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Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.

Category Archives: Drugs

Posts on drugs and medications.

Inflammation and carbs may drive cardiovascular disease!

In a follow-up to my last blog, several years ago I talked about a very large study on statins (cholesterol meds) that showed being on them gave you about a 1-2% less chance of dying from a “cardiovascular incident” than those people not taking them.  I would never tell a patient or friend to not take their meds but I would ask them to take a close look at the scientific evidence in light of the current trend of physicians to load patients up with meds that barely work and have significant side effects.  The current thinking on cardiovascular disease is that cholesterol is not a significant driver of cardiovascular disease but bad carbohydrates and inflammation are.  This is evidenced by the newest statins that were discontinued from study because even though they lowered cholesterol, those taking them died more often, or as often, as the control group from a cardiovascular incident.  Take a good close look at your diet and eating habits and be proactive and look for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the bad carbs.  It may save your life without the side effects!

Meds, Dementia and Cognitive Impairment

If you have never heard of the term anticholinergic, you are not alone.  However, if you have heard of these medications, Benadryl, Demerol, Dimetapp, Dramamine, Paxil, Unisom, VESIcare, then you now know the over-the counter and prescription meds under this classification.  A recent study of those who use these drugs shows a link between cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia. Studies have shown those older individuals who use the drugs did worse on short term memory tests, tests of executive functioning, including verbal reasoning, planning and problem solving. These people also had reduced brain volume and larger ventricles (cavities inside the brain). These individuals also showed lower levels of glucose metabolism both in the brain and in the hippocampus of the brain, which is the region associated with memory and also identified as the region that is affected early on by Alzheimer’s disease. If you or a loved one is using these long term and notice any of the related symptoms, talk with your doctor. There are alternatives!

Acid Reflux & Kidney Disease

Did you know that your medication for heart burn, ulcers and acid reflux may be leaving you at risk of kidney problems. Meds such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium’ Protonix, Aciphex and others are in a class of pharmaceuticals known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Apparently a recent study of the data shows that patients who took the PPIs had a 96% risk of developing kidney failure and 28% increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to patients who took histamine H2 receptor blockers. If you are taking these types of meds, contact your doctor and discuss alternatives. Look into nutritional choices as well, because there are alternative that do work!!

Nutrition, Pain and Anxiety

Many of my patients have issues related to anxiety or depression due to pain or from relative nutritional deficiencies.  Neurotransmitters, (serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine) are almost always a problem with these disorders, as well as fibromyalgia, migraine headaches and a host of other chronic disease states.  Amino acids in specific dosages and blends can improve the nutritional state of these individuals and improve their health and function because they are the building blocks for the neurotransmitters.  Medications can deplete they very neurotransmitters that are needed for the health of the person using them.  Do not try to balance neurotransmitter issues on your own because using one amino acid by itself will deplete a different amino acid, thus creating a worse nutritional state and prolonging the disease state. I have helped many patients with their nutritional issues, and utilizing amino acids properly, works wonders for so many patients!

Pain Killers and heart health

If you are one of millions who take over the counter (NSAIDS) or prescription pain killers, you may want to reconsider and speak with your doctor.  The US FDA just strengthened its warning that certain painkillers can cause heart problems.  An FDA spokesperson reported that “there is no period of use shown to be without risk.” Drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) now carry a warning that they” cause an increased risk of heart failure” adding to the warnings that they may cause “increased risk of heart attack and stroke”.  Everyone who takes them will want to discuss this with their doctor, however if you have underlying heart disease, your risk is even higher. In the meantime take the drugs lowest dose for the shortest duration possible.  As one who does take ibuprofen from time to time, I am going to reduce my consumption to as little as necessary.

ADHD, a drug defined disease?

