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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Death and Sleep Drugs

Well here we are.

And once again the mainstream media is reporting on the problems with sedative hypnotic drugs.

The same problems of death and higher risk of death is reported today, even when it has been reported on Natural Health News since 2005.

I want to know why things haven't changed in prescribing practices if this is such a major public health issue. And I ask why, if the risk of cancer is higher because of taking these drugs, would you want to take them?

Setting Big PhRMA profit aside, I also want to know why, if the "benefit" from these drugs is meagre, that other options are not made available to people with sleep issues.

If you have sleeping concerns and would like to learn about other and more natural ways to get real and restful sleep without drugs or drug hangover, get in touch with us through our Health Forensics program.

Sleeping pills 'linked to increased death risk'

Sleeping pills used by thousands of people in the UK appear to be linked with a higher death risk, doctors warn.
The American study in BMJ Open compared more than 10,000 patients on tablets like temazepam with 23,000 similar patients not taking these drugs.
Death risk among users was about four times higher, although the absolute risk was still relatively low.
Experts say while the findings highlight a potential risk, proof of harm is still lacking.
They say patients should not be alarmed nor stop their medication, but if they are concerned they should discuss this with their doctor or pharmacist.
UK guidelines for NHS staff say hypnotic drugs should only be used for short periods of time because of tolerance to the drug and the risk of dependency. But they make no mention of an associated death risk, despite other studies having already reported this potential risk.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it would consider the results of this latest study and whether it has any implications for current prescribing guidance.
Millions prescribedIn 2010 in England, there were 2.8 million prescriptions dispensed for temazepam and almost 5.3 million for another common sleeping pill called zopiclone.
There were also more than 725,000 prescriptions dispensed for zolpidem and more than 9,400 for zaleplon, two other drugs in this same family.
The latest study looked at a wide range of sleeping pills, including drugs used in the UK, such as benzodiazepines (temazepam and diazepam), non-benzodiazepines (zolpidem, zopiclone and zaleplon), barbiturates and sedative antihistamines.
The investigators, from the Jackson Hole Centre for Preventive Medicine in Wyoming and the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Centre in California, found that people prescribed these pills were 4.6 times more likely to die during a 2.5-year period compared to those not on the drugs. Overall, one in every 16 patients in the sleeping pill group died (638 out of 10,531 in total) compared to one in every 80 of the non-users (295 deaths out of 23,674 patients).                     This increased risk was irrespective of other underlying health conditions, such as heart and lung diseases, and other factors like smoking and alcohol use, which the researchers say they did their best to rule out. The researchers say it is not yet clear why people taking sleeping tablets may be at greater risk. The drugs are sedating and this may make users more prone to falls and other accidents. The tablets can also alter a person's breathing pattern as they sleep and they have been linked to increased suicide risk.
'Meagre benefits'In this latest study, those taking the highest doses of sleeping tablets also appeared to be at greater risk of developing cancer.
The researchers say: "The meagre benefits of hypnotics, as critically reviewed by groups without financial interest, would not justify substantial risks."
They say even short-term use may not be justifiable.
But Malcolm Lader, professor of clinical psychopharmacology at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said people should not panic as a result of the findings.
"The study needs to be replicated in a different sample and I think we need to hold judgement until we have further studies.
"What we don't want is people stopping sleeping tablets and then going through a very disturbing period of insomnia.
"People should discuss this with their GP but should not under any circumstances stop taking their medication."
Nina Barnett, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: "This is an important study and although it is unlikely to radically change prescribing in the immediate term, it should raise awareness and remind both patients and prescribers to the potential risks of sedative use for insomnia.
"The association between mortality and sedation is not new and this research tells us that people who took these medicines were more likely to die than people who didn't take them.
"However it does not mean that the deaths were caused by the medicine."
A spokesman for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said the safety of medicines was closely monitored and continued even after regulatory approval.

