Posts tagged Drug treatments
Facts taken By Dr. Mercola
According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 69 percent of American adults take supplements. But are supplements dangerous? The UK-based, international campaign group, the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) recently revealed data1 showing that compared to supplements, an individual is:
- Around 900 times more likely to die from food poisoning
- Nearly 300,000 times more likely to die from a preventable medical injury during a UK hospital stay, which is comparable to the individual risk of dying that active military face in Iraq or Afghanistan
Additionally, the data shows that adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs are:
- 62,000 times more likely to kill you than food supplements
- 7,750 times more likely to kill you than herbal remedies
The data, which was collected from official sources in the UK and EU, demonstrate that both food supplements and herbal remedies are in the ‘super-safe’ category of individual risk – meaning risk of death from their consumption is less than 1 in 10 million. The group has created an excellent graphic showing your relative risk of death from a variety of activities. Besides drugs and hospital injuries, you’re also more likely to die from being struck by lightning or drowning in your bathtub than having a lethal reaction to herbs or supplements…
According to the featured article on NewHope360.com:
“ANH-Intl executive and scientific director, Robert Verkerk PhD, hailed the figures as shedding new light on the vexed question of natural healthcare’s safety. “These figures tell us not only what activities an individual is most or least likely to die from, but also what the relative risks of various activities are to society as a whole. It puts some real perspective on the actual risk of death posed by food supplements and herbal remedies at a time when governments are clamping down because they tell us they’re dangerous.
… According to Dr Verkerk, the new figures should help to pressure UK and European authorities to reduce regulatory burdens on natural health products.”
With a Super-Safe Track Record, Why are Supplements Under Attack?
Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements have a tremendously safe track record, yet they are often singled out as being potentially dangerous by government agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This – the notion that dietary supplements are unsafe — was the premise behind the FDA’s Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI), which would have required the supplement industry to prove the safety of natural ingredients that, in many cases, have been on the market and used safely for decades!
Fortunately, public outcry made the agency agree to take another look at their proposed guidance and to issue a revised draft4. It’s still not known when the revisions might be completed.
The original NDI draft essentially claimed dietary supplements are unsafe and must be carefully tested in order to “protect consumers.” The proposed safety thresholds even exceeded those required by pharmaceutical drugs — despite extensive toxicological data showing supplements are FAR safer than drugs. As detailed above, drugs are 62,000 times more likely to kill you than supplements! Why on earth would supplements need more stringent safety thresholds than drugs?
It’s an obvious attempt to eliminate competition for the drug industry.
Data from the United States fully corroborates the featured UK data. For example, according to the latest data from the US National Poison Data System (2010 report)5, NO deaths were attributable to vitamin and mineral supplements that year. And, as noted by Orthomolecular Medicine News Service last year6, Americans easily take more than 60 billion doses of nutritional supplements every year, and with zero related deaths this is an outstanding safety record:
“Well over half of the U.S. population takes daily nutritional supplements. Even if each of those people took only one single tablet daily, that makes 165,000,000 individual doses per day, for a total of over 60 billion doses annually. Since many persons take far more than just one single vitamin or mineral tablet, actual consumption is considerably higher, and the safety of nutritional supplements is all the more remarkable. Over 60 billion doses of vitamin and mineral supplements per year in the USA, and not a single fatality. Not one. If vitamin and mineral supplements are allegedly so ‘dangerous,’ as the FDA and news media so often claim, then where are the bodies?”
The Drug Industry is the Real Health Threat
In striking contrast, drugs are known to cause well over 125,000 deaths per year in the US when taken correctly as prescribed – yet the FDA allows fast-track approvals and countless new additions of poorly tested drugs to the marketplace that must later be withdrawn due to their lethal consequences.
It is simply incomprehensible that any rational approach would seek to vilify supplements over drugs when the data in no way, shape or form supports it. The most likely motive for this position is financial greed that can put your life in jeopardy. According to the US National Poison Data System7 the following drug categories are among the most lethal:
Analgesics, sedatives, hypnotics, and antipsychotics
Slightly lower down on the list you find drugs like muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, antacids, anticoagulants, and antihistamines.