I read a great article in Time magazine about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and discovered this diagnosis is now given to approximately 13.2% of boys and 5.6% of girls in the U.S.  It seems that what we considered normal childhood behavior years ago has now evolved to the point that we consider it a disease epidemic.  The article, by Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., addresses this issue and I learned quite a bit.  She sees ADHD-type behavior as a spectrum of normal childhood that most kids grow out of, or as responses to rocky times in a child’s life however this behavior is now being clustered into a discrete and chronic mental health condition or illness with clear and defined boundaries. We are lead to believe that treating these kids with psychiatric medications (Ritalin, Adderall) is the answer.  She goes on to question how America got to this point.  That point is, how did our image of childhood evolve so that behaviors once considered normal are so terrible that we must treat them with psychiatric medications?  Has our development of new drugs now defined the disease?  For example, she references other authors in her article describing that when Prozac was developed, many people were given a diagnosis of depression because that person responded to the medication, not the other way around. Now, ADHD is the “diagnosis of the day” just as depression was a favored diagnosis in the 90’s. We now have new drugs that allow us to blanket that disorder across society in such a way that the response to these stimulant drugs has both “defined and expanded the scope of the ADHD diagnosis”. In other words, now that we have the drug, we must have a diagnosis to force feed. After all, 10 million American kids have received this diagnosis in this country, and unfortunately it is expanding beyond our borders.  Stimulant medications are now so common place and has changed our ideas of how to deal with social behaviors that “ADHD has become a household word.”   Thus, the “new illness is perceived as biological because it has a convenient biological treatment.” It is no longer just a normal part of childhood development.  Though the drugs do wonder’s for many people, not all societies have redefined normal childhood as a mental illness to be medicated into oblivion.

Statins & Diabetes (warning, this isn’t good)

Every few days I read a study or article that indicates bad news to a previously published study, especially when it comes to health.  A new study published in Diabeteolgia found that men who took statins (cholesterol meds) were 46% more likely to develop diabetes after 6 years compared to those who didn’t take them.  Even worse, the meds also make people less resistant to insulins effects and secrete less insulin. That my friends, is an incredible and noteworthy number, and serious health issue.  If you or someone you know takes statins to control cholesterol, tell them about this study and let them know they need to talk to their prescribing doctor immediately.  A huge study called JUPITOR, a few years ago, found only a 1-2% chance difference of preventing a cardiovascular event while on meds verses not on meds, if you have never had an event.  Is it worth the side effects?

Pain killers, back pain and Chiropractic

 In a follow up to my last post, I will let you know that drug overdoses have tripled from prescription pain killers since 1990. In 2010 over 16,500 people died in the US from opiod painkiller overdoses. While back pain is one of the reasons that people seek pain killers, Chiropractic care is considered one of the “go-to” treatments for those chronic back pain issues. This has been proven time and time again by studies and even big insurance now is promoting study’s to that effect. When it comes to back and neck care, Chiropractic shines.

 

Back Pain and Opiod Addiction

Pain is a fact of life but dealing with it can be difficult depending on the individual experiencing it.  I recently read an article that the City of Chicago is joining other cities in suing Big Pharma for deceptively marketing opiod pain killers such as Percocet and OxyContin for chronic pain management.  Allegedly, according to the lawsuit, the drug companies knew these drugs were ineffective at treating chronic pain and carried a high risk of addiction.  The complaint argues that some Pharma companies created an 8 billion dollar market for these drugs by telling physicians, incorrectly, that they were effective for chronic pain management. Low back pain can be a chronic issue for which these drugs are prescribed.  Millions of dollars were spent by their respective citys health insurance plans to treat overdoses. Now they want reimbursement.  There are Chiropractic alternatives.

Antibiotics & Resistance

In a follow up to overuse of antibiotics, I just read that the WHO reports that our planet may be headed toward a “post-antibiotic era” in which common infections are lethal.  That is because the  prescription and overuse of antimicrobial medicines, are causing drug resistant microorganisms. These microorganisms now kill over 23,000 people a year just in the US alone. If we don’t take significant action to improve efforts to prevent infections and change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, “the implications will be devastating”.