotonin and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). The neurotransmitter serotonin is produced from the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP). GABA is mainly produced from the amino acid glutamine.  GABA, 5HTP, and L-Theanine Both GABA and 5HTP, have a calming effect on the brain. Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effectiveness of GABA. But, as we’ve learned these drugs have potentially lethal side effects.

Instead of using a GABA additive loaded with potentially dangerous side effects, why not use an over-the-counter GABA or 5HTP supplement to reduce anxiety, stress, or help with sleep? Both work rather quickly, have few side effects, and can be found at the local health food store. Usually only a small dose of GABA is needed, 500–1,000 mg. taken twice daily on an empty stomach. The brain doesn’t readily absorb GABA, but another amino acid known as L-theanine, can boost GABA levels.

I often recommend L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea. It has a calming effect on the brain. For anxiety related disorders the usual dose is 50-100mg taken on an empty stomach, two to three times daily. Research with human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates its relaxing effect in approximately 30 to 40 minutes after ingestion.

Supplementing with the supplement 5-hydroxytrryptophan (5HTP), a form of the amino acid tryptophan, helps raise serotonin levels. Studies show that 5HTP is as effective in normalizing moods as antidepressant drugs. 5HTP also boosts melatonin levels by 200 percent. The recommended dose is 100mg three times a day.
Amino acid therapy offers a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety-without the numerous side effects associated with benzodiazepines.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RDA-Recommended Disease Allowance

Many so-called experts will tell you not to worry about taking vitamins if you are eating a balanced diet. Unfortunately, dieting alone can’t provide enough essential vitamins and minerals to promote optimal health. For instance, you would need to consume 5,000 calories per day (mostly fat) in order to get the recommend minimum (400 IU) of vitamin E, and 12,000 calories per day to get the minimum amount of chromium. Most of our foods are processed and, therefore, the nutrients have been leeched out of them. Could this be one of the reasons pre-senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have increased so dramatically over the last few decades?

Thousands of studies validate the benefits of taking a multivitamin/mineral formula on a daily basis. These studies have been reported in medical journals, popular newspapers and magazines. A good multivitamin/mineral formula offers a broad range of health benefits. Taking a daily multivitamin/mineral formula reduces the incidence of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, glaucoma, depression, macular degeneration, diabetes, senile dementia, and various cancers. 

A Few Vitamin Facts

1. Multivitamin Use Is Associated With Lowering A Risk Factor For Cardiovascular Disease. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine states that an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, C-reactive protein (CRP), can be reduced by the intake of a multivitamin. An elevated CRP level found in one’s blood serum is associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Source: American Journal of Medicine, Volume 115, Issue 9

2. Daily Multivitamin Use May Bring Significant Savings To Older Americans. According to a this study, the daily use of a multivitamin by older adults could bring about more than $1.6 billion in Medicare savings over the next five years.

3. Slash Cancer Odds. Taking 200 micrograms of selenium daily for four and a half years cut cancer rate 42 percent and cancer deaths in half in a group of 1300 individuals. The incidence of colorectal cancer dropped 64 percent and prostate cancer an amazing 69 percent!  University of Arizona Study.

4. Prevent Alzheimer’s. Not a single elderly person who took separate doses of vitamin E (200-800 IU) or vitamin C (500-1000 mg) developed Alzheimer’s disease during a four-year double blind study. Chicago’s Rush Institute for Healthy Aging. 

5. Boost Immune System. Taking 200 IU of natural vitamin E daily boosted immune functioning in older people. A supplement with only 60 mg of vitamin E daily did not improve immune functioning. Obviously, superior immune functioning lessens infections, possibly cancer and heart disease. Tufts University Study 

6. Stop Heart Attacks. A daily dose of 400-800 IU of natural vitamin E cut subsequent heart attacks in men with heart problems by an astonishing 77 percent. Cambridge University, England. 

7. Stop Strokes. High doses of B vitamins decreased the amount of plaque in carotid (neck) arteries by 10 percent during a four-year study. Blocked carotid arteries can cause strokes. Plaque increased by 50 percent in non-vitamin B takers. University of Toronto. 