Time to Start a New “Just say NO!” Anti-Drug Movement
The anti-drug slogan coined by Nancy Reagan in the early 1980’s is just as applicable for today’s prescription drug problem as the recreational drug problem of the past. The only difference is that today prescription drugs have eclipsed illicit drugs as the number one source of poisoning deaths. Prescription drugs have also been identified as the primary “gateway” to illegal drug use, beating out marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes.
According to a July 6 press release8.
“… Since 2000, the drugs sending people to their graves or to rehab have been shifting away from illicit drugs and toward prescription drugs. The 2011 report on the subject from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made it clear: prescription narcotic pain reliever overdose deaths now exceed the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.
… ‘Our own clients and people calling in daily for information about our program or help have told us story after story about addictions starting with the use of prescription drugs,’ stated Derry Hallmark, Director of Admissions at Narconon Arrowhead, a premier drug rehab facility in Southeastern Oklahoma. ‘Sadly, prescription medications have become the newest of the gateway drugs. Sadder still are the losses of life and other severe consequences that go hand in hand with drug abuse, which is especially the case with prescription drug abuse.’
Hallmark adds that those addicted to prescriptions will often end up needing treatment or will even start taking illicit drugs. One of the most common examples of this is the connection between those addicted to painkillers that then start taking heroin…”
It’s important to understand that there is a risk of side effects every time you take a prescription drug. No one (except for those who intentionally overdose) expects these medications to kill them, but they can do just that, and it happens far more often than you might think. In a 2011 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), officials emphasized that people should not assume there’s no risk in prescribed medicines9.
The truth is, the best way to avoid all risk, including death, from prescription drugs is to not take them at all. Remember, it’s your body, not your doctor’s and not your pharmacist’s, so it is up to you to make the decision of what drugs to , if any. Be SURE you are aware of the risks of any medication prescribed to you, and takeweigh them against any possible benefit. Then you can make a well-informed decision of whether it’s a risk you’re willing to take.
Optimizing Your Health Without Drugs
Of course, of paramount importance is taking control of your health so you can stay well naturally, without the use of drugs or even frequent conventional medical care. If you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need medications in the first place.
A new study from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center highlights a rise in the number of young children, over half a million each year, admitted to hospitals or seen in emergency departments because of unintentional toxic doses of prescription medication.
The increase in such exposures is so high that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established the PROTECT Initiative, with the goal of preventing unintended medication overdoses in children.
Dr. Randall Bond and colleagues involved in the study gathered information for 544,133 children 5 years of age and younger who had visited the emergency department (ED) because they may have been poisoned by medication.
The study, soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics, focused on improving poison prevention methods with the authors organizing the data according to medication type and whether the exposure was caused by the child self-ingesting the medication or by a dosing error.
“We need to know the medications and ingestion circumstances that contribute most to ED visits, hospitalization, and harm,” Bond explained in a press release. The authors found that 95 percent of ED visits resulted from self-ingestion. Prescription drugs accounted for 55 percent of the ED visits, 76 percent of hospital admissions, and 71 percent of significant injuries.
Dr. Eric Lavonas, from the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, not linked to the study told Reuters: “The big thing to take away from this is we need to do a better job of keeping children and medicines away from each other in the home.”
“Store all medicines, including adult medicines and children’s medicines, up and away. Number two, put the medicine away every time you take it out.” If a child does get into medication, “It’s important to call poison control,” he concluded.
Attributing the increase of poisonings to a greater availability of, and access to, medications in the child’s home, the authors note that effective “poison proofing” may have plateaued or declined in recent years. “Prevention efforts of parents and caregivers to store medicines in locked cabinets or up and away from children continue to be crucial.”
“However, the largest potential benefit would come from packaging design changes that reduce the quantity a child could quickly and easily access in a self-ingestion episode, like flow restrictors on liquids and one-at-a-time tablet dispensing containers,” Dr. Bond suggests.
He goes on to recommend that such changes should be applied to both adult and pediatric products and to over-the-counter and prescription products.
* Says 6 new PML cases as of June 7th
* Total PML cases stand at 55, up from 49 as of May 6th
BOSTON, June 17 (Reuters) – Six more patients taking Biogen Idec Inc’s (BIIB.O) multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri have developed a potentially deadly brain infection known as PML, the company said.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company said in its latest monthly update that as of June 7th, there were 55 confirmed cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, up from 49 as of May 6th.