Selections from Natural Health News

Jan 20, 2011
Sleep-aid-pills are effective in helping you to gain peaceful sleep at night and sleeping pill such s Ambien. It is a popular sleep aide, As soon as this sleeping pill is administered, it starts affecting the central nervous system ...
Sep 11, 2010
Sleeping pills may increase risk of death. Pills for insomnia and anxiety 'are not candy' researchers have warned after finding the drugs are linked to an increased risk of dying. Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor. 09 Sep 2010 ...
Apr 01, 2009
... a drug widely used for treating urinary incontinence, tolteridine (Detrol); a nausea treatment drug, metoclopramide (Reglan); and drugs in the benzodiazepine category such as popular sleeping pills Ambien (zolpidem) and ...
Oct 23, 2005
Americans filled more than 35 million prescriptions for sleeping pills in 2004, spending $2.1 billion, Medco said, citing NIH statistics. Global Sales of Ambien, the world's most popular prescription sleep drug made by ...

Most Taking Rx for Bone Drugs Quit

Certainly this is no surprise.  Osteoporosis drugs have many problematic and even life threatening side effects. They also require many lifestyle adjustments that after time many people, both men and women, find difficult.  Additionally many are fluoride based which causes the reduction or even ending of the function of osteoclast cells in your body.  Many severe fractures and jaw bone problems are linked to this drug function.

There are more natural things you can do to protect bone health.  And there are many natural approaches to keeping them strong and healthy.

Walking and weight bearing exercise are great!  Learn Tai Chi. Look into Lymphology at IAL.

A healthy diet and the right supplements are great! (Just don't be taking so much calcium.  Generally doctors tell you to take about twice what you need and the wrong type - carbonate).

Get hydrated!

Cut down on exposure to EMF and fluoride as well as other environmental toxins (the DEXA test is one of these and so is your cell phone).

Consider drinking nettle tea.

Consider using homeopathic cell salts.

Get tested for and take vitamin D3. (25 OH test)

Watch soy, it can block calcium, and is too often GMO.

Susan Brown PhD has been writing on this subject for years. Check out her book, Better Bones.
By Frederik JoelvingNEW YORK | Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:27pm EST(Reuters Health) - People with the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis often skip the drugs they are prescribed, and telephone counseling does little to change that, according to new research.
Researchers said osteoporosis is involved in more than two million fractures a year in the U.S., racking up medical costs of $19 billion.
In addition to exercise and a healthy diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, as well as measures to prevent falls, medications may reduce the risk of broken bones -- which can take a serious toll on the health of old people.
For people at high risk, bone drugs such as bisphosphonates may cut the yearly fracture risk from five percent to three percent, said Dr. Daniel Solomon of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
But people often stop taking the medications, added Solomon, also of Harvard Medical School.
"It's the problem with all chronic conditions," he told Reuters Health. "Drugs for asymptomatic chronic conditions are universally poorly adhered to."
Some 10 million Americans currently suffer from bone thinning, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The majority are postmenopausal women.
Bone drugs include Merck's Fosamax, Roche's Boniva, Novartis's Reclast and Warner Chilcott's Actonel.
To see if they could convince people to take their drugs, Solomon and his colleagues divided more than 2,000 men and women with osteoporosis into two groups.
The participants were all on Medicare, the government's health insurance for the elderly, and got their meds for a co-pay of no more than a few dollars.
All of them received fall-prevention lifestyle tips in the mail from the researchers, and one group also had about eight counseling sessions over the phone.
During those sessions, trained counselors tried to identify why people skipped their drugs and to motivate them to get back on the treatment. The intervention ended up costing about $281 per patient, including training of the counselors.
After one year, there was little difference between the two groups.
Those who got counseling filled their prescriptions 49 percent of the time, while the others did so 41 percent of the time, based on claims data. That gap was too small to be reliable, statistically speaking.
The researchers didn't find any differences in how many people broke a bone or reported falls, either.
According to Solomon, people who skipped their medicine often said they had forgotten about it, didn't like the way it made them feel or didn't think they needed it.
Still, Solomon, whose findings appear in the Archives of Internal Medicine, wasn't willing to give up on counseling.
"It would be overstating the data to say that we should use this. What I'm saying is you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater," he said. "I think that counseling is something we need to continue to examine."
Researchers have been experimenting with a lot of ways to get people to take their drugs, including beeping pill caps and financial incentives, Solomon added. But the results have often been disappointing.
"At this point there really aren't any proven interventions," he said.
In an editorial, Dr. Seth Berkowitz and Dr. Kirsten Johansen of the University of California, San Francisco, say behavior change is an increasingly important part of medicine as chronic diseases continue rise.
"There is likely no 'magic bullet' in the behavior change arsenal in general or for increasing treatment adherence specifically," they write. "This does not mean, however, that the effects may not be clinically significant."
SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, February 27, 2012.
Selections from over 30 on Natural Health News

