Americans have a thing for drugs. Legal ones. From asthma medicine to medicine that pumps up the volume in the bedroom, nearly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And 1 in 6 Americans are using three or more medications.
As someone who used to take quite a few medications without any thought to the harm they might be doing to me, I thought this article by Dr. Mercola was important to share. With permission, I’ve reprinted his website article on the dangers of prescription drugs. It’s a long one, but I think it’s worth the time to read if you or your loved ones take medication. It’s an eye-opener. I don’t think you’ll look at your medicine cabinet the same way again.
How to Solve Nearly Any Illness – Without Drugs
Written by Dr. Mercola
Writing in Counterpunch, Martha Rosenberg lists the drugs which made 2010’s Hall of Shame. Here are just a few of them:
Yaz and Yasmin
Soon after Bayer launched the pill Yaz, 18 year olds started coming down with blood clots, gall bladder disease, heart attacks and even strokes.
After cases of possible psychosis, reports of suicidal behaviors and actual suicides, the government banned pilots, air-traffic controllers and interstate truck and bus drivers from taking this antismoking drug.
Law enforcement officials say this sleep drug has increased traffic accidents from people who drive in a black out.
For every case of breast cancer prevented by Tamoxifen, there is a life-threatening case of blood clots, stroke or endometrial cancer caused by it.
Lipitor and Crestor
All statins can cause muscle breakdown. Crestor is so linked to the side effect, the FDA’s David Graham named it one of the five most dangerous drugs at a Congressional hearing.
Gardasil and Cervarix Vaccines
The Gardasil HPV vaccine doesn’t work for all viral strains, requires a booster and is linked to 56 girls’ deaths as of September in the U.S. alone.
Singulair and Accolate, leukotriene receptor antagonists
These leukotriene receptor antagonists never looked safe. And Singulair, Merck’s top selling drug, is now suspected of producing aggression, hostility, irritability, anxiety, hallucinations and night-terrors in kids.
To see the full list of dangerous drugs, click on the link below.
Rosenberg does a fine job pinning down some of the most dangerous drugs on the market today. It’s a tough call, simply because there are so many to choose from. For a truly eye-opening list of “defective drugs,” just take a look at drug litigators’ Parker Waichman Alonso’s web site. It’s a sobering lineup!
Even commonly used over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are not as benign as most people assume.
The fact that we’re now faced with such an onslaught of problematic drugs is a testament to the inadequacies, not to mention criminal behavior, of the pharmaceutical industry.
Studies are frequently biased, results are skewed, and drugs are put on a fast-track to be approved long before anyone knows whether they’re safe. And it’s quite clear that a large number of drugs are not at all safe, and many do not even work as advertised, giving you the absolute worst of both worlds.
In essence, any time you resort to taking a drug, you’re taking a gamble because there are NO 100 percent safe drugs. And the more drugs you combine, the greater the risk that you’ll suffer serious and/or potentially lethal side effects.
Are You on Any of these Dangerous Drugs?
In addition to the drugs listed above, here are several more that may jeopardize your health:
- Advair– This asthma medicine contains the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) salmeterol, which can make your asthma deadly by increasing the severity of asthma attacks. It is estimated that salmeterol-containing drugs cause about 5,000 asthma-related deaths each year in the US alone.
- Avandia (rosiglitazone)– This diabetes drug has been linked to increased risk of heart attack. Confidential government reports claim about 6,000 heart attacks and 3,600 cases of heart failure would be averted each year if patients switched away from Avandia. The drug was recently banned in Europe, but the US FDA has chosen only to monitor the drug, rather than ask for a recall.
- Celebrex— This painkiller has been linked to increased risks of stomach bleeding, kidney trouble, and liver damage. Additionally, one 2005 study found that people taking 200 mg of Celebrex twice a day more than doubled their risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. Those on 400 mg twice a day more than tripled their risk.
- Ritalin – This drug is commonly prescribed to children diagnosed with ADHD, despite the fact it has the same pharmacological profile as cocaine. By definition, Ritalin stimulates your central nervous system, leading to side effects such as increased blood pressure and heart rate.
When taken over a period of years, as Ritalin often is, the drug can cause severe health problems, including cancer. Short-term, it can still lead to chromosomal damage.
- Lyrica, Topomax and Lamictal — These epilepsy seizure drugs increase your risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and all three drugs can cause both hair- and memory loss.
- TNF Blockers — Biologics like Humira and Prolia are made from genetically engineered hamster cells, and suppress your immune system. Other side effects include tuberculosis, lethal infections, melanoma, lymphoma and “unusual cancers in children and teenagers”. Humira also carries a warning that it may cause or worsen psoriasis — a condition it is supposed to treat.
- Bisphosphonate drugs – This dangerous class of drugs include Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva, prescribed to prevent osteoporosis. Fosamax in particular has been linked to thigh bone fractures, jaw bone rot, serious eye problems, liver damage and renal failure, just to name a few potential side effects.