Sales of Tysabri, the most important growth driver for both Elan and Biogen, have been crimped by concerns over PML as investors and physicians try to gauge how great the risk the risk of contracting the disease might be over time.
Last week, a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended the agency approve a rival product from Novartis AG (NOVN.VX) called Gilenia, potentially hurting Tysabri even further.
Tysabri was temporarily withdrawn from the market in 2005 after being linked with PML, but reintroduced in 2006 with stricter safety warnings.
The rate of PML increases with the length of time a patient remains on the drug. The incidence of PML in patients taking Tysabri for roughly a year is 0.01 per 1,000 patients. That rate rises to 0.35 cases per 1,000 in patients taking the drug for between one and two years, and to 1.47 cases for patients taking it between two and three years.
The company says the rate of PML is still within the 1 in 1,000 level seen in its clinical trials and noted on the drug’s label.
The May 6th figure of 49 represented an increase of three new cases compared with the 46 cases reported as of April 6th. That in turn represented an increase of four from March 10th, when there were 42 cases.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control Waits 60 Years to Study the Problem
(Info taken from http://orthomolecular.com)
(OMNS, October 13, 2008) The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just released “the first report ever done on adverse reactions to antibiotics in the United States” on 13 Aug, 2008. (1) This is “the first report ever”? How is that possible? Antibiotics have been widely used since the 1940s. It is astounding that it has taken CDC so long to seriously study the side effects of these drugs. It is now apparent that there have been decades of an undeserved presumption of safety.
Antibiotics can put you in the emergency room. Common antibiotics, the ones most frequently prescribed and regarded as safest, cause for nearly half of emergencies due to antibiotics. And, incredibly enough, people in the prime of life – not babies – are especially at risk. The study authors reported that “Persons aged 15-44 years accounted for an estimated 41.2 percent of emergency department visits. Infants accounted for only an estimated 6.3 percent of ED visits.” They also found that nearly 80% of antibiotic-caused “adverse events” were allergic reactions. Overdoses and mistakes, by patients and by physicians, make up the rest.
Allergic reactions to antibiotics may be very serious, including life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Searching the US National Library of Medicine’s “Medline” database (2) for “antibiotic allergic reaction” will bring up over 9,700 mentions in scientific papers. A search for “antibiotic anaphylactic shock” brings up over 1,100. Many papers on this severe danger were actually published before 1960. (3) Given this amount of accumulated information, one might wonder why CDC took so long to seriously study the problem.
Overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance. At its website, CDC currently states that antibiotic resistance “can cause significant danger and suffering for people who have common infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics. . . Some resistant infections can cause death.” (4)
In the USA alone, “over 3 million pounds of antibiotics are used every year on humans . . . enough to give every man, woman and child 10 teaspoons of pure antibiotics per year,” write Null, Dean, Feldman, and Rasio. (5) “Almost half of patients with upper respiratory tract infections in the U.S. still receive antibiotics from their doctor” even though “the CDC warns that 90% of upper respiratory infections, including children’s ear infections, are viral, and antibiotics don’t treat viral infection. More than 40% of about 50 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year in physicians’ offices were inappropriate.”
Additionally, every year, a staggering 25 million pounds of antibiotics are administered to farm animals, most given in an attempt to prevent illness. Seepage from feedlots results in low concentrations of antibiotics in our waterways and food. This increases human antibiotic resistance. (6)
Antibiotic resistance and antibiotic allergic reactions continue to be major public health problems. Both dangers are directly related to the huge amount of antibiotics we consume. One immediate way to decrease the incidence of side effects from antibiotics is to use antibiotics less often. Reducing use “by even a small percentage could significantly reduce the immediate and direct risks of drug-related adverse events,” the CDC study authors said.