8. Prevent Fractures. Taking 500 mg of calcium and 700 IU of vitamin D daily for three years significantly cut the rate of bone loss and non-vertebral fractures in men and women older than age 65. Tufts University Study. 

9. Save Vision. Women taking vitamin C supplements cut their risk of cataracts by 77 per cent. Tufts University and the National Institutes of Health. 

10. Prolong Life. Taking vitamin E and vitamin C (in higher doses than in a multivitamin) cut chances of death from all causes by 42 percent. Vitamin E users were 47 percent less apt to die of heart disease and 59 percent less likely to die of cancer. National Institute on Aging.

11. Help Decrease The Risk Of Stroke. According to researchers from Harvard, the long-term dietary intake of folate and vitamin B12 may help decrease the risk of ischemic stroke. Source: Stroke, Volume 35, 2004

12. Vitamin C Deficiency May Be Linked To Respiratory Disorders. In a two-year study, researchers found that vitamin C may prevent symptoms linked to airway diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 101, Number 10, 2004

Almost as unacceptable as not recommending vitamin and mineral supplements is the recommendation of them based on the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA is the measured amount or dosage of nutrient per vitamin and minerals recommend. The RDA or as I call it the Recommended DiseaseAallowance,  may keep you from getting Scurvy, but it certainly won’t stand- up to the many chronic diseases that continue to plague modern man.

The U.S. federal government sets these levels based on the “average adult.”  The “average person plan” assumes that you are an adult under 60 years old who is in good health, has normal digestion, isn’t overweight, leads a relatively stress-free life, has no medical problems, doesn’t take any medication, eats a balanced diet, and consumes 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Needless to say, most of us don’t fit into the definition of the average person defined by RDA. In fact, most adult women don’t meet the RDA for zinc, Vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E.  Likewise, most adult men don’t meet the RDA for zinc and magnesium. Fewer than 29% of people eat 5 fresh fruits and vegetables a day. Furthermore, 20% of the U.S. population doesn’t eat ANY fruits or vegetables at all! 

The recommended daily allowance is some fifty years out of date. It was never intended to advance health, only to prevent malnutrition diseases like scurvy or rickets. Taking the minimum amount of a nutrient to prevent gross deficiency diseases doesn’t help those people who want to be truly healthy and not just be free of symptoms. 

The RDA is inadequate if your goal is for prevention and or treatment of heart disease, cancer, cataracts, depression, senility, diabetes, arthritis and other age related disorders. For optimal health and well-being, many health practitioners are recommending many times higher than the RDA on certain nutrients. It’s no secret, for the majority of the U.S. population the diet is poorly lacking in essential nutrients. Additionally, nearly all Americans are deficient even in the minimal RDA requirements, and are therefore exposed to premature death.
Taking an optimal daily allowance multivitamin/mineral formula is the best way to ensure you obtain and maintain optimal health.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Neurontin for Everything?

Neurontin for Everything?

How does a drug company take an unproven, worthless, and potentially dangerous drug like Neurontin, and turn it into a billion dollar blockbuster?  Through deceit, lies, and bribery, reports New York Times health writer and author Melody Peterson.
Peterson, in her book "Our Daily Meds," reveals the chicanery, pseudoscience, and greed behind the marketing of many of today's well-known drugs.

The history of one drug in particular, Neurontin, shows just how deceitful, ruthless, and cold-hearted some drug executives can be.
The original clinical studies evaluating the efficacy of Neurontin for treating epilepsy were less than impressive.

The studies not only showed that the drug was ineffective, and potentially dangerous, but that in 5-10% of patients it actually increased the frequency and severity of the epileptic seizures.

The FDA found the drug be worthless and had grave concerns over its potential dangers. But, eventually they gave in to pressure and allowed Neurontin to be marketed as a second line drug. This meant that it was to be used only after other epilepsy drugs had first been tried and failed.

No problem - drug executives were determined to make Neurontin into a million dollar blockbusting drug and a little thing like science wasn't going to stop them.

It didn't matter that legitimate research had proven that Neurontin was ineffective in the 10 conditions it was being promoted for, including attention deficit disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, migraines, and bi-polar disorder.

