Drug companies expediently and glibly list drug actions, meaning beneficial effects for which they are prescribed, separately from another section called side effects, meaning undesirable effects for which they are not prescribed. The action of a statin drug would be the lowering of bad cholesterol to reduce heart attacks and strokes. The side effects would be muscle pain and weakness, liver inflammation, malaise and memory difficulties. It is implied that side effects are unexpected and infrequent, and somehow accidental.
However, the changes resulting from taking a drug are all EFFECTS. Some are good effects and some are bad effects, but they are still EFFECTS. They are predictable from the interference the drug imposes on normal body functions. They are usually dose-related, and do not occur in all people because different bodies have different sensitivities and different rates of metabolism. However, they are not accidental. They are a part of the basic nature of the drug, as an explosion is part of the basic nature of a bomb, and one would have to expect that once in a while an innocent bystander will be blown up.
A 62 year-old woman was seen in January, 2010 with fibromyalgia-type symptoms. For several years she had experienced aching in her shoulders, arms and legs, which over the last year had become severe. She was unable to exercise at all without developing debilitating aches lasting several days. She had restless legs symptom, and could not sit to read a book at night. Prolonged sitting caused pain in her buttocks.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to treat using conventional methods. Patients usually receive pain medications, sedatives and antidepressants as a standard treatment, with limited relief.
The addict conceives that he is insufficient without drugs, that his existence can only be maintained through drugs. It is our job to help him realize that survival is possible without drugs, indeed that life can be enhanced without drugs.
This applies, by corollary, not only to illegal and legal “recreational” drugs, but also to all other drugs that affect the mind. Using a chemical substance to modify thought interferes with the individual’s ability to create his own reality.
The lights and sounds that drugs produce are dramatic but artificial, without substance or permanence. They are a dense pollution, a fog over consciousness, seductive and destructive. They provide false security, like the protection of an earthen wall against ocean waves. Yet that wall of drugs is what the individual has chosen to provide protection from life.
When you take the power of drugs away, you must give something back, or the individual will feel diminished, and may revert to drugs to restore security. That is the purpose of rehabilitation, to rejuvenate the individual’s capacities as a sentient being. How does it proceed? It provides abilities the individual has lost in addiction: effective communication, the will to make ethical choices, the grading of importances, the recognition and correction of past bad actions.
These changes permit the individual to see the future as opportunity instead of struggle, to see other people as friends instead of adversaries, to see himself as the creator, not the effect, of his environment. Once he achieves responsibility, he can abandon the need for drugs.
Dr. Allan Sosin
With 3,480 pages of fine print, the Physicians’ Desk Reference (a.k.a. PDR) is not a quick read. That’s because it contains every iota of information on more than 4,000 prescription medications. Heck, the PDR is medication — a humongous sleeping pill.
Doctors count on this compendium to help them make smart prescribing decisions — in other words, to choose drugs that will solve their patients’ medical problems without creating new ones. Unfortunately, it seems some doctors rarely pull the PDR off the shelf. Or if they do crack it open, they don’t stay versed on emerging research that may suddenly make a once-trusted treatment one to avoid. Worst case: You swallow something that has no business being inside your body.
Of course, plenty of M.D.’s do know which prescription and over-the-counter drugs are duds, dangers, or both. So we asked them, “Which medications would you skip?” Their list is your second opinion. If you’re on any of these meds, talk to your doctor. Maybe he or she will finally open that big red book with all the dust on it.
Read the rest of this story at MSNBC News.