Whichever way you look at it, prescription drugs are not necessarily without their problems. It seems that there is always a side effect, from mild to more severe. Checking the dangers of taking your medication and weighing up the pros or cons of taking a medication is not always an easy thing to do. It is important to keep in contact with your doctor and let her/him know of any changes you notice while taking the medication they have put you on. And don’t be side stepped by a doctor that doesn’t take you seriously and endeavours to keep you on a medication that is giving you unwanted side effects.
When we hear the term; “Evidence Based Research”, how valid is such a statement? You would expect that meant it was safe, right? Wrong!
The Public may not be aware of important uncertainties about drug benefits and harms. Time and time again we hear of how some of these medications have side effects which are very disturbing indeed, hearing that they are causing major illness for some people, such as kidney disease, heart problems and even cancer.
Many adults believe that only extremely effective drugs without serious adverse effects are approved, that just isn’t true. But providing explanations to patients that would highlight uncertainties about drug benefits may affect their choices. Or so says a report in the September issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals in the journal’s Less is More series.
Approval from Food and Drug Administration’s does not even necessarily ensure that a drug has a large or important benefit, or that all serious adverse effects of the drug are known, according to background information in the article.
They point out that the cholesterol-lowering drugs Zetia and Vytorin reached $1.8 billion in sales in 2007 before a study found no clinical benefit from these drugs, and that the anti-inflammatory medication Vioxx reached $2.4 billion in sales by 2003 before being withdrawn from the market due to its association with myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and strokes.1
A major review of 14 trials of the drug varenicline, sold as Champix in Australia, found people taking the smoking cessation aid faced a 72 per cent higher risk of serious cardiovascular problems compared to those who try other methods. The researchers said while varenicline did help tobacco users kick their habit, something which should benefit their bodies, they ended up facing a greater risk of doing damage to their heart and lungs.2
In my own practice, clients have indicated that they felt nauseous and anxiety and some had suicidal thoughts. How much better is it to use hypnotherapy which has no side effect other than relaxation? With the added bonus that it usually fixes your craving and withdrawal symptoms in one to two session.
One of the recent warnings is for the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, saying that researchers in Switzerland undertook a comprehensive analysis of 31 different clinical trials involving seven NSAIDs to look at; risk of heart attack, stroke, death from cardiovascular disease and death from all causes.
This doesn’t mean that you should thwart your doctor’s recommendation to take an NSAID if prescribed. These drugs are widely used in treating a variety of concerns. However, it’s important—because of emerging evidence—to be up front with your physician about your heart health history and other risk factors, such as smoking habits. You and your doctor should also monitor dosage, use of multiple NSAIDs, including over-the-counter medications, and chronic use of these medications. 3
Another recent warning is the findings on the use of antibiotics. The vast majority of bacteria are harmless to humans, and a great number of bacteria are essential to our survival. It has been found that antibiotics are killing off not only the bacteria that are causing us to be ill, but also the ones we need to have to survive. For those of us that are well, occasional antibiotic use can be overcome through our ability to regenerate the good bacteria, however those people with a long illness and long use of antibiotics are killing off their immune system and ability to fight their disease.4
And so on the one hand, life could be very debilitating with some of the side-effects of our medical condition, whilst on the other hand; there are many things we might be able to do to avoid the need to get on medications in the first place. At the first warning of not feeling well whilst it makes sense to visit your doctor and take advice and possibly go on medication in the short-term, it makes even more sense that we work out what we need to do to get well, so that we can come off the medication at the earliest possible time (with your doctors assistance).
Research by Professor Simon Capewell and Dr Martin O’Flaherty at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Well-being, examined evidence from clinical trials and natural experiments. Capewell said:”Our research found that smoking bans and diet improvements powerfully and rapidly reduce chronic disease in both individuals and in the wider population. This actually happens quickly, within a far shorter timescale than had previously been assumed; within months and years rather than decades 5 I would add anxiety and depression to Capewell’s comments.
There are a number of young teenagers that have severe effects from the HPV vaccines. The health organisations in most countries endeavour to dis-acknowledge this.
Judicial Watch announced it has received documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealing that its National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has awarded $5,877,710 dollars to 49 victims in claims made against the highly controversial HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines. To date 200 claims have been filed with VICP, with barely half adjudicated.
“This new information from the government shows that the serious safety concerns about the use of Gardasil have been well-founded. Public health officials should stop pushing Gardasil on children.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
In fact, Merck studied the Gardasil vaccine in fewer than 1,200 girls under 16 prior to it being released to the market under a fast-tracked road to licensure. To date, most of the serious side effects, including deaths, that occurred during the pre-licensure clinical trials and post marketing surveillance have been written off as a “coincidence” by Merck researchers and government health officials.6
If you ever want to look up the side effects of any medical drug you might be on a good website is http://www.drugs.com. Some drugs are coming to the end of their patent life. This leads to pharmaceutical companies to bring out new patented drugs marketed as superior to the old. It is your job to check these things out. No one is going to look after your best interests more that yourself.
1JAMA and Archieves Journals (2011, September 12). U.S.S public may not be aware of important uncertainties about drug benefits and harms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14,2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912164016.htm
2Tasker,Belinda. 07/07/2011. Anti Smoking Medication linked to heart problem risk. http://www.medicalsearch.com.au/News/Anti-smoking-medication-linked-to-heart-problem-risk-52723
3Sources: Sven Trelle, et al. “Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: network meta-analysis.” BMJ 342:doi:10.1136/bmj.c7086 (Published 11 January 2011)
4 Carswell, Lindsay. 29.11.05 Article, Antibiotic Crisis. http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?article_id=218392694
5 University of Liverpool (2011, September 1). Decrease in smoking reduces death rates within months. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/09/110901105411.htm
6 Washington Times, 31 Dec 2014, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/31/us-court-pays-6-million-gardasil-victims/