Worried the scientific truth may interfere with their plans for establishing Neurontin as a block buster, Pfizer sought to cover-up these studies including the one showing Neurontin was no better than a placebo in reducing diabetic nerve pain- "I think we can limit the potential down sides of the study by delaying the publication for as long a will be more important to how we write up the study."

Realizing that new studies would be expensive and most likely negative, they aggressively hatched a plan to ignore science, clinic trials, and morals, and began to market Neurontin for an assortment of chronic illnesses.

John Ford, a senior marketing executive had this to say at one sales meeting, "Neurontin for pain, Neurontin for monotherapy, Neurontin for bi-polar, Neurontin for everything."

Not to be out done Phil Magistro a senior level sales executive left a voice message for his sales force stating, " When we get out there, we want to kick some ass. We want to sell Neurontin for pain. All right? And monotherapy and everything we can talk about. That's what we want to do."

And that's exactly what the sales reps did; they drank the "purple Kool-Aid" and hyped the snake oil for every illness they could think of. And it worked; eventually 90% of the 2.7 billion dollars in Neurontin sales came from off-label use - 90% of the prescriptions were for unproven uses.

So how does a drug company take an unproven, potentially dangerous drug and successfully market it to doctors?
Easy, deceive then bribe them. The company paid marketing copywriters to write pseudoscientific, and of course, incredibly favorable articles on the wonders of Neurontin.

Medical Education Services, a ghost writing marketing firm was paid $60,000 to create dozens of fabricated studies on Neurontin. Doctors were then paid $1,000 each to "sign-off" on the article.

One in-house memo from this group is revealing - "Draft completed. We just need an author." This particular piece was targeted at children with attention deficit disorder.  Consider the side effects of Neurontin which include:
  Muscle pain
  Skin rash and itching
  Swollen glands
  Sore throat and fever
  Difficulty in concentration
  Mental depression
  Increased chance of certain types of seizures
  Mood or mental changes
  Nosebleeds or other unusual bleeding or bruising
  Shortness of breath
  Sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth
  Unusual tiredness or weakness
  Wheezing, tightness in chest, or troubled breathing

Sales reps were paying doctors to recommend this drug to 10 year olds. Scary huh?

Sales reps found doctors were enthusiastic to attend- "meet, greet, and treat dinners." Doctors were paid to up to $300 to hear sales pitches for Neurontin while dining at 4 star restaurants. The doctors giving these dinner talks were paid up to $100,000 a year.

And Neurontin sales executives were also happy to pay doctors $750 each to attend all expense paid vacations including one at the posh Château Élan located just outside Atlanta. Doctors received continuing education hours while being brainwashed on the wonders of Neurontin in the morning, leaving their afternoons free to lounge by the pool, get their daily spa-treatment, play golf, dine on gourmet meals, and enjoy the nightly entertainment, including free tickets to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Not satisfied with their growing largesse, marketing executives decided to simply pay doctors $350 for every patient they placed on Neurontin.

In 2004, the lies and deceit campaign came to end. Pfizer pleaded guilty to criminal fraud in the promotion of Neurontin, and agreed to pay $430 million.
In October 2008 a new lawsuit, brought by the same attorney, alleges that the company's misdeeds went much further than originally charged.

According to newly unsealed court documents, not only did the company and its subsidiaries push Neurontin for unapproved uses--the practice at the center of the first suit, which Pfizer admitted to as part of its settlement--they did so knowing that the drug was ineffective for several of those conditions.

Pfizer, according to the documents, engaged in "outright deception of the biomedical community, and suppression of scientific truth"--stalling or stopping the publication of negative study results; manipulating both trial designs and data to make the drug look more effective than it was; and using questionable tactics to enhance the drug's image and increase its sales.

The question is how many other drugs are being marketed with little to no scientific studies to prove them effective? Could Pfizer's Lyrica, the spitting image of Neurontin (same drug, different packaging) be the snake oil? Perhaps, so since the studies for it and fibromyalgia are less than stellar- in spite of the real likelihood that the study was manipulated to yield positive results.

