Archive for Healthy living in a toxic world
Association between competing interests and authors’ conclusions
This isn’t “beat up on the pharmaceuticals” week, but when they make such a juicy target its very hard to resist. Basically, this article supports what we all already know–money talks and can influence research. Remember this next time your doctor wants to give you a “new” drug that is supposed to be more effective. The “free samples” are always a clue… To further confound the issue or faulty data, the “placebos” that are used in many of these trials are not “sugar pills” as they so lightly mention in the commercials. When was the last time you sucked down a sugar packet and experience nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea?? Many times the placebos are actually compounds known to contain substances that mimic the side effects of the testing medication. Starting to wonder what you can believe??
bmj.com Abstracts: Kjaergard and Als-Nielsen 325 (7358): 249
Western medicine: a confidence trick driven by the drug industry?
There have been times I have seen the general public realize just how much of a travesty has been played on them by the pharmaceuticals–but at that point I usually wake up in a cold sweat with one of my dogs licking my nose… But seriously, I am strongly against any kind of governmental controls on the costs or practices of the pharmaceutical countries. I would rather see the general public coming to terms with the lack of efficacy or increased efficacy of new drugs over old ones and of the side effects of many medications and the damage to our physiology. Alas, I truly, truly believe that this will never happen and the control that the pharmaceuticals have over many’s daily lives will increase. I do know that there will always be a small percentage of the population that will educate themselves and resist drugs in all cases except the most necessary.
bmj.com 325 (7358): 0h
Impaired functioning of MHTFR dependent on riboflavin status
Ahhhh….the plot thickens!! Sometimes I just have to sit back and laugh at the depravity of medicine when it comes to natural therapeutics…Unfortunately, most clinicians have never heard of defects in the MHTFR genotype and its impact on folic acid need. Well, despite the lack of knowledge, science moves on–we are now finding other factors that also impact the conversion of folic acid to its active form (tetrahydrafolate) via the enzyme MHTFR; in this case riboflavin. However, the clinical impact SHOULD be negligible–most good diets and definitely most good quality multivitamins will also supply healthy levels of riboflavin to counteract this negative association. As an interesting note…most prenatals from the pharmaceutical companies have low levels of riboflavin (gram for gram probably outweighed by the food coloring’s and processing chemicals…).
AJCN — Abstracts: McNulty et al. 76 (2): 436
Postprandial Hyperglycemia, Insulin Sensitivity Differ among Ethnicities
This is an important article that really reminds us to avoid treating every patient the same, and that different genetic makeups can vastly affect environment’s impact on health. Here we find that European and Arabic caucasions were the most physiologically tolerant of a 75-g white bread challenge.
Nutrition.org — Abstracts: Dickinson et al. 132 (9): 2574
Alosetron: case study in regulatory capture, or victory for patients’ rights?
This article brings to light the scary concept that the FDA is funded strongly by the pharmaceutical companies they are supposed to regulate. Does anyone get a little nervous about this association besides me?
bmj.com Moynihan 325 (7364): 592
Teratogenicity of Most Recent Drugs Is Not Known
Okay, does anyone out there need me to go into detail on this one? If this does make any pregnant woman nervous, I’m not sure what will. Consider how flippantly many drugs are prescribed to pregnant women and considered “safe”.
