Medications can save lives if used properly in a crisis and help manage conditions for those unwilling or unable to change their habits. I certainly do not recommend readers stop a crucial medication without discussion with the doctor. (It is exceptionally dangerous to suddenly stop psychiatric medications.)
But, wouldn’t our ancestors be astounded to learn that 20% of the US population takes five or more drugs each day? Or that 1 in 4 older folks take 10 (which have never been tested together)? Check this out: American Geriatrics Society 2019 Updated AGS Beers Criteria®
for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. Did you know that the effects of medications are a leading cause of death right up there with cancer and heart disease?
It is logical and as expected, but still very upsetting to know that investment firm Goldman Sachs reported an analysis which concluded that finding an actual permanent cure for illness is not a very profitable business model. They recommend that drug companies treat chronic conditions on a continuing basis.
Most drugs, even those originally based on herbs, are now new-to-the-planet new-to-humans chemicals. It is no surprise that they all have side effects. That is because their mode of action is typically to poison a natural bodily process in order to calm a symptom or force a test result change.
Unfortunately, too often meds also interfere with a process that we need. For example, statin type cholesterol drugs interfere with our ability to make heart protective CoQ10. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil, Aleve, Aspirin, Celebrex, Motrin, and many more) calm pain, but as you may know, also weaken the lining of our intestinal tract and cause thousands of deaths annually from internal bleeding. As pharmacist, Suzy Cohen, points out in Drug Muggers, virtually all drugs interfere with nutrients. As I note in Natural Alternatives to Nexium and other acid blockers, among other problems, those heartburn drugs interfere with critically important vitamin B12 and magnesium.
Medications are too often prescribed when there is no proven necessity. For example, cholesterol lowering drugs are given to the elderly when studies show they live longer without them. Or that up to 50% of the time, antibiotics are wrongly used for viruses or when watchful waiting would be better. (In the Probiotic Cure I detail the tragic price we pay when antibiotics kill off our good bacteria.) Drugs are given in doses that are arbitrarily too high, for longer than makes sense, and in combinations that have never been tested (polypharmacy).
Try listening to TV drug commercials with your eyes closed so that you aren’t distracted by the pretty pictures. The potentially lethal side effects they list so casually may not even be the worst problem. Because doctors are programed to automatically give a medication for any complaint, that there is rarely an effort to find and fix the real cause. It doesn’t help that they receive so little training in other approaches.
Drugs are also routinely used when there are less toxic alternatives…telling that story that is what Healthy by Nature’s radio show and writing is all about. Natural remedies are typically very safe and, because they enhance the body’s fundamental processes rather than interfere with them, they usually provide fringe benefits. While you work on one thing, 2 other things may get better!
The main reason for the overreliance on medications is that pharmaceutical industry money has been proven to corrupt the FDA, the US Congress, state regulators, medical schools, medical journals and even doctors.
- Double check any prescription you fill. Research shows the 1 in 5 is filled in error.
- An increasing number of medications are being made in China. There have been serious problems with contamination. I recommend China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine and this People’s Pharmacy radio interview with the author.
Ask your doctor: Is there any diet, lifestyle or supplement change that might fix the problem?
Also these from Consumer Reports 3/19 newsletter:
- What exactly is this drug going to treat, and how will I know if it’s working?
- Can I try a lower dose first, or take this only as needed?
- What side effects should I look out for, and what should I do if I notice them?
- How will this drug interact with other medications or supplements I’m taking?
- How Long should I take this drug before we re-evaluate?
- Is there anything I can stop taking?
SAVE $ drugs if you must take them:
Drugs are often extremely expensive in the US and much cheaper in other countries. The drug companies claim the high price is needed to cover research. As it turns out a high percentage goes instead into marketing and profits. Also, according to Berkley Research Group, 46% of the drug price goes to various middle men like distributors. There are some things you can do to reduce your burden.
This is one of the best. Check out https://www.goodrx.com/ for comparison shopping and coupons.
The copay for medications is often higher then just paying the pharmacy yourself. Ask!
Psychiatric Drugs – Dramatic videos (Note: Because the watchdog organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights does wonderful work protecting us from psychiatric abuses and provides accurate and life-saving information, it does not concern me that the group was originally co-founded by Scientologists. I encourage folks not to throw the baby out with the bath water.)
STATS: Check out this Mayo Clinic report’s sobering statistics on drug use.•
Money in the industry is a major contributor to drug overuse:
Fraud. It is well-documented that the government typically enjoys a cozy relationship with drug companies. However, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline took so many highly visible liberties that the regulators were forced to reassert their authority by giving them a public spanking. A Time Magazine Healthline article describes it this way: “In the largest settlement involving a pharmaceutical company, the U.S. Justice Department announced on July 2 that GlaxoSmithKline LLC will pay $3 billion in fines and plead guilty to marketing drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report drug safety information to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” All though this fine sounds big, given the tens of billions of dollars the drug company made on those drugs over the 10 years before called to task, even that record-setting amount is little more than an affordable cost of doing business.
Useful reference for bad drugs and devices. Also, if you have been harmed, you can see what has been done by other consumers. Note: it is sponsored by a law firm and lists drug lawsuits.
Aged Garlic Extract superior to cholesterol drugs? Matthew Budoff, MD
How Drugs Harm Nutrients. Hyla Cass , MD
Supplement your Prescription by Hyla Cass, MD
Drug Muggers by Pharmacist Suzy Cohen
A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions by Alan Gaby, MD
Natural Alternatives to Nexium by Martie Whittekin, CCN
Copyright 2014 thru 2018 by Martie Whittekin, CCN