Melody Peterson's book "Our Daily Meds" is a must read for anyone who wants to make informed decisions about their most important asset, their health.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Electromagnetic Fields And Poor Sleep

Electromagnetic Fields And Poor Sleep
Artificially generated electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are produced when alternating current passes through electrical wires or a portal device, like your cell phone. The energy that's produced, known as an EMF, exerts pressure and impacts everything around it including the cells in your body.
The Earth has its own static electromagnetic fields, with magnetic poles located roughly at our North and South Poles. We don't fully understand these magnetic fields. We do know that many of our basic bodily functions, including sleep and sense of direction are largely controlled by these fields.

For decades, numerous scientific entities including the World Health Organization have been telling the public that there are almost no credible health risks from excess exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The official public-health-agency position is that, aside from a small increased risk of childhood leukemia, consumers are perfectly safe no matter how many appliances litter their homes and offices, or how many power lines exist nearby.

However, this view is being challenged by dozens of studies including the $8 million, seven-year study by the California Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) Program.
"To one degree or another, all three of the scientists who worked on the EMF Program are inclined to believe that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease and miscarriage," says Dr. Raymond Neutra, one of the scientists who wrote the report.

I’ve been educating my patients about the potential dangers of excess EMFs for several years now. I’m particularly concerned EMFs and their ability to deplete normal melatonin levels. Low melatonin levels contribute to poor sleep- linked to numerous health conditions including anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, obesity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, hypothyroid, low metabolism, accelerated aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, diabetes, and migraine headaches.

The Importance of Melatonin
The pineal gland is located at the base of our brain, and the ancient Greeks considered it the seat of the soul. This thought may not be far off, since the pineal gland is responsible for releasing melatonin, an extremely important hormone that plays a vital role in regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin is a potent antioxidant that plays a part in preventing cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, colds, chronic inflammation, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, headaches, and heart disease.

Once a curiosity to scientists, melatonin is now known to slow down or perhaps even reverse the effects of aging. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that, unlike other antioxidants, can cross the blood-brain barrier and attack any free radicals floating around in the brain. This is perhaps one reason why it is so important in preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, two illnesses that attack the brain.

Normally, melatonin levels in your body begin to rise in the mid-to-late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then decline in the early morning hours.
But some things can work against your body’s production of melatonin. Levels gradually decline with age, and some older adults produce very small amounts or none at all.
Melatonin is also affected by a person’s exposure to light.

Levels start to rise as the sun goes down and drop off as the sun comes up. The eyes are extremely sensitive to changes in light, and an increase in light striking the retina triggers a decrease in melatonin production. Conversely, limited exposure to light increases melatonin production.

Exposure to electromagnetic fields can also deplete melatonin. Do you keep any of these things in your bedroom? Electric clock or radio, electric blanket, sound machine, cell phone, electric telephone, electric fan, television, or computer? In fact, any plugged-in electrical device generates electromagnetic fields. I recommend you remove all EMF generating appliances from your bedroom.

Melatonin levels can also be decreased by certain drugs including non-steroidal anti- inflammatory (NSAIDs), antidepressants (SSRI’s), and anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines).

Sleep Hygiene
If you’re like some 20 million Americans who find it hard to fall asleep at night find it hard to fall asleep at night, you may be suffering from delayed sleep phase insomnia- a disruption of normal circadian rhythms. Removing those melatonin- zapping EMFs from your bedroom may be all you need to do for a good night’s sleep.
However, if your melatonin levels are really depleted, you may need to use over the counter melatonin replacement therapy. Studies have shown that 3-6 mg. of melatonin taken at 11 p.m. helps reset these rhythms while providing deep restorative sleep.

An alternative to supplementing is to get more melatonin in the foods you eat. Foods high in melatonin include oats, sweet corn, rice, Japanese radishes, tomatoes, barley, and bananas.

I recommend that before bed, you turn off the TV, computer, avoid all EMF generating gadgets (cell phones), and find a comfortable, quiet room (other than your bedroom) where you can read something pleasant by the light of a soft low-wattage lamp.