Feb 18, 2012
Osteoporosis drugs have many drawbacks. The same drugs have many risks including the risk of very bad fractures and having your jaw bone eaten away (necrosis). For the most part the drugs are fluoride based and cause ...
Dec 27, 2011
Researchers asked if “real-world” patients taking bone drugs received the same fracture-reduction benefits seen in the clinical trials. After analysis of hundreds of studies, they found that highly compliant, “real world” patients ...
Feb 03, 2010
New results from a landmark women's health study raise the exciting possibility that bone-building drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel may help prevent breast cancer. Women who already were using these medicines when ...
Nov 18, 2008
Bone Loss Problematic, Bone Drugs Risky. In January 2008 the FDA issued warnings regarding the class of drugs developed to allegedly help people with osteopenia and osteoporosis. Numerous problems are associated ...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chipping you with drugs

This last week several articles hit the news about the use of microchips to administer drugs.  Some people may think this is a great advance in pharmaceutical science but I got shivers reading it.  Worse was thinking about the consequences from the well known risk of EMF exposure and tumours from pet chips.

What to me is worse is the first trial was designed to deliver a drug prescribed mainly to women, although men get it as well: The osteoporosis drugs.

Osteoporosis drugs have many drawbacks.  The same drugs have many risks including the risk of very bad fractures and having your jaw bone eaten away (necrosis).  For the most part the drugs are fluoride based and cause the osteoclasts in the bone health cycle to be stopped. In this study, however parathyroid hormone was used with the rationale that people do not like to get injections.

No one seems to think about the drug risks let alone the chip risk or more exposure to EMF that we do know causes cancer.
'Pharmacy on a chip' gets closerBy Jonathan Amos
The futuristic idea that microchips could be implanted under a patient's skin to control the release of drugs has taken another step forward.
US scientists have been testing just such a device on women with the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis.
The chip was inserted in their waist and activated by remote control.
In his article Amos did note that one device failed. In the report of the study the information about the failures in the very small sample size used was not noted.

Serious concerns must have been ignored by the "scientists".

What does happen if the device fails?
What does happen if the device administers all the doses at one time?
What does happen if the device explodes?
What does happen if the person with the device gets a cancerous tumour? (This is a foreign body.)
What does happen if other environmental factors constantly ping this device?

Many more questions must be asked.

And what if this is a way to track your every move?

Read up on risks of microchips for companion animals, this is relevant information for people chipping too -

Ask us about our natural care approaches to bone health.