Obstet Gynecol 2002;100:465-473
More than 90% of drugs approved since 1980 have not been properly tested to rule out possible teratogenic effects, study findings show. Animal testing is the first step to determine if a drug is a possible teratogen. After drug approval, careful follow-up studies are still needed to confirm the drug’s safety. However, Drs. J. M. Friedman and W. Y. Lo, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, found that for the vast majority of new drugs these follow-up studies have not been performed. As such, more than 90% of new drugs are still considered to have an “undetermined” risk of producing birth defects, according to the report in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. “My experience is that many members of the general public, both pregnant women and their partners, are surprised and frustrated about how little we really know about the safety of medications in pregnancy,” says Dr. Friedman. The solution, Dr. Friedman said, is simply to keep track of what effects the drugs have in pregnant women who take them. “I would like to see an ongoing effort to obtain information about the effects on the baby of maternal use of prescription medications in human pregnancy,” he added. The authors base their findings on a review of information regarding the birth defect risk of 468 drugs approved between 1980 and 2000. They found that 91% of these new drugs were designated as carrying an “undetermined” risk of birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Dr. Friedman said that the companies that manufacture the drugs often have no financial incentive to conduct further studies on birth defects once the drug is FDA-approved. Proper studies cost money, the researcher noted, and there is usually no regulatory requirement that the companies perform these tests. Studies could follow a group of pregnant women and record what medications they take and the subsequent health of their infants, or interview parents of infants with birth defects and determine which medications the mothers took, Dr. Friedman suggested. “The point is that such studies are possible, and I believe that they need to be done on a sufficient scale to learn about the safety of all medications in human pregnancy,” he emphasized.
Profiting from Pain: Where Prescription Drugs Dollars Go
While this is a very long report, I can summarize it for you. Contrary to popular belief, most of pharmaceutical companies’ budgets do not go towards research and development. Rather, advertising and marketing account for 1.5 to 2x the costs of R and D. Not to mention the salaries of the CEOs. The amount of money that the drug companies spend in advertising is staggering and is in the billions of dollars PER MONTH. Their profitability has never been in question. Unfortunately, many patients consider the cost of drugs as an inelastic demand and the marketplace will probably never allow for the cost to come down–the insurance companies and the drug companies have ties that are too strong. If you have time, read the article; it is very eye-opening.
Medication management in Primary and Secondary Schools
Excuse me for being mildly distressed at this article. We have a situation where a “widespread use” of prescription drugs is present in our school systems. Do we worry about why all these children are medicated? No. We worry about how to adequately and safely deliver the drugs to the children in a school setting. I cannot begin to describe how disturbing this trend is. Instead of trying to manage the problem, we need to figure out WHY these kids are on these drugs and how to FIX the problem.
J Am Pharm Assoc 41(1):67-77, 2001 Pharmacists and school nurses must cross professional borders if they wish to play a role in solving this important drug therapy problem. Pharmacists can provide therapeutic and contextual perspectives on the problem, while school nurses can implement solutions within the schools.
FDA Officials, Warner-Lambert Knew of Rezulin Risks
Once again, I don’t mean to sound like I’m constantly bashing the use of pharmaceutical drugs. I want to stress the idea that, now more than ever, the situation is “buyer beware.” Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do without a full background in physiology, pharmacology and access to all the research. My thoughts on this are, since very few people are actually in a position to make such an informed decision, the best route is to avoid being the guinea pig for new meds and using most meds only after safer, more natural methods have failed.
(article) Warner-Lambert downplayed the potentially fatal risks associated with Rezulin during the approval process and received help from federal drug regulators in pushing the drug toward marketing approval, according to an article published in Sunday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times. The Times obtained company and government documents, as well as e-mail communications, which showed that Warner-Lambert officials had collaborated closely with certain senior officials within the US Food and Drug Administration during the approval process and later, when the company was being pressured to take the drug off the market. Rezulin (troglitazone) was initially approved by the FDA in January 1997 for treatment of type 2 diabetes. The drug was pulled from the market in March 2000 due to the number of reports of liver failure associated with use of the drug. At an FDA advisory committee meeting last year, regulators reported that there were 90 cases of liver failure among patients taking the drug since its launch.
The cost to global health of drug company profits
I’m really not in a pharmaceutical-bashing mood, it’s just that sometimes they’re such an easy target… Would it make you feel better taking those drugs if you knew that the guniea pigs for the trials came from poor countries and not from our own?
wjm — MacDonald and Yamey 174 (5): 302