Relax and read or listen to soothing music for 30 minutes to an hour. Keep the lights low, and avoid any stimulation, especially the TV. Simply pour one cup of Epsom salts into a warm bath, and soak.

Sweet dreams.

A.N. Vgontzas, “Modest sleep loss increases/alters normal secretion of IL-6, TNF-alpha, cortisol,” 84th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, San Francisco, June, 2002.

• T. Wehr et al., “A circadian signal of change of season in patients with seasonal affective disorder,” Archives of General Psychiatry 58(12) (2001): 1108–14.

• H.A. Welker et al., “Effects of an artificial magnetic field on serotonin in acetyl transferase activity in melatonin content in the rat pineal gland,” Exp Brain Research 50 (1983): 426–32.

• I.V. Zhdanova et al., “Sleep inducing effects of low doses of melatonin ingested in the evening,” Clinical Pharmacological Therapeutics 57 (1995): 552–8.

Popp. F.A. Dr.: Is Disease an Energy Disturbance. Lectures: Aug-Sept 1979. Bioresonance and multiresonance therapy, ed. Brugemann.                       
Hans. Haug International Vol. 1. 1993, p.177.

Andrea Alberti1, et al. “Plasma cytokine levels in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: a preliminary study,” Journal of Sleep Research 12(4) (2003): 305.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flu Shots For The Elderly Are Ineffective

Originally taken from-
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 23, 2008 

Flu Shots For The Elderly Are Ineffective

(OMNS, October 23, 2008) Have the elderly people in your family missed their flu shot? If so, they may have made the right decision. 

The New York Times recently reported that "A growing number of immunologists and epidemiologists say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70," and that previous studies may have shown "not any actual protection against the flu virus but a fundamental difference between the kinds of people who get vaccines and those who do not . . . simply because they went to the doctor more often." (1)

Influenza vaccination has been widely touted even though evidence of effectiveness is lacking. One large scientific review looked at 40 years' worth of influenza vaccine studies. It found thatflu shots were ineffective for elderly persons living in the community, and flu shots were "non-significant against influenza" for elderly living in group homes. (2) 

The authors of another major review "found no correlation between vaccine coverage and influenza-like-illness attack rate." (3) 

Author Dr. Thomas Jefferson said, "The vaccine doesn't work very well at all. Vaccines are being used as an ideological weapon. What you see every year as the flu is caused by 200 or 300 different agents with a vaccine against two of them. That is simply nonsense." (4) 

Indeed, he commented, "What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth." (5)

Some still claim that flu vaccinations, even though they do not prevent the flu, may help prevent more serious complications such as pneumonia, so dreaded and so often deadly for the elderly. But the authors of the study discussed in the NY Times article specifically noted that "influenza vaccination was not associated with a reduced risk of community-acquired pneumonia." (6)

As with all immunizations, flu shots can have harmful side effects. Vaccines may contain, among other things, ingredients such as mercury and aluminum, which are widely regarded as toxic. The elderly are more likely to be injured by, or even die from, flu vaccine side effects. Such incidents may remain unreported by hospitals or physicians. 

One man, aged 76, had a flu shot and immediately had to be hospitalized for a week. When family members suggested to the hospital staff and physicians that it was probably a reaction to the shot, their views were disregarded. Two years later the man had another flu shot, and was promptly hospitalized a second time. Family members once again said it was a reaction to the flu shot. The hospital said it was a low-grade infection, probably a bladder infection. The man died.

There are indications that vaccination side effects are underreported. The US Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System receives around 11,000 serious adverse reaction reports each year, mostly from doctors. (7) 

FDA states that "VAERS tracks serious vaccine reactions, not common fevers and soreness from shots. Serious reactions include death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization, and disability resulting from a vaccine." (8) However, FDA admits that they probably receive reports for only about 10 percent of all adverse vaccine reactions. (9)

The National Vaccine Information Center estimates the reporting percentage to be far lower, perhaps under 3 percent. (10)
The exact contents of each year's flu shot is an educated guess. Sometimes this guess is wrong, as it was for 2008, where the vaccine "doesn't match two of the three main types of flu bugs now in circulation. . . . The predominant type A flu virus this year is the H3N2 strain; 87% are the "Brisbane" strain. 

