Are 'Blockbuster' drugs really that good?

January 2011, Warren Matthews

Summary

The previous blog post has prompted me to put together this short post.

I would preface this by saying that I am not totally anti-pharmaceutical. There are occasions where they undoubtedly save lives, particularly...

The previous blog post has prompted me to put together this short post.

I would preface this by saying that I am not totally anti-pharmaceutical.  There are occasions where they undoubtedly save lives, particularly in emergency situations, but for general living they are usually not needed or grossly overprescribed and almost without exception lead to a deterioration in quality of life and trigger off other complications which in turn lead to more drugs and hence the start of the slippery slope into oblivion.

What gets me is that much of the general population is ‘conned’ into believing many of these drugs are essential for their normal day to day living.    This is done by direct to consumer drug advertising which puts pressure on Doctors to prescribe the drugs being promoted.  Even normal healthy people can begin to doubt that they are healthy when they see adverts suggesting that ‘just because you feel healthy, doesn’t mean that you are!’

The information given to the general public and Doctors although correct is often distorted with parts missing which if Doctors and consumers knew about, the Doctors would not prescribe them nor would the patient take them.

Let me expand on these two points.

  1. Distortion:  We often hear about how a fabulous new drug has reduced the risk of death from a certain condition by say a third.  (33%).  The natural reaction by the public is that is fantastic, and you better give me some.  Now the 33% may indeed be correct but you have to consider the ‘small print’.  The one third reduction in mortality is likely worked like this.

    One person in a hundred dies of this particular condition.  BUT…in the study they found that only 2/3rd of a person dies per 100.  This means whereas you previously may have had a risk of dying from this condition of 1 in a hundred, or 3 in three hundred, but now you have reduced that risk to 2 in three hundred, or in other words you have improved your chances by 1 in 300.  Now, I am not a gambler but I doubt many gamblers would think these were good odds…but, if you didn’t read the small print you would think that your odds are 1 in 3 which is quite a different story, but the 33% reduction is technically correct so they can get away with this type of promotion.
  2. What’s left out:  Let’s consider the popular statin drugs.  Most of you are aware of how serious the potential side effects are from this drug.  What is not widely known however is that your risk of mortality from all causes is greater if you take this drug than if you don’t take it!
     
    I’ll explain.  When the results of a clinical trial is published…as an example, a statin, they may state that there was a reduction in deaths from cardiovascular conditions which is what the drug is designed for.  But, they are not obliged to give any information of mortality from other causes…for example, cancer.  There are studies done that support the overall reduction of mortality from cardiovascular disease with a statin but they also show an increase in mortality from other causes…but, that never sees the light of day unless you dig for it.  Doctors are largely unaware of this as they get most of their info from the drug reps and they certainly aren’t going to tell them

Bottom line!  If you are being pressured to go on any drug, be sceptical.  Ask for evidence supporting the need for it.  Carefully study the potential side effects, and there are always side effects as you cannot introduce a foreign molecule into your body without a side effect.  Consider if you can correct whatever condition you are concerned about by lifestyle changes, dietary changes and natural supplementation.
Enough rambling from me today. 

5 Comments

  • “When I refuse statins my doctor always says "Well I take them because I know that they will extend my life".  I would like to be able to provide him with published studies to the contrary.  Can you give me the journal references please Warren? Many thanks”

    Richard - January 28 2011

  • “Nice to be health at your age and not taking prescribed meds. I’m not an advocate for meds. I want to be as healthy as possible, what are some of the good things I should be doing?”

    Errol - April 12 2011

  • “Hi RichardI would be happy to do this. Unfortunately it will be a few weeks as it will form part of a series of articles that I will be writing on this subject. I want the information to be comprehensive and I just dont have time to put it together right at the moment. Hope you understand and dont mind waiting.”

    Warren Matthews - February 02 2011

  • “Listen to the disclaimers at the end of the drug television commercials. You would have to be crazy, ignorant, or desperate to take these drugs after listening to the laundry list of "common" side effects. I am particularly concerned about consumers that would risk such serious consequences for an acne condition, longer eyelashes, insomnia, or the ever dreaded sexual performance issues.”

    Carl - January 27 2011

  • “Hii Richard S, Totally agree with you, and really happy that you have managed to avoid the need for medications and have stayed instead naturally healthy! Proof that it works if you treat your body right! Keep going! :) Joanna”

    Xtend-Life Expert - January 31 2011

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