Selections from Natural Health News

Dec 27, 2011
As your bone health advocate, I congratulate these researchers on the enormous effort to analyze and synthesize data from hundreds of studies. I also congratulate the drug company which funded this study for clarifying the ...
Jul 30, 2010
NutraIngredients coverage of the calcium research that found the risk of vascular calcium deposits causing heart attack outweighed potential bone healthbenefits can be found here. Sundstø noted the western diet was ...
May 26, 2010
Bone Health and AntiAcid Drugs. While you now just are learning about the problems with acid reflux drugs you might wish to know that this is no real surprise. The drugs shutdown acid production in the stomach that impairs ...
Jan 24, 2009
There are many articles I've posted here at Natural Health News in the past five years. Bone health is not a lineal process as mainstream medicine pundits would have you believe. It isn't even properly evaluated with the bone ...
29 minutes ago
I started educating people and writing about the health impact of EMF more than two decades ago. I spoke on the hazardous use of microwave ovens even earlier. As more and more EMF devices litter our environment we are ...
Jan 28, 2012
Real EMF Danger. Vatican radio waves blamed for high cancer risk ... Posted by herbalYODA at 15:49 · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook. Labels: cancer and EMF, EMF. 1 comments: West Coast Family .
Jun 05, 2010
(CNN) -- San Francisco, California, likely will become the first U.S. city to require cell phone companies to disclose how much radiation their gadgets emit. The city's board of supervisors voted 10-1 on Tuesday in favor of a law ...
May 01, 2010
MAY IS ELECTROSENSITIVITY MONTH, many states are promoting this as a health education event. Cell Phone Radiation Levels · FCC Consumer Resources: Wireless Devices Even though some people who submit ...

Beware EMF: Food and Health

I started educating people and writing about the health impact of EMF more than two decades ago.  I spoke on the hazardous use of microwave ovens even earlier.  As more and more EMF devices litter our environment we are certainly more at risk of real health dangers.

Read what one engineer has to say -

Cancer and Home Appliances
Alasdair Philips is qualified in both Electrical- and Electronic Engineering, as well as Agricultural Engineering.
In 1998, he started the British organization Power Watch, which is committed to uncovering the specific details of how electromagnetic fields (EMFs) affect our health and how we can practically protect ourselves against detrimental effects.
Mr. Philips is also a member of SAGE (the UK Department of Health Stakeholder Group on ELF EMFs) and a member of the UK Health Protection Agency's EMF Discussion Group.
Another early group he became involved with was called Electronics and Computing for Peace. COMPLETE ARTICLE

Selections from Natural Health News

Dec 11, 2009
That's the chemical in artificial butter flavoring that has been blamed for sickening hundreds of workers, killing a handful and destroying the lungs of at least three microwave popcorn addicts. Almost every other popcorn maker ...
Dec 18, 2009
A: For maximum safety, yes -- take the food out of the plastic before you microwave it. Even when plastics are labeled "microwave-safe," very small amounts of chemicals, such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), can leach out of them into ...
Mar 02, 2010
Dear OPRAH, NO MICROWAVE COOKING PLEASE! I am saddened by Oprah's promotion of microwave exposure on food. I just hope she makes an effort to stop telling people that microwaving food is just fine and dandy.
Nov 25, 2007
Summary: In this study, researchers set out to determine the effects of various approaches to microwave cooking (with differences in time cooked, power used, and use of water) on various health-promoting compounds found ...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cranberry for Your Health, yes, and get some FREE

I have always been a great fan of the cranberry.  I like it because it has differing enzymes than found in most other fruits and it has long been known to help you keep a healthy UT (urinary tract).
Recently, a new product has emerged in the rapidly growing "shots" market.  This time, one that's a healthy choice.
Northland's Cranberry Care™ liquid supplement is made from whole cranberry and hibiscus extracts – clinically proven* to support urinary tract health – and blended with antioxidant-rich blueberry and pomegranate juices for a powerful, all-natural, straight shot. This tiny drink also provides an excellent source of vitamin C with only 40 calories per serving.
Two clinically proven, all-natural ingredients* create one super shot. PACran® (whole cranberry extract) has been shown to help support urinary tract health by harnessing the powerful antioxidants found in the skin and seeds of the cranberry. UTI Rose™, which is extracted from the Hibiscus flower, has unique properties that have also been proven to support UT health.
Priced at $19.99 for the familiar 2.5 ounce 'shot size' bottle, the 10 pack can be found at Northwest Costco stores and through their web site.
If you're looking for an option to support UT health, this might fit the bill.
And if you'd like to try it for free, send us an email  with your name and shipping address as we're giving away a month's supply to three lucky readers. 