Fosamax users are also nearly twice as likely to develop atrial fibrillation (quivering of your heart’s upper chambers), which is the most common kind of chronically irregular heartbeat.
- Statin drugs—This class of drugs, used to lower your cholesterol, have been linked to an array of devastating side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, muscle atrophy, rhabdomyolysis, increased plaque deposits, increased cancer risk, immune system suppression, decreased liver function, CoQ10 depletion, and death.
- Proton pump inhibitors—Drugs like Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium are commonly used for heartburn. However, their side effects may be far more problematic and dangerous than your original problem.
Side effects include increased risk of fractures of your hip, wrist and spine (the risk of a bone fracture has been estimated to be over 40 percent higher in patients who use these drugs long-term), increased risk of food poisoning, pneumonia and infection with Clostridium difficile, a harmful intestinal bacteria.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Clearly, there are many others. However, many of these drugs are used for ailments that respond favorably to lifestyle changes alone!
Health Problems that are Better Treated Without Drugs
In more recent years, a growing body of studies shows that simple lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise are effective remedies for many common health problems. At the same time, we’re seeing more and more evidence of the lethal harm being brought by poorly tested drugs.
To me, the choice is clear.
But many people still do not realize just how effective lifestyle changes can be in treating their disease. Many diabetics, for example, are convinced they need drugs, and resist the idea that treating or even curing their disease is entirely within their own control.
The truth is, type 2 diabetes is virtually 100 percent avoidable and treatable entirely without drugs. If you’re still in the dark about how to accomplish this, please see this link.
Other common conditions that can be managed without medication include:
- Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Do Your Research Before Taking ANY Drug
For all the problems modern society has caused, it also brings benefits that were previously unimaginable. One of them is the ease with which you can conduct your own research. And I urge you to thoroughly investigate each drug before taking it.
The truth is that doctors are no longer the sole authority on all matters relating to health. And don’t believe for one minute that your physician will have all the answers and all the latest research findings at his or her fingertips. They won’t.
Most of their recent knowledge about drug treatments comes directly from the lips of drug reps, and if you believe drug reps will put your health and safety before profits, think again.
So, as a general rule, always make sure to read up on the potential side effects of the drug. Read the package insert, and remember that even if it lists a side effect as rare, it can happen to you.
Then decide whether the potential benefits truly outweigh the potential risks.
Drugs are Band-Aids. They Do NOT Address the Cause of Disease
If you want to take a step in the right direction, make drugs your last option.
This sounds easy enough, but actually requires a massive thought shift for some people. Many still have a very hard time accepting the idea that your body can heal itself, and that drugs oftentimes will only hinder the process.
I can’t stress enough the importance of the most basic principle for resolving an illness: Find the underlying cause of the problem, and address THAT!
Masking it with a drug that lessens your symptoms does not fix anything. Disease can only be resolved by addressing its root cause.
What many people fail to realize is that it is entirely possible to maintain optimal health simply by:
- Avoiding unnecessary drugs, and
- Understanding the fundamentals of proper nutrition and exercise
What DOES Make You Healthy?
There are certain basic tenets of optimal health that have always remained permanent truths, and by consistently adhering to them, you give yourself the best chance at a long and healthy life.
These 10 strategies promote overall health, as opposed to chasing and watering down various symptoms:
- Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down) — This aspect is so important for optimal health; I now offer my entire online nutritional typing program for free.
- Drink plenty of clean water
- Manage your stress
- Exercise regularly — I actually view exercise as a drug with regard to being properly prescribed and having proper dosage, And it’s one that you can readily substitute for some of the most common drugs used today for things like diabetes, heart disease and depression.High-intensity, burst-type exercises like Peak 8 are particularly beneficial for optimal health, as it effectively boosts fat loss, improves muscle strength, tone and endurance, and causes your body to produce human growth hormone (HGH).
- Optimize your vitamin D levels by getting appropriate amounts of sun exposure, or by taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement
- Limit exposure to toxins
- Consume healthy fats such as omega-3 fat, coconut oil and pure butter
- Eat plenty of raw food
- Optimize your insulin and leptin levels
- Get plenty of sleep
Remember, leading a common sense, healthy lifestyle is your best bet to produce a healthy body and mind, and increase your longevity.
Unfortunately, both the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry won’t make it easy for you to avoid the garbage that ruins your health.
The drug industry spends about $15 billion a year manipulating and distorting your perceptions about the proper solutions for your health challenges. The answer is to take self-responsibility and educate yourself so that you can make better, healthier choices.
By adhering to the basic tenets of optimal health provided above, you will build a healthy mind and body, thereby safeguarding yourself against a multitude of health problems and serious diseases.
Dr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, Mercola.com. You can learn the hazardous side effects of OTC Remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.