Alternative, non-drug treatments can also be an answer. Robert F. Cathcart, M.D., observed that high doses of vitamin C substantially reduce the dosage of antibiotics needed to treat patients. Vitamin C also specifically counters allergic reactions. Dr. Cathcart, a practicing allergist with decades of experience, said: “Patients seemed not to develop their first allergic reaction to penicillin when they had taken bowel tolerance vitamin C for several doses. Among the several thousand patients given penicillin, two cases of brief rash were seen in patients who had taken their first dose of penicillin along with their first dose of vitamin C . . . Many patients find the effect of ascorbate more satisfactory than immunizations or antihistamines and decongestants.” (7)
Back in the 1950s, physicians such as William J. McCormick, M.D., (8) and Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D., (9) found that very high doses of vitamin C can be safely and effectively used, by itself, as an antibiotic as well as an antiviral and antihistamine. Dr. McCormick wrote that vitamin C is known to “contribute to the development of antibodies and the neutralization of toxins in the building of natural immunity to infectious diseases. There is a very potent chemotherapeutic action of ascorbic acid when given in massive repeated doses, 500 to 1,000 mg (hourly), preferably intravenously or intramuscularly. When thus administered the effect in acute infectious processes is favorably comparable to that of the sulfonamides or the mycelial antibiotics, but with the great advantage of complete freedom from toxic or allergic reactions.” (10)
Using more vitamin C means needing fewer antibiotics. Using vitamin C along with antibiotics reduces their side effects. Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians have been reporting this for years. (11)
The CDC has a long and lamentable history of ignoring dangerous antibiotic side effects. And still today, CDC demonstrates a striking disinterest in nutritional alternatives to drugs. At their website, there is not a single word about the value of vitamin C in reducing the need for antibiotics, or for reducing antibiotic side effects.
A cynic might speculate that drug companies have heavy influence at the US Centers for Disease Control.
Whatever the reason, patients are the losers.
(1) Shehab N, Patel PR, Srinivasan A, Budnitz DS. Emergency department visits for antibiotic-associated adverse events. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 15;47(6):735-43.
(3) Some examples include:
Arrigo G, D’Angelo A. Achromycin and anaphylactic shock. Riv Patol Clin. 1959 Oct;14:719-22.
Harvey HP, Solomon HJ. Acute anaphylactic shock due to para-aminosalicylic acid. Am Rev Tuberc. 1958 Mar;77(3):492-5.
Lythcott GI. Anaphylaxis to viomycin. Am Rev Tuberc. 1957 Jan;75(1):135-8.
Farber JE, Ross J, Stephens G. Antibiotic anaphylaxis. Calif Med. 1954 Jul;81(1):9-11.
Farber JE, Ross J. Antibiotic anaphylaxis; a note on the treatment and prevention of severe reactions to penicillin, streptomycin and dihydrostreptomycin. Med Times. 1952 Jan;80(1):28-30.
Patterson DB. Anaphylactic shock from chloromycetin. Northwest Med. 1950 May;49(5):352-3.
(4) http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/community/ Accessed September 22, 2008.
(5) Null G, Dean C, Feldman M, Rasio D. Death by medicine. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2005. Vol 20, No 1, p 21-34. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2005/pdf/2005-v20n01-p021.pdf Also at http://www.doctoryourself.com/deathmed.html See also: Rabin R. Caution about overuse of antibiotics. Newsday. Sept. 18, 2003.
(6) Egger WA. Antibiotic resistance: unnatural selection in the office and on the farm. Wisconson Medical Journal. Aug. 2002.
(7) Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titration to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy. Medical Hypothesis, 1981. 7:1359-1376. http://www.orthomed.com/titrate.htm or http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html
(8) Saul AW. The pioneering work of William J. McCormick, M.D. J Orthomolecular Med, 2003. Vol 18, No 2, p 93-96. http://www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick.html
(9) Klenner FR. The use of vitamin C as an antibiotic. Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1953. 6:274-278. http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/195x/klenner-fr-j_appl_nutr-1953-v6-p274.htm and http://whale.to/v/c/klenner1.html
(10) McCormick WJ. Ascorbic acid as a chemotherapeutic agent. Archives of Pediatrics NY, 1952. Vol. 69, No. 4, April, p 151-155. http://www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick1951.html
(11) Read full text, peer-reviewed nutritional research papers, free of charge: http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom
For more information:
Dr. F. R. Klenner’s work, summarized as “The Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C,” is posted in its entirety at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm
The complete text of Irwin Stone’s book on high-dose vitamin C therapy, “The Healing Factor,” is posted for free reading at http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/
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