By Dr. Rick Morris
“Miracle drugs” treat everything from elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, to osteoporosis, depression, and pain. They have undoubtedly saved millions of lives, but at a cost. We’ve all recently heard about the anti-inflammatory drugs and their risks, but:
How prevalent are those risks and what can I do to avoid being a victim?
Let’s start with the report from the Journal of the American Medical Association?*
- 51% of our medicines have “serious side effects” that were not detected prior to their approval.
- 1.5 million people are hospitalized and 100,000 die each year.
- 40,000 are killed by non-prescription pills (e.g. Tylenol and Aspirin) yearly.
Over 16,500 Americans die from using anti-inflammatory pills for arthritis pain alone (Amer. Medical Dir. Assn. 1999).
To make things worse, the more medicines we take, the more likely we are to suffer serious side effects. When drugs are combined, the chance of dangerous side effects are multiplied (not merely added).
Why Does The FDA Approve Unsafe Medication?
The approval process for medications is seriously flawed. Drug companies force researchers to sign a “non-disclosure” clause preventing them from reporting the negative results of the drug’s clinical trials with anyone, including the FDA (the agency that grants drug approval). So as you can imagine, many of the adverse effects are not known for many years.
To make matters worse, the FDA’s scientists are often paid directly by the drug companies as “consultants” to “help ensure” their drugs are accepted.
Another problem is that we all metabolize drugs differently meaning that some will benefit while others will start a progressive slide into sickness and debility. Sometimes the drug will be helpful at first, only to cause a problem in the future.
Can you now understand why prescription medication is the third leading cause of death in our country (and I’m not including overdoses!)?
Finally Senator Orin Hatch of Utah has blown the whistle and, together with the negative publicity caused by drugs such as Vioxx, Celebrex and the like, congress is beginning to make reforms.
But, pain medications have a particular complication. When they stop pain, by blocking pain producing hormones, they also block the hormones that protect the lining of your stomach and prevent your blood vessels from forming clots (leading to heart attacks and strokes). So, although your pain may be reduced, so is your overall health.
In the last couple of years, Vioxx , Celebrex, Bextra, and Naproxin (Aleve) and Ibuprofen (Advil) have made the headlines. We always knew thousands died and tens of thousands were hospitalized each year from these types of medications. Now we’ve also learned that they seem to lead to hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes.
So What’s My Alternative?
Whenever possible…find the problem and fix it.
Pain tells us something is wrong, so the safest way to use drugs is sparingly and only as a last resort. Look past traditional medical care for painful nerve and musculoskeletal conditions, that’s our field. Medical physicians often prescribe medication, simply because they don’t know there’s another way!
The doctors and staff at this office relieve pain and improve your health. We slow down and even reverse many of the effects of aging and injury by:
- Restoring joint motion and flexibility (Movement is life to a joint.
- Lengthening muscles and breaking down scar tissue.
- Increasing blood circulation, lymphatic flow
- Treating disc bulges and herniations.
We also modify your exercise, adjust your diet and prescribe natural herbs and supplements to aid the healing process. Do pain pills do that?
There should be no surprise that nearly every study has shown that Chiropractic care is safer and less costly than medical care (Manga Report, British Medical Journal, JMPT…).