The legal ‘drugs’ we take today, both over-the-counter and prescription medication, are responsible for at least 100,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.
by Arjun Walia
As many reports have indicated, most of the published research supporting these drugs is completely false; results are manipulated in order to get products onto the market as quickly as possible, rather than to ensure their safety.
This kind of corruption in rampant in the industry and poses a significant risk to public health and safety.
A recent study published last week in The British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, for example, determined that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials.
You can read more about that here.
We are now more than a decade past when the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) was published — a scathing review of medical fraud — and the problem has only worsened. Medical professionals still risk their jobs and reputations to get the message out there and educate the public.
Dr. Richard Horton, the current Editor-In-Chief of The Lancet, is just one prominent example:
“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” (source)
This is quite concerning, particularly given the fact that most graduates coming out of medical school today are educated extensively on prescription drugs.
That education, however, is based on flawed, biased, and/or outright falsified research. They are being groomed for the medical establishment by those who stand to profit the most, and it’s not consumers.
Unfortunately, many doctors remain entirely unaware of the deep systemic issues plaguing their profession.
Dr. Peter Gotzche, co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration (the world’s foremost body in assessing medical evidence), published a paper last year in The Lancet arguing against the use of antidepressants and explaining their dangers.
“It’s remarkable that nobody raises an eyebrow when we kill so many of our own citizens with drugs.” (source)
These deaths can be difficult to measure and report on, however, because they do not happen instantaneously; they are the result of prolonged use over a stretched out period.
Gotzche’s two main areas of focus are antidepressants and “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory” painkillers like ibuprofen, tylenol, celecoxib, and diclofenac.
Another is Vioxx, which was actually withdrawn after it was discovered that it had caused more than 100,000 cases of serious heart disease in the United States during the five years that it was on the market.
According to Gotzche, these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the failure of the drug regulatory process to protect patients:
The Problem With Ibuprofen & Other Commonly Used Pain Killers
It wasn’t long ago that researchers from Ohio State University discovered that the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen possessed a previously unknown side effect: it kills positive emotions.
In the study, participants administered acetaminophen reported feeling fewer strong emotions when they were shown both very pleasant or very disturbing photos compared to those who took placebos.
You might be thinking correlation doesn’t mean causation, but when you use the Bradford Hill criteria, and take into account the many other studies which examine the psychological effects of over-the-counter pain killers, the picture becomes clearer. (source) (source)
“In all, rather than being labeled as merely a pain reliever, acetaminophen might be better described as an all-purpose emotion reliever… [and] it is apparent that using acetaminophen for the treatment of pain might have broader consequences than previously thought.” – Geoffrey Durso, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in social psychology at The Ohio State University (source)
It’s also important to note here that the use of pain killers (like aspirin and ibuprofen) has been associated with heart failure risk.
A review of 754 clinical trials (published in The Lancet) found that pain killers (ibuprofen in particular) have been estimated to be a contributing factor in the deaths of thousands of people each year.
According to the lead researcher of that review, long term use of these drugs caused thousands of heart attacks, as well as sudden cardiac deaths, between the years 1999-2003. In this case, the drug Vioxx was singled out.
And as Reuters reports, researchers maintain that:
“Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers.” (source) (source) (source)
These drugs are categorized as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and they are linked to potentially devastating side effects, particularly in the elderly.
In the United States alone, 100,000 people who takes NSAIDs are hospitalized every single year, and approximately 15,000 die.
These pain killers have been linked to a 40-60 percent increase in cardiovascular problems compared to non-users, as well as hearing loss, gastrointestinal complications, heart failure, miscarriages, and allergic reactions; and the numbers are high.
In total, approximately 60 million Americans are taking NSAIDS, with Ibuprofen being one of the most common. (source) (source)
What You Can Use Instead
As Greenmedinfo points out:
“Pain and unhealthy levels of inflammation are fast becoming default bodily states in the industrialized world.
“While in most cases we can adjust the underlying pro-inflammatory conditions by altering our diet, and reducing stress and environmental chemical exposures, these approaches take time, discipline and energy, and sometimes we just want the pain to stop now.
“In those often compulsive moments we find ourselves popping an over-the-counter pill to kill the pain. The problem with this approach is that, if we do it often enough, we may kill ourselves along with the pain…”
Perhaps, depending on the severity of your pain, some of the below alternatives might help you avoid reaching for a painkiller.
From GreenMedInfo (These are just a few out of many. Greenmedinfo is a great place to start your research if you are looking for natural alternatives to try out.
Ginger – A 2009 study found that ginger capsules (250 mg, four times daily) were as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle (primary dysmenorrhea). [source]
Topical Arnica – A 2007 human study found that topical treatment with arnica was as effective as ibuprofen for hand osteoarthritis, but with lower incidence of side effects. [source]
Combination: Astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin C – A 2011 animal study found this combination to be equal to or better than ibuprofen for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation. [source]
Chinese Skullcap (baicalin) – A 2003 animal study found that a compound in Chinese skullcap known as baicalin was equipotent to ibuprofen in reducing pain. [source]
Omega-3 fatty acids: A 2006 human study found that omega-3 fatty acids (between 1200-2400 mg daily) were as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain, but with the added benefit of having less side effects. [source]
Panax Ginseng – A 2008 animal study found that panax ginseng had analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen, indicating its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties. [source]
St. John’s Wort – A 2004 animal study found that St. John’s wort was twice as effective as ibuprofen as a pain-killer. [source]
Anthrocyanins from Sweet Cherries & Raspberries – A 2001 study cell study found that anthrocyanins extracted from raspberries and sweet cherries were as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. [source]
Holy Basil – A 2000 study found that holy basil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory activity comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. [source]
Olive Oil (oleocanthal) – a compound found within olive oil known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. [source]