Selections from Natural Health News

Feb 03, 2011
You can also make your own cranberry juice from whole cranberries. Simmer them in water until they pop, then blend the water and berries on high in your blender. Use one pound of berries to one quart of pure, filtered water.
Nov 04, 2009
Pure cranberry juice, the very tart kind with no additives that you get in the health food section is an excellent help. Adding a small amout of pure apple juice is good for a bit of sweetness if you aren't used to cranberry juice's ...
Nov 16, 2010
We all know there is the issue of personal hygiene, cranberry nectar, cranberry sugar extract, and even something as simple as drinking more pure water... Vaccine to prevent urinary tract infections due to E. coli bacteria ...

Aug 27, 2010
A sneak preview obtained by NutraIngredients of 100s of herbs that have been processed by EFSA's health claims panel but not yet published, indicates an exhaustive list has been assessed including cranberry, ...
Nov 08, 2009
This week we're published the most recent issue of our long-standing column, "Natural Notes" featuring the cranberry, another healthy food offering natural blood thinning. Once it is published the links where you can find it will ...
Apr 22, 2010
Cranberries Alleviate prostate pain Fight lung, colon and leukemia cancer cells Prevent urinary tract infection. Green Cabbage Promotes healthy blood clotting Reduces risk of prostate, colon, breast and ovarian cancers ...
Aug 20, 2010
I so wish all products would have Stevia as their sweetner of choice. As for a Energy drink...I have discovered Oceanspray pure cranberry juice! This has so many health benefits and for me, it's helping my R.A. inflammation!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Now there is proof

I write a new column on health and politics for Sinclair News.  I am pleased to have this venue because it allows me more freedom to write about things that need to be uncensored and where the fear factor is not an issue.

While Larry Sinclair is, and has been, controversial, I have often found myself in that same class for decades.

In my article about Big PhRMA published on 28 January, I mentioned a new drug, Bydureon (exenatide extended release), manufactured by Amylin Pharmaceuticals.  This is their new version of Byetta.

"This long-acting form is a version of their diabetes drug Byetta, that can be used weekly. Byetta is a synthetic exenatide formulation with risk for severe allergic reactions affecting the skin and respiratory system as well as pancreatitis and kidney disease.
Now approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) this newer drug comes with a label warning that the drug caused certain thyroid tumors in rats.
There has been no information provided by the manufacturer whether the drug causes these tumors in people. The warning does state that the drug should not be used by people with history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (cancer). And to think, it was the early pioneers in endocrinology that believed strongly that diabetes was a thyroid disorder.
In 2010 the FDA denied approval of Bydureon and requested additional studies and clinical data.
There is much to be seen from yet another synthetic and potentially risky drug. All drugs in this class have potential interaction issues with other prescriptions you may be taking. Make sure your prescriber and/or your pharmacist provides you with this information, and you clearly understand it." SOURCE
Byetta costs about $250 each month.  Bydureon costs about $600 each month.

A site I follow is Health News Review. This effort tries to educate you about news reports on health topics and how to judge their value.  It also promotes good journalism practices.  Some things they do not like are the press release and advertising reports often relied on in media and by TV news outlets.

Today I was slapped with a real pie in the face example of just this; the Medscape Special Report – February 3, 2012, from Medscape Diabetes.

From Medscape Diabetes
Expert Commentary
Bydureon: An Easy, Effective New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
Anne Peters, MD on Diabetes
Bydureon vs Victoza: It's On!
Matthew Mintz, MD: The Diabetes Beat
Latest News
Once-Weekly Exenatide Okayed by FDA for T2DM
Medscape Medical News 2012
Diabetes Drug Bydureon Gets EU Approval
Medscape Medical News 2011
From the Literature
Effects of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists on Weight Loss
BMJ January 2012
Short-term Exenatide Treatment Leads to Significant Weight Loss
Diabetes Care January 2012

With all this media glitz what is someone with diabetes to do to try an determine if this is really the best drug for them, especially with unknown cancer risks?