And 93% of this year's type B flu bugs are from the "Yamagata" lineage. The current flu vaccine's H3N2 component is the "Wisconsin" strain; the type B component is from the "Victoria" lineage." (11) Even when the guess is correct, flu viruses frequently mutate and become resistant all over again.

The flu vaccine, notes the NY Times, has not been double-blind, placebo-control tested. Faith in vaccination appears to be greater than the scientific evidence to justify vaccination. Senior citizens already take far more medications than any other segment of the population. The elderly have weaker immune systems. The risk of immunization adverse effects rises accordingly. Increased side effect danger, along with low effectiveness, is a bad combination.

Is their an available alternative? Yes, there may be: give the elderly more nutrients, rather than more needles. 

Older people often have inadequate diets. With ageing and illness, their bodies' need for vital nutrients goes up, yet frequently their intake actually goes down.

Nutritional supplements help fight the flu. Vitamins and minerals have been shown to significantly reduce incidence and duration of influenza. This was already known back when many of today's elderly were still middle-aged. 

32 years ago, twice Nobel-Prize winner Linus Pauling reviewed the nutritional literature and determined that high doses of vitamin C reduce the frequency and shorten the severity of influenza. (12) Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians have repeatedly confirmed this. 

Robert F. Cathcart, MD, successfully treated thousands of viral-illness patients with massive doses of vitamin C. (13) Vitamin D also increases resistance to influenza (14), as do the minerals selenium and zinc. (15)

With good nutrition bolstered with supplemental vitamin and mineral intake, the human body's natural defenses are strengthened and can rapidly adapt to resist new flu strains. Clinical evidence indicates that nutrition is more significant that vaccination. Malnutrition is far more dangerous than not getting vaccinated.

No, there is not a vaccination for every illness. It might be nice if there were, but no shot can make up for poor nutrition.

Over-reliance on vaccinating the elderly ignores their fundamental problems of poor diet and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. These are underlying reasons for a susceptible immune system. Supplemental nutrition is the "other" immune system booster. It is time to use it.

(1) Goodman B. Doubts grow over flu vaccine in elderly. September 2, 2008.

(2) Rivetti D, Jefferson T, Thomas R et al. Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jul 19;3:CD004876.

(3) Jefferson T, Rivetti D, Rivetti A et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in elderly people: a systematic review. Lancet. 2005 Oct 1;366(9492):1165-74.

(4) Gardner A. Flu vaccine only mildly effective in elderly. HealthDay Reporter, Sept 21, 2005.

(5) Rosenthal E. Flu vaccination and treatment fall far short. International Herald Tribune, September 22, 2005.

(6) Jackson ML, Nelson JC, Weiss NS, Neuzil KM, Barlow W, Jackson LA. Influenza vaccination and risk of community-acquired pneumonia in immunocompetent elderly people: a population-based, nested case-control study. Lancet. 2008 Aug 2;372(9636):398-405.

(7) National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161, 703-487-4650703-487-4600.


(9) KM Severyn in the Dayton Daily News, May 28, 1993 cited at

(10) "Investigative Report on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System." National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), 512 Maple Ave. W. #206, Vienna, VA 22180.

(11) DeNoon DJ. Most influenza strains do not match current vaccine. February 11, 2008. Also: Joe Bresee, MD, chief, epidemiology and prevention branch, CDC Influenza Division, Atlanta. CDC news conference, Feb. 8, 2008.

(12) Pauling L. Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu. Freeman, 1976.

(13) Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titrating to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy. Med Hypotheses. 1981 Nov;7(11):1359-76.

(14) Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006. Dec;134(6):1129-40.

(15) Girodon F, Galan P, Monget AL et al. Impact of trace elements and vitamin supplementation on immunity and infections in institutionalized elderly patients: a randomized controlled trial. MIN. VIT. AOX. geriatric network. Arch Intern Med. 1999 Apr 12;159(7):748-54.
For more information:

Video questioning influenza vaccine 
A humorous look at flu vaccine: