Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Is the FDA really looking out for our best interests? According to a recent Frontline program aired on PBS, the answer appears to be a resounding No. The program interviewed past employees who admitted they were pressured into covering up for potentially harmful medications that often times didn’t prove to be therapeutically effective when compared to other medicines or placebo. Yet these drugs were given patent status and released into the market.
Officials at GlaxoSmithKline, makers of the antidepressant drug Paxil, in internal documents show that it has no benefit to adolescents according to a 1998 trial. According to this document, the officials recommend that staff “effectively manage the dissemination of these data in order to minimize any potential negative commercial impact.” In other words, it doesn’t work.
Other documents from the makers of Paxil show that one in sixty people on Paxil attempt suicide, while one in five hundred fifty on placebo attempt suicide (as reported by the BBC last year). It is sobering to realize that evaluation for drug-induced deaths is not part of the review of safety and efficacy conducted by the FDA.
Typically, only a few hundred patients are treated with a new drug in placebo-controlled trials before the drug is approved. Also, the duration of placebo-controlled treatment is usually short – 30 to 90 days. How, then, will we determine whether a drug increases mortality?
Dr. Thomas Bigger, Columbia University, in an editorial commentary that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, June 1994 Discovering new dangers of drugs after marketing is so common that overall, 51 percent of approved drugs have serious adverse effects not detected prior to approval. Each year prescription drugs injure 1.5 million people so severely they require hospitalization and as stated above, over 100,000 die each year.
Around 1,400 employees work for the FDA whose main duties relate to approving new drugs. Yet, there are only 52 full time employees who monitor the safety of all the drugs currently on the market.
*The FDA estimates that only about 1% percent of adverse events are ever reported.
For example, the toxic effects of the heart medication dioxin are well documented and include a particularly serious heart arrhythmia. Each year, the FDA receives an average of only 82 adverse-reaction reports for dioxin, suggesting that the drug is not particularly dangerous.
However, when Medicare records were systematically studied, a shocking 202,211 hospitalizations due to dioxin adverse effects were found in a seven-year period. This would be equivalent to over 28,000 adverse reactions per year due to dioxin.
JAMA, 1998[279;19]: 1571-1573, Time to Act on Drug Safety, May 20, 1998
What can you do to prevent being another statistic?
Read about every drug you are taking or are considering taking. Learn if there are safer drugs and or natural ways-diet, exercise, supplements you can take or do that will increase your chances of eliminating the cause of your condition.
A case in point-if you have high blood sugar levels or type II diabetes, the cause is usually from excess weight. Losing weight is the answer- not taking drugs.
I've posted to my website, www.treatingandbeating.com, several articles with natural protocols for various conditions including anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, heart disease, ADHD, diabetes, and many more. If you're looking for alternatives to drugs and surgery only mentality my treatingandbeating site is a good place to start. I'd also recommended mayo.org for researching your prescription drugs.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Diuretics reduce edema (fluid retention) and lower blood pressure by reducing sodium and water retention. The three types of diuretics (thiazides, potassium-sparing diuretics, and high-loop diuretics) all work differently, but the goal is to lower blood pressure and/or heart fluid (CHF). These medications include Oretic, Euduron, Reneses, Hygroton, Bumex, Lasix, Anhydron, Diuril, Edecrin, Demadex, Dyrenium, Aldactone, Midamor, Zaroxolyn, and Lozol.
Diuretics may be needed, at least short term for reducing high blood pressure, but long term they are only covering up the symptom-not correcting the cause(s) of the problem.
Never discontinue your diuretic without working with a health care professional. And diuretics are a necessity for individuals with congestive heart disease who are experiencing fluid retention. DON’T STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICINE WITHOUT CONSULTING A KNOWLEDGIBLE HEALH EXPERT.
Lasix depletes vitamin B1 (thiamine), which is a crucial nutrient for heart muscle. A B1 deficiency can cause any of the following, fatigue, mental confusion, depression, anxiety, upset stomach, and tingling in the hands and feet. It is estimated that 50% of elderly adults in the US are deficient in vitamin B1.
Now add Lasix and you create another senile dementia case or someone who now needs an antidepressant medication. This scenario of chasing a side effect with another medication is all too common. Researchers found that when patients taking Lasix added 100 mg of vitamin B1 a day, their heart function improved. Imagine that.16
Diuretics may cause the following side effects; Excessive uric acid in the blood (gout), magnesium deficiency, potassium deficiency, electrolyte imbalance, muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, lowered HDL, excessive sugar in the blood (diabetes), fever, rash, irregular menstrual cycles (Aldosterone), impotence (same), and excessive urination and thirst.17 The use of thiazide diuretics and potassium-sparing diuretics has demonstrated a modest increased risk of breast carcinoma, and the use of certain diuretics may increase the risk of breast carcinoma among older women.18
Diuretics have been shown to cause an eleven-fold increase in diabetes.19 Let me repeat this. Diuretics, yes those little water pills, make you 11 times more likely to develop life-threatening diabetes! Obviously, my patients who tell me, “Doc, I’m just taking a little old’ water pill,” don’t know they may be setting themselves up for some serious health problems.
Aldactone is associated with several severe side effects, especially for individuals with kidney disease. It can cause kidney failure, muscle paralysis, and mental confusion in older adults.20
Dyrenium is a diuretic medication that has been linked to kidney stones, kidney failure, and bone marrow suppression.21
Excess salt and sugar can make you retain water. The DASH diet, see my Heart Disease book, or do a Google search, is a great way to prevent swelling from excess salt intake.
Many foods can act as a diuretic and will aid in the production of urine. This will help you remove fluids from your body. Remember to always use moderation and caution when using a diuretic.
Apple cider vinegar -- is a natural diuretic and helps maintain potassium levels.
Artichoke -- natural diuretic
Asparagus -- contains asparagines, a chemical alkaloid which helps flush the kidneys.
Beets -- attacks floating body fat and fatty deposits.
Brussels sprouts -- cleanse the cell and stimulate thought kidneys and pancreas.
Cabbage -- breaks up fatty deposits.
Carrots -- speeds up metabolic rate and helps remove fat and waste from the body.
Cranberry juice -- aids in the removal of excess fluid from the body.
Cucumber -- stimulate the kidney and aid in the removal of uric acid.
Dandelion And Dandelion Leaf -- natural diuretic, and leaf key aides in the detoxification of the urinary tract.
Green tea -- natural diuretic and has been used for centuries in China.
Fennel -- has a calmative and diuretic property.
Horseradish -- speeds up the metabolism and helps eliminate fluid.
Lettuce -- aids in metabolism and flushing of toxins from the system.
Nettle -- has natural diuretic properties.
Oats -- contains silica in natural diuretic.
Tomatoes -- are rich in vitamin C that aids metabolism in the release of water from the kidneys.
Watermelon -- natural diuretic helps increased urination.
My favorite natural diuretic is standardized hawthorne root and dandelion root. Normally I find that patients who lose any extra weight eliminate problems with water retention and swelling. In my practice I use my Jump Start Weight Loss Program, liberal intake of lemon water (at least 64 ounces a day), and if needed the herbals mentioned above.
You can learn more about my weight loss program here –
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
But is Anyone Paying Attention?
Accounting for 6.5% of the total market share, statin drugs are the most widely sold pharmaceutical drugs in history. To date, Forbes Magazine tells us that statins are earning drug companies $26 billion in annual sales.
Pfizer spends over $3 billion each year to convince us that we need more and more drugs to be healthy. The public and the medical profession have been bamboozled by the legions of drug reps, billion dollar ad campaigns, and creative statistics.
Every weekday, some 38,000 Pfizer sales reps, roughly the size of three army divisions, make their pitches around the globe. They're armed with briefcases full of free drug samples, reams of manipulated clinical data, and lavish expense accounts for wining-and-dining doctors and their staff. The medical profession, its organizations, the media, and the public at large have swallowed the statin drug propaganda, hook, line and sinker.
In 2004, Pfizer's blockbuster drug Lipitor became the first prescription drug to make more than $10 billion in annual sales. Over twenty six million Americans have taken Lipitor, the most popular statin drug. Pfizer is now running full-page Lipitor ads in numerous papers, including The New York Times and USA Today. The ads feature Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart. The ad reads:
In patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease, LIPITOR REDUCES RISK OF HEART ATTACK BY 36%*
The noteworthy part of this ad is the asterisk and this explanation of the 36% statistic: "That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor."
Another Jarvik/Lipitor Times ad proclaims: In patients with type 2 diabetes, LIPITOR REDUCES RISK OF STROKE BY 48%* If you also have at least one other risk factor for heart disease... The explanation: That means in a large clinical study, 2.8% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a stroke compared to 1.5% of patients taking Lipitor.
Twenty six billion dollars a year for a one to two percent decrease risk for heart attack and stroke- that's what all the fuss is about? It almost seems like snake oil. Yet, some doctors are recommending we put statins in the drinking water. Others are now suggesting that infants with a family history of heart disease should take statins as a preventative measure.
The Washington Post ran an article that reported on the PROVE-IT study: "The findings should prompt doctors to give much higher doses of drugs known as statins to hundreds of thousands of patients who already have severe heart problems," experts said. Perhaps "the experts" aren't aware of studies that show low serum total cholesterol is associated with a marked increase in mortality in advanced heart failure.
One of the largest of these studies was conducted at UCLA Department of Medicine and Cardiomyopathy Center in Los Angeles. The study involved more than a thousand patients with severe congestive heart failure (CHF). After five years, 62 percent of the patients with cholesterol below 129 mg/l had died, but only half as many of the patients with cholesterol above 223 mg/l.
The Post article goes on to say:
In addition, it will probably encourage physicians to start giving the medications to millions of healthy people who are not yet on them and to boost dosages for some of those already taking them to lower their cholesterol even more.
The last line of this quote above should illicit alarm from every taxpayer in America.
Why? Because it will be the taxpayers who will pay for all those Medicaid and Medicare statin prescriptions -- amounting to billions of dollars spent on worthless and dangerous drugs. Worse, we'll also be paying for all the costs associated with the drug-induced side effects of the statin medications - congestive heart failure, polyneuritis, muscle pain, depression, memory loss (dementia), poor immune function, and fatigue to name a few.
Ok the real question is this: "Do statin drugs reduce deaths associated with cardiovascular disease?" Contrary to the Lipitor ads, apparently not, since a meta-analysis of 44 trials involving almost 10,000 patients showed the death rate was identical at 1 percent of patients in each of the three groups--those taking atorvastatin (Lipitor), those taking other statins and those taking nothing.
And what about using statins as a prophylactic measure?
A meta-analysis of 5 major statin drugs which showed that statin drugs provided a total absolute reduction in total mortality of 0.3% among those who showed no signs of having cardiovascular disease (primary prevention).
We'd be wise to read the study below before putting statins in the drinking water.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported on an analysis of all the major controlled trials before the year 2000 and found that long-term use of statins for primary prevention of heart disease produced a 1 percent greater risk of death over 10 years compared to a placebo.
The only thing statin drug trials have proven for sure is that statin drugs lower cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme known as HMG-CoA-Reductase. Regardless of their ability to lower cholesterol, they failed to show that this effect has any meaningful benefit for preventing early death from heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
And they've proven to be a catalyst for dangerous side effects. The most common side effect associated with statin drugs is muscle pain and weakness.
The symptoms are most likely due to the depletion of CoQ10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. One study found that 98% of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems.
A Denmark study that evaluated 500,000 patients found that taking statins for one year raised the risk of nerve damage by about 15%--about one case for every 2,200 patients. For those who took statins for two or more years, the additional risk rose to 26%.
Former astronaut, Dr. Duane Graveline describes in his book, Lipitor: Thief of Memory, his complete memory loss due to the side effects of Lipitor. The incidence of congestive heart failure (CHF) has steadily increased since the introduction of statin drugs. In fact, while heart attacks have slightly declined, CHF has more than doubled since 1989. Statins were first prescribed in 1987.
An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that in every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer. In the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin went up 1500%.
And one last reason to avoid statins- men whose cholesterol levels are lowered through the use of prescription medications double their chances of committing suicide.
I hope the public and the brainwashed medical community pays attention to the asterisk and the fine print. A one to two percent benefit earns Pfizer 10 billion dollars a year. Mind-boggling isn't it?
1.Eleanor Laise. The Lipitor Dilemma, Smart Money: The Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business, November 2003. 2. Hecht HS, Harmon SM. Am J Cardiol 2003; 92:670-676.
3. Jackson PR. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2001;52:439-46
4. The ALLHAT Officers and Coordinators for the ALLHAT Collaborative Research Group. JAMA 2002;288:2998-3007.
5. Heart Protection Study Collaborative Group. Lancet 2002;360:7-22.
6. Matsuzaki M and others. Circ J. 2002 Dec;66(12):1087-95.
7. Jacobs D and others. Report of the conference on low blood cholesterol: Mortality associations. Circulation 86, 1046-1060, 1992.
8.Horwich TB and others. Journal of Cardiac Failure 8,216-224,2002.
9. Therapeutics Initiative. "Evidence Based Drug Therapy. Do Statins have a Role in Primary Prevention?" April-May-June 2003. The University of British Columbia. www.ti.ubc.ca.
10. American Heart Association. Inflammation, Heart Disease and Stroke: The Role of C-Reactive Protein. www.americanheart.org. Accessed August 15, 2002. Miyao Matsubara, Katsuhiko Namioka and Shinji Katayose.
Smith DJ and Olive KE. Southern Medical Journal 96(12):1265-1267, December 2003.
11. Gaist D and others. Neurology 2002 May 14;58(9):1321-2.
12.Newman TB, Hulley SB. JAMA 1996;27:55-60
13.Sacks FM and others. N Eng J Med 1996;385;1001-1009.
14.Rodger H. Murphree, D.C.; Heart Disease What Your Doctor Won't Tell You.
Harrison and Hampton Publishing, Birmingham, AL 2005-2012.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Using a large national database, FDA researchers analyzed prescription drug trends among children ages up to age 17 between 2002 and 2010 on an outpatient basis.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that ADHD prescriptions increased by 46 percent, and there were also higher numbers of medications prescribed for asthma and birth control.
The United States uses approximately 90% of the world's Ritalin. Amphetamines are chemically similar to cocaine. Both cause similar reactions in the brain. If we were to give cocaine to hyperactive children, instead of Ritalin, we’d most likely get similar results. Yet doing so would be criminal. “We have become the only country in the world where children are prescribed such a vast quantity of stimulants that share virtually the same properties as cocaine,” says Gene R. Haislip, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
You can read my article on ADHD “Another Overhyped Dangerous Drug,” by clicking the link below.
Monday, July 9, 2012
If so, avoid nightshade foods.
These include tobacco, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes. Nightshade (family: Solanaceae) foods have been linked to an increase in arthritis symptoms. In one study, 70% of those with arthritis reported relief from chronic pain over a period of seven years after eliminating all nightshade foods. Between 20% and 30% of my patients on this regimen experience moderate to dramatic pain relief. They typically report less pain overall but especially in their hands, feet, knees, and ankles.
Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. Strawberries. Recent studies have confirmed the antioxidant effects of berries on various health conditions.
Cardiovascular health. Eating berries can improve platelet function, blood pressure, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol levels, according to a Finnish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers recruited 72 middle-aged subjects who had an elevated risk of heart disease because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or other factors. Half of the subjects were randomly assigned to eat two servings a day of a combination of whole berries, purées, and juices that included strawberries and raspberries as well as several kinds of European berries that share nutritional qualities with American berries: bilberries (sometimes called European blueberries), lingonberries (similar to small cranberries), black currants, and chokeberries. The other group consumed control products: sugar water, porridge, and marmalade.
After eight weeks, researchers found that among the berry eaters, beneficial HDL cholesterol increased by 5%, blood platelet function was inhibited by 11% (reducing the risk of blood clots), and systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure measurement) went down an average of 1.5 mm Hg, while the controls experienced little change in these measures -- suggesting that berry consumption can have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers hypothesized that the polyphenol content of the berries was responsible for these benefits.
Cancer risk. Preliminary studies also demonstrate that the phytochemicals in berries may prevent precancerous gastrointestinal conditions from progressing to cancer. Research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that consuming black raspberries (darker versions of the more typical, red raspberries) may protect against esophageal cancer in people with the precursor condition, Barrett's esophagus. Research is currently under way to determine whether black raspberries can also prevent colon polyps from developing into colon cancer.
Black raspberries have high concentrations of anthocyanins and other antioxidants that are believed to have cancer-fighting properties. However, the effects of anthocyanins are limited to the gastrointestinal tract, which comes into direct contact with these substances; anthocyanins are not well absorbed into the bloodstream, so they are not considered effective for cancers that are unrelated